Tyrel Taton has made the trek from his hometown to Dodge City for the Roundup Rodeo, but he hadn't competed on the arena floor as a PRCA entrant until Tuesday afternoon.
The Beaver, Okla., cowboy made the most of his first competition in Roundup Arena by claiming the first belt buckle after winning the steer roping title over 67 other riders, including 28 of the top 30 money winners in the world standings with names like Brazile, Cooper and Tierney.
"It feels pretty great and awesome to rope with these guys," Taton said. "I had won a few rounds in a few rodeos, but nothing like this. It kind of let's me know that I can hang with them a little bit. I hope I can do some good in the future."
Taton finished with 43.0 seconds on three head in the average to earn $2,798.69 and the title. Consistency was a big key to his win as the average money was the only amount he picked up. He finished just outside the top six in the first round and in the middle of the pack in the second go.
Taton's has been borrowing his father's horse for a couple of weeks and the champion said the animal helped with the win.
"I just have to get them down, which is tough because they are big steers who were in Cheyenne (last week)," Taton said. "My father said just to make sure to get them down."
The Oklahoman was second going into the third-go, but knew he had a chance to clinch the title when the leader after two rounds, Roger Branch, earned a no time on his last steer. Taton said he didn't want to make any mistakes that would have cost him money or the average.
"I knew what I had to do and execute it," Taton said. "When (Branch) no timed, and I hate to wish anything bad on anybody, I knew that if I got my steer down, then I knew they'd pay me."
Brodie Poppino (Big Cabin, Okla.) finished second in the average at 43.6 seconds, Jess Tierney (Hermosa, S.D.) placed third at 45.3, and C.A. Lauer (Buffalo, Okla.) was fourth at 46.1.
Nineteen-time world champion Trevor Brazile (Decatur, Texas) had the quickest time of the competition with a 10.3-second run in the third go. Neal Wood (Needville, Texas) and Travis Mills (Cheyenne, Wyo.) tied for the first go round with 12.7-second runs; and J.B. Whatley (Gardendale, Texas) won the second go in a time of 11.2 seconds.
DODGE CITY ROUNDUP STEER ROPING
FIRST-GO: 1. (tie) Neal Wood and Travis Mills, 12.7 seconds, $1,704.95. 3. Tony Reina, 13.2, $1,222.42. 4. Roger Branch, 13.5, $900.73. 5. Jess Tierney, 13.8, $579.04. 6. Landon McClaugherty, 14.0, $321.69.
SECOND-GO: 1. J.B. Whatley, 11.2, $1,865.80. 2. Tuf Cooper, 11.5, $1,544.11. 3. (tie) Tom Smith and Chet Herren, $1,061.57. 5. Jason Evans, 12.1, $579.04. 6. Brodie Poppino, 12.2, $321.69.
THIRD-GO: 1. Trevor Brazile, 10.3, $1,865.80. 2. (tie) J. Tom Fisher and Joe Wells, 12.0, $1,383.26. 4. Corey Ross, 12.2, $900.73. 5. Mike Chase, 12.3, $579.04. 6. Rocky Patterson, 12.4, $321.69.
AVERAGE (on three head): 1. Tyrel Taton, 43.0, $2,798.69. 2. Brodie Poppino, 43.6, $2,316.16. 3. Jess Tierney, 45.3, $1,833.63. 4. C.A. Lauer, 46.1, $1,351.09. 5. Martin Poindexter, 46.3, $838.56. 6. Tom Smith, 49.4, $482.53.