Andy Watson Photo/PRCA Photos
Colby Lovell and Kory Koontz grossed the third highest in earnings over the Fourth of July, earning $15,918 each for the week (Behind only Aaron Tsinigine and Ryan Motes and Cody Snow and Dugan Kelly). Lovell and Koontz split second and third at Cody, Wyo., with Chad Masters and Travis Graves, with each man pocketing $7,937. Koontz and Lovell also won second at Livingston, Mont., to pick up another $5,925 each, and sixth at Window Rock, Ariz., for another $2,056 a man.
“We didn’t catch that many but we caught the right ones,” Koontz said. “My year has been a struggle. I started with Rhen Richard and we didn’t do very well. I started with Colby around the American. We did well there, so we decided to keep going. This spring we didn’t go to California, and our plan was to stay close to home until it was time to go to Reno. So we just decided to go and give it everything we got and see how it goes. We both feel that you can struggle through the first part of the year, and if you draw good and rope good starting from Reno on, you can do good. We caught them all at Reno, and the short round fell apart to let us win third there and split first and second in the short round. Then we made a couple good runs at Prineville and won $3,000 there. We started our Fourth of July at Cody and knew that would get good money but we didn’t know how much. I missed in St. Paul to win good money, and then we drew a couple of bad steers. We had two runners at Prescott and had no chance. We went to Window Rock and we knew we had a pretty good steer. It was raining straight down on us and we used the steer and got him caught. That was a decent way to end the week. Three steers turned into $16,000.”
Lovell and Koontz roped together in 2010, winning Reno and getting hot over the Fourth of July, too. They went on to make the Finals that year, for Lovell’s first trip to the Thomas & Mack. This year is turning out similarly, Koontz said. Lovell missed the Finals last year, while Koontz has sat out the last two trips to rodeo’s Super Bowl.
“That first year, I hadn’t been anywhere,” Lovell said. “I got to missing home and I got to roping bad. This year, my wife (of 11 years) Kassidy and kids Levi and Jewel are with me. I have only been away from them for four days rodeoing.”
They’ve got a team of mares—Abby and Annie—that carried them to most of their Fourth of July wins, and they’ll ride them through the summer run, if all goes well. Lovell said.
“As the year progressed I didn’t stay up there the last two years,” Koontz said. “I haven’t made the Finals, but now I feel like I’m in a position to make a good team with Colby. We have roped together so much. When I roped with him last time, he was just beginning. And now he’s been out there and done it and he knows what’s going on. We need to stay bared down and give it everything we’ve got. Best case scenario would be to have the Finals made, at the $65,000 mark, by Cheyenne. If not, it will turn into battling it out until the end of the year. Things have fallen into place. We’ve roped pretty good, not great. It’s not like we dominated, but we caught the right ones.”