Ty Blasingame and Kyle Lockett don’t team up too much. Just twice now, to be exact. But the stars are in absolute alignment for this unlikely team of Colorado and California natives, who as of last night are two-for-two, as in batting a thousand.
Fate brought the two odd men out together as a team at RodeoHouston earlier this year, and resulted in a $55,750 a man windfall win that gave them both a jump on a very unlikely return to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2019. They struck again last night in front of a capacity crowd at the $1 million Komatsu Equipment Days of ’47 Cowboy Games & Rodeo in Salt Lake City. And the script felt so familiar.
Blaster, who’s dad to daughters Kashlyn and Kodie and is currently calling Casper, Wyoming, home, and Lockett, who lives in Visalia, California, snuck into last night’s medal round at the state-of-the-art, sold-out Days of ’47 Arena at Utah State Fairpark by way of an 8-second practice run the night before, which let them in the back door via the two-team, wild-card cut. They knew they only needed to stop the clock clean to make it back. Check.
Fast forward to last night, when they again had the advantage of roping last—and drew the same steer a second straight night, no less. Team after team went down in flames before them. If I dare share the details, the first seven teams were a leg, a barrier and a leg, lost rope, miss, barrier, miss and miss. The eighth team to rope—Cory Clark and Douglas Rich—were never so happy to finish on a fast track in 8.69 seconds after a fished-on, half-head head loop. It was a little ugly, but effective, and earned them each a bronze medal and $12,000.
[READ MORE: Kyle Lockett: Come Back Kid at 41]
And then there were two. Tanner Tomlinson and Will Woodfin were 5.98 right in front of Blasingame and Lockett, which in the end held for $25,000 a man and silver medals. Blaster got the $50,000 biscuit with a brisket neck shot, Kyle got him and 5.35 seconds later, to the top of the medal podium they went.
“All we had to do last night was just catch, and now here we were again in the same situation tonight,” said Blaster, who’s first and last trip to the NFR before this year was in 2010. “Kyle and I have roped together at two rodeos now, and we’re batting a thousand. He pulled off another awesome shot. That’s just what that guy does. To have a chance to win $50,000 on a Wednesday night is life-changing money for me.”
Yes, $50 grand a man. Blaster rode 20-year-old ace Blacky, his trademark horse he raised and trained, and Kyle won Salt Lake on his sorrel steed Stinky. Lockett last roped in Vegas at his seventh NFR in 2005.
“Roping last is obviously the best spot, but it’s kind of nerve-wracking when it’s miss after miss ahead of you,” said the 41-year-old Mr. Mom. “I’d just as soon try to be 5 flat as 8 flat. We were last out last night, too, and had the same steer. A clean catch got us back. We were 8.3 in a 5.3 setup. Lots of teams that roped before us had troubles tonight. I was wanting some guys to start catching to get a little roll going.
“We didn’t make a textbook run, by any means. Ty roped a neck, and I took kind of a wild shot—about like Houston—and had to reach further than a guy would want to. But it was either throw right there or not at all, so I had to let it fly.”
Kyle stepped off the stage and bee-lined it straight to the Salt Lake City International Airport. He flew to LAX, got in his truck and drove four hours back home to Visalia, where his wife, Leigh, and kids, Shayla, Georgia, Sutton and Blevins, had the Lockett family motorhome locked and loaded. Meanwhile, Lane Karney drove the horses all night from Salt Lake to meet up with Mr. Mom Meat just in time for them to rope in the match roping at the California Mid-State Fair in Paso Robles, where they’re also entered up in all the ranch-rodeo events at the Country Rodeo.
“It’s pretty cool that Ty and I are two-for-two together at two big rodeos I didn’t even expect to be entered in,” Kyle said. “It’s hard to even wrap my fingers around what’s been happening this year. It’s nuts. But it’ll be good to be back home. And I’d just as soon go to a ranch rodeo as a pro rodeo anymore, to be honest with you. Winning the match calf branding with Lane and Cash Robinson at the Parkfield Ranch Rodeo the other day was a pretty fun little feat, too.”