Roger Nonella came out of the woodworks to move into the lead in the average at the 37th annual Cinch Timed Event Championship with a time of 265.8 on 20 head going into the fifth and final round.
Nonella, 34, finished seventh in Round 4 with a time of 67.7 on five head which was quick enough to move him ahead of Marcus Theriot with 267.3, Seth Hall with 267.5 and Clay Smith with 269.7.
“All I want to do it take it one at a time—one event at a time, one round at a time,” said Nonella, who resides in Redmond, Oregon. “I just want to knock them down and get a time on everything. It’s tight. I’m just going to do the same thing that I’ve been doing. I’m just going to take it one at a time. We’re going to see what happens and let it fall where it may. I can’t do much else but do my job.”
Nonella’s first CTEC appearance was in 2019 when he got the coveted call on March 5, 2020 to sub for JoJo LeMond who had to back out due to a wrist injury, which made for limited preparation time.
“Last year I kicked off the first round winning third,” said Nonella, who won the 2019 Columbia River Steer Roping Circuit Finals. “In the midway point we had a few bobbles in the heading. My helper and I both had it in the heading so that put us behind. By the end of it I ended up 11th or 12th, so we kind of faded off after the second half. This year we kind of have it figured out. Last year I only had a day to go ride a bull dogging horse before I had to be here, so I didn’t have much prep time.”
Nonella is riding two of his own personal horses in the calf roping and the heading, is borrowing his father-in-law’s heel horse and is borrowing a tripping horse and Hunter Cure’s bull dogging horse, which the Round 4 champion Clay Smith is riding, too.
“The head horse is one of mine,” Nonella said. “My little girl rides him a lot. I have a calf roping horse that I started. I took him a little bit last year and this is his kind of his first big event. I have a heel horse called Grey Dog. My father-in-law owns him. I’ve done most of the riding on him and kind of trained him. He was started when I got him, but I’ve done most of the training on him. The tripping horse is strong to the saddle, so he makes it good. The steer wrestling horse is Charlie, Hunter Cure’s horse. That horse is awesome.”
“That’s a great horse,” Smith said about the world champion bull dogging horse. “He’s been a good horse for a long time. He has a little bit of age on him.”
Charlie isn’t the only team member helping Smith and Nonella throughout the duration of the CTEC. Smith, who won Round 4 with a time of 48.4 seconds on five head, worth $3,000, has two-time world champion Hunter Cure helping him compete.
“Hunter hazes too,” Smith said. “He’s such a big help for me. He pushes steers and hazes for me. He’s a good coach. He’s really helped me in the bull dogging, so I owe a lot to him and Charlie.”
Smith is staying aggressive in hopes of moving up in the average after the final round.
“We had a good steer and it made it easier,” Smith said. “The calf roping calf was good, but just a little bit left and right, but again, that’s where that horse comes into play. That horse is great. I was just trying to stay on him. He tracks so good. I appreciate Lane Livingston. My brother had no mistakes too.”
Smith is feeling strong enough after completing four rounds to make no mistakes and stay aggressive at the barrier in Round 5.
“I feel good and I feel healthy,” Smith said. “Nothing has happened to be sore from. I think we’re ready. You just hope you can draw good and use them.”