Roger Nonella, of Redmond, Oregon, is set to take JoJo LeMond's place at the 2020 Cinch Timed Event Championships on March 13 through March 15, at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
Nonella got the call around noon on March 5, letting him know he was going to be able to enter the Ironman, which has been a dream for the all-around cowboy.
"I was shocked that it finally came through," Nonella, who works for Horse Guard, which is a family business, said. "I’ve been wanting to go for a long time. It’s kind of right there with the NFR. The timed event is my kind of deal because I’ve done all the events and I like to do them. It was about six years when I kind of started tripping. I was trying to kind of pursue it. I sent my resume into them (the CTEC office) on an off chance that maybe I’d get in. I called them the day before. Cody (Cabral) got hurt and they said they already found somebody. It was kind of a shock that it actually happened. When I got off the phone, it hit that I have to be out there in a week and I’m in Oregon and it takes two days to get there. It got hectic after that."
Fortunately, with the last minute phone call, Nonella isn't too concerned about getting all the bells and whistles lined out before he has to make the trip to Oklahoma.
"I’ve been at home in Redmond (Oregon) and the weather has been pretty nice," Nonella said. "All of the horses have been legged up and in shape. I’ve been roping a little bit—mainly on young ones, but all my good ones are still ready to go."
Nonella has his horse situation figured out in the team roping, calf roping and tripping, but needed to figure out what he was going to ride in the bulldogging. He made a call to two-time world champion bulldogger Hunter Cure, who will be providing horses at the Timed Event.
"I team rope a little bit," Nonella said. "I have a calf horse that I ran a couple calves on—should be ready to go. Tripping steers—the last one I ran was back in October, so I’ll run a couple on him and make sure he’s working good, too. As long as they remember what they’re doing, they’ve done it enough, it shouldn’t take much. I called Hunter Cure. I’m going to get on one of his horses out there. I think Clay Smith might be riding him, too. That was the only thing that I had to figure out, or at least the main thing. I haven’t ran a bulldogging steer for at least 15 years. I placed at Yuma one year and that’s the last one I ever ran. I’m going to try and stop at Hunter’s place on the way and touch a few."
Calf roping is Nonella's strongest event, but team roping and tripping are a close second as he also prepares for the tripping finals in Torrington, Wyoming.
"I team rope once in a while—at the circuit rodeos I head," Nonella said. "I won second in the year-end and won our circuit finals average in the tripping, so I get to go to Torrington in April. That’s come along in the last five or six years—really in the last two years. I’ve won a check in Pro Rodeo in every one of the events. I’ve done it all. The heeling is, besides steer wrestling, probably my weakest one."