In 2019 Justin Thigpen made Cinch Timed Event Championship history as the second rookie ever to win the title, becoming $107,000 richer.
Since 1985, CTEC has brought together 20 of the greatest timed event cowboys in the sport of rodeo challenging them in five rounds of heading, heeling, tie down, steer wrestling and steer roping for a six-figure payout.
Last year after receiving a last-minute invite Thigpen had only two weeks to prepare for the event, where he would compete for his first time in the steer roping. With the help of several other competing cowboys, he rose to the challenge claiming only the 15th title ever won in the 35 years of the event.
“When people ask me what I do to prepare, well we really do it every day of our lives,” Thigpen, the 2017 IPRA All Around & Tie-Down Roping World Champion said. “There are always horses saddled at my house. So, the only thing specific in practice I am doing for the Timed Event is tying steers on the ground for the steer tripping.”
Thigpen plans on using five of his own horses and riding Will McBride's horse Flexy for the steer roping, like he did last year. McBride will mount out several other cowboys, reflecting the ways in which this event brings the competitors together.
“I think it is the true passion for the sport that makes it a special event to watch,” Thigpen said. “You really get to root for everybody because it’s you against the animal in the end, so when you see the other guys have bad luck or struggle, it weighs on you more than a regular rodeo would.”
Thigpen has proven himself as the top contender for this year's Timed Event in more ways than last year’s title, having stayed at the top of the standings in all seven rodeo organizations he competed in for 2019. Thigpen has a deep appreciation for the role his family plays in his success, as he rodeos year-round and practices nearly every day.
“The people that help me out the most are my family, whether it’s my wife pushing me, my dad who always keeps a positive mindset about rodeo, or my boys who are always with me,” Thigpen, who used last year’s Timed Event winnings to build a home for his family in Sothern Georgia where he was raised, said. “It doesn’t matter if I have a bad day, they still tell me I did a good job.”
In addition to rodeoing full-time, Thigpen runs T-T Rodeo Company, which produces rodeos all across the Southeast. It is a family owned and run company, priding itself in producing top-quality family entertainment. Being a competitor allows Thigpen to provide committees with new ideas on the rodeo circuit. If you’re interested in hosting or attending a T-T event, you can find them on Facebook at T-T Rodeo Company or t-trodeo.com.