Ty Blasingame and JW Borrego won the 2014 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo with a 3.9-second run in the sudden-death round of four, after finishing second in the average of the first two rounds with a time of 10.2 seconds on two head. In the semifinals, they tied for third with a 4.6-second run.
The pair took $14,123 back to Colorado, plus vouchers worth $20,000 for new Dodge pickups.
"Winning it with Ty was the coolest part of the whole thing," Borrego said. "There were four of us growing up together at the ropings––Ty, me, Cody Buffalo and Spencer Miller––and Cody and Spencer both died. I feel like they were with us in this win. Me and Ty are still close, so anytime we win together, they're with us."
They qualified for the RNCFR by winning the Ram Mountain States Circuit Finals in Rock Springs, Wyo., last October.
Borrego headed for Blasingame growing up, and the two have had plenty of success together in their careers. They won the Mountain States Circuit Finals together in 2008 and again in 2013, and won the Redding (Calif.) Rodeo in 2009.
"Winning a national championship with J.W. is something special," Blasingame said. "We've always had success, and we've had success with other people, but we just seem to win together. Neither of us were planning on going much this year, but now I think we'll start in June at the BFI and Reno, and go from there. Who knows, we'll go over the Fourth and see where we are."
While Blasingame spent his winter on the rodeo road, Borrego just spent a week prior to the RNCFR working on his heeling. Borrego has spent much of the winter mostly out of cell service on his family's ranch 30 miles West of Trinidad, Colo. When his grandfather died two years ago, he left Borrego his ranch, which their family homesteaded in 1872.
"I've mostly been taking care of my grandma, and I want to dedicate this win to her," Borrego said.
His grandma, Maryanne, is 89, blind, and battling diabetes. Call Borrego to head to a jackpot mid-week, and he'll likely pass because he's busy taking care of his grandma, fixing fence, putting up hay, guiding a bear or elk hunt or taking care of the family's cows.
"The money sure does help," Borrego said. "I am going to buy some more cows, and maybe a few heel horses."
With plans to go to Reno, the BFI and beyond, Borrego will need backup for his 14-year-old Paint gelding, Quatro, and Blasingame will need some help for 14-year-old Blackie, too. Both were riding these two horses they raised when they won at the Lazy E, and both said they'll need some trustworthy backups going forward to take the pressure off their number-one mounts.
In addition to head horses, Blasingame will pump some of the RNCFR winnings into his new home outside of La Junta, Colo. Blasingame and wife Mindy bought 40 acres and plan to put a house on the property this year. Their oldest daughter, Kashlynn, 5, will start school in the fall, and Blasingame is sticking to the plan of having his home built by that time.
"We want to win the BFI together, but we're going to stick to the plan of rodeoing in June and July and seeing where we are," Blasingame said. "I'm starting from scratch on my place but I'm going to get that built this year. I just want a good little place for my family. Next year, though, I'm going to start back in a big way."
"I've gotten a lot of text messages and phone calls," Borrego smiled. "I don't know where to start calling people back. I've got to thank all the people who have helped me along the way. Everyone is blessed, and I'm so thankful."