Jordan Ketscher has started the 2019 Cinch Timed Event Championship right where he left off—in the lead.
Ketscher, who wears back number one as the reigning Cinch Timed Event Champion, leads the 2019 event after one round with an aggregate time of 60.7 seconds on five head, earning $3,000 for the go-round win.
"I survived," Ketscher said, still out of breath after a 20.5-second steer roping run. "It's just fun to come make good solid runs and to be able to put it all together, and to trust what we practiced and use practice-pen runs."
Ketscher's practice-pen routine has mostly involved calf roping and team roping—his two regular-season events—with a little ground work in the bull dogging and a few tripping runs mixed in.
"I was first out in the heading, and I was kind of nervous about scoring," Ketscher, who borrowed a head horse from Spencer Mitchell, said. "I kind of picked up a little bit and the horse responded like he's supposed to. So I had to run him down and get him. My tripping steer kind of wanted to stop a little bit, and my inexperience, I didn't know what to do. But luckily he stayed down and I got a time."
Ketscher is riding all different horses in this 2019 campaign, except for Ote Berry's steer wrestling horse. Berry is hazing for Ketscher, while Cody Cowden is heading and heeling again, too.
"You can dang sure always count on Cody," Ketscher said.
Ketscher enters Round 2 11.4 seconds ahead of Justin Thigpen, the number-two man in the aggregate and a first-time Cinch Timed Event Championship competitor. Thigpen, a 19-time International Professional Rodeo Association champion, made a smoking-fast 5.7-second run in the steer wrestling to keep the Waycross, Georgia, cowboy in early contention.
Behind Thigpen is Brent Lewis, of Amarillo, Texas, who has competed at the Cinch Timed Event Championship for the last two decades, including a third-place win in 1999. Lewis, a 2000 NFR average champ in the calf roping, was busy shipping cattle when the Lazy E staff called to invite him to the event just one week ago, following an injury to Trell Etbauer.
"I said, 'Man you know how long it's been since I've been?'" Lewis said. "And Bart Nichols said, 'You're stupid if you don't go.' I called my wife, and she said, 'You should go!' About noon, I got service again and I called Jessica at the Lazy E and said I'd go. When I called her and told her that, when I got off the phone, I got nervous as I'd been in 15 years."
Lewis made the National Finals of Steer Roping in 2015 and heads, heels and ropes calves in his real-life profession as a rancher, so all he needed to do was freshen up his bull dogging.
"I went by and ran a bull dogging dummy of Quade Hiatts', which I've never done before. I've bull dogged a lot of steers, but I've never done it on the dummy. That was weird. And I'm not going to lie to you. Today, when I rode in the bull dogging box, I was as nervous as I've maybe ever been. It turned out good, and I'm glad to be back."
The Cinch Timed Event Championship continues with a performance March 8 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday March 9 at noon and 7:30 p.m. and March 10 at 1 p.m. at the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma. TRJ
1. Jordan Ketscher, 60.7 seconds on five head, $3,000
2. Justin Thigpen, 72.1 seconds on five head, $2,000
3. Brent Lewis, 73.9 seconds on five head, $1,000
4. Clay Smith, 75.8 seconds on five head
5. Marcus Theriot, 76.6 seconds on five head
6/7. Cody Doescher, 78.6 seconds on five head
6/7. Erich Rogers, 78.6 seconds on five head
8. Cash Myers, 85.5 seconds on five head