As dark clouds swirled overhead during Championship Sunday Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison clinched the title at The Daddy of ‘em All before a tornado warning cleared the stands and a hail storm moved in shortly before the storm.
From sixth call Masters and Harrison took a 1.7-second lead by time the last five teams ran, turning in a fast time of 7.9 seconds to win the final round, worth $1,813 each, and give them a total of 26.4 seconds on three head, worth $8,939 a man along with trophy saddles and buckles.
“I’m so far back that I need any check that I can get,” Masters said. “I knew the steer was going to come left but I had no clue he was going to be that good. I kind of decided that I was going to have to maybe throw on the way in but when he was that slow I just tried to not mess him up. He heeled him fast. For some reason I think I missed my slack or something, but I don’t know that I got a good dally, so I was kind of worried about that and then when I turned around he had already heeled him.”
“We had a steer that Chris Francis and Cade Passig had on their first steer,” Harrison said. “They said he took off to the left, but he was pretty good speed wise. I had no idea that he was that good. Maybe he wasn’t that good the first time, but he was really good when we had him. I tried to go right with Chad just to make sure I didn’t shove her right to the fence. He did a great job. That head horse catches up so fast and he set me up really good. I was super pumped.”
Like the famous song by Aaron Watson goes, “In the rain and the mud in July in Cheyenne,” this year the arena turned to slop. But fortunate for Masters and Harrison, they roped their first two earlier in the week before the arena turned to a muddy mess, roping their first in 8.9 seconds and their second in 9.9.
“Both of our first steers were good,” Masters said. “They ran but they were straight and run a good pattern. I was just trying to not mess them up—maybe took a few extra swings than I needed too. It felt like I took too long but in the long run you draw one good one like that it sure helps the whole average.”
“Our first steer was good. She went in the tripping but other than that no one had run her in the team roping yet. Our second one tried a little more on the second run, but we made a good run on him. Chad did a good job. That was the first time that I’ve ever caught a steer clean at this rodeo. I’ve been here two other times, so I was just pumped about making the short round and then having a chance to win the rodeo. That was pretty cool."
This may be the first win for Harrison, but Masters won this same rodeo back in 2009 with three-time world champion heeler Jade Corkill.
“I’ve placed here three or four times I believe,” Masters said. “The last couple of years I haven’t done very good at all so it’s always good to win but especially when you need to win, it’s really important. It’s fun but it’ll make you nervous.”
Masters was on board the 2017 AQHA Head Horse of the Year, Clint. Harrison was on a mare he calls Lula.
“This is the third year that I’ve rode Clint here,” Masters said. “The first year that I rode him is the year that I fell off of him. He worked good here last year but I just didn’t do very good. This is kind of a better setup for him. He runs but he also rates good so you’re not worried about checking him up. He goes right to the cow and waits on you. It’s kind of one of his better deals so I thought he did awesome this year. He stood in the box better. Most of the time he stays in the box but he jumps around. This year he stood still pretty good.”
“She’s an 8-year-old mare by Dual Spark out of a Smart Little Lena mare,” Harrison said. “She’s a half-brother to the brown that I rode last year that TG (Travis Graves) is riding.”
Harrison is a big name in the AQHA shows especially recently with his 2017 AQHA World Champion Junior Heeling buckle but that buckle might be coming off here shortly.
“Everyone’s texting and calling me,” Harrison said. “I’m sure that when the money hits the bank account it will be real but it’s just a ton of fun. I’ll be honest with you I love this belt buckle I’m wearing, but I can’t wait to get that one on my belt.”