After Colby Lovell won his gold buckle in 2020 with Paul Eaves, he gave Eaves a warning.
Lovell was giving Eaves one more year of rodeoing.Then stepping back from the all night drives and months away from home in favor of raising his two kids and a remuda of great horses.
Having spent the winter of 2022 helping Eaves at a few ProRodeos, Lovell now is turning his attention full force toward making great rope horses at his home in Madisonville, Texas. He’s already gaining impressive success: Lovell won the ARHFA Redbud Spectacular Open Heeling on the 5-year-old Laker Doc son Jamming On The Lake. The win was worth $10,700 plus the $2,500 DT Horses Bonus for a score of 909.02 over four rounds.
ARHFA Redbud Spectacular Open Heeling Champ Play-By-Play
Lovell tied for 14th and 15th in Round 1 with a 224.1 on their trickiest steer of the day.
“He run a little bit and sat on the end of it when [Reigning World Champion Header Kaleb] Driggers turned him,” Lovell said. “Driggers probably did a better job than I did all day. But MJ read the cow awesome and give me some separation and took control of the run. And I think that got the judge’s attention and let me really show him.”
Lovell and MJ won second in Round 2 with a 228.4 worth $75. They followed it up with another impressive 227.45 in Round 3 to come into the short round third callback, behind Cade Rice and Sparkling CD, owned by Donny and Charla Wooten, and Dakota Kirchenschlager and CFR Arete Gun, owned by Jared Crain.
“I wanted to get in the box and get him to bridle up and show he was responding to me,” Lovell said. “I wanted to leave flat and get in a good spot and just try to catch and let him do him. He works like that every time. So if I can just catch then everything works out and goes good.”
Driggers spun Lovell a good one to score a 229.07 in the short round of the ARHFA Redbud Spectacular Open Heeling. But Lovell had to ride back up the pen to head for first and second callback. When they failed to connect at second callback, Lovell had to recompose himself to turn a hard-running steer for Kirchenschlager and CFR Arete Gun at high back.
“I’m so hard on myself, and I felt horrible after all Cade had done all day that I missed that steer for him,” Lovell said. “So I rode back up, and then that steer ran so hard with Dakota. But Dakota rides so well, and his horses work so well, that I figured he still probably won it.”
Lovell was on his way back to his rig to put his horses up with ARHFA Producer Jay Wadhams stopped him to head to the arena for pictures.
“I hadn’t been listening to the scores or the times in the short round,” Lovell said. “I was just happy for Dakota. So when he told me I won it, I couldn’t hardly believe it.”
Where did ARHFA Redbud Spectacular Open Heeling Champ Jamming On the Lake Come From?
Lovell had bought that horse “pretty far along” from Grant Gilbreth, who works for NCHA Reserve Futurity Champion TJ Good. Good has helped Lovell hone in his horsemanship recently, and Lovell credits Gilbreth with MJ’s talents.
“He was really far along already,” Lovell said of the horse gentle enough that his 8-year-old daughter Jewel could ride around the arena bareback the night before the futurity. “But MJ was green. He’d just been to one or two ropings, but Grant did an exceptional job with him. He had the best spot in the world to be as a young horse.”
Each horse will start out with a 70 score and go up or down from there. Judges score each maneuver from -5 to +5, and each penalty from 1 to 5. Eye appeal will be scored from -1 to +1. There is a 10-second penalty for any broken barrier and a 5-second penalty for roping a leg.
The maneuvers judged in the heading are: Box & Barrier, Run & Rate, Setting & Handling, Facing, Degree of Difficulty and Eye Appeal.
The 5-point heading penalties are given for Refusal to Enter the Box, Rearing, Running into the Steer and Refusing to Pull the Steer. The 1-5 point penalties are Turning Around in the Box, Getting Out Ran and Failure to Face Completely.
The maneuvers judged in the heeling are: Box & Barrier, Run & Rate, Position, Stop & Jerk, Degree of Difficulty and Eye Appeal. The 5-point heeling penalties are Refusal to Enter the Box, Rearing Up and Running into the Steer.
Time is the “third judge”, subtracting the total time from 80 to provide the third score.