Russell Cardoza has survived the grueling 25 head at the Cinch Timed Event Championship 10 times, and his veteran savvy shown through as he finished Round 1 of his 11th edition with an aggregate of 58.0 seconds on five, worth $3,000.
Cardoza, 36, of Terrobonne, Oregon, kicked things off at third out with an 8.8-second heading run with the help of Cale Markham.
“Team roping, the steers tried pretty good and the score’s a little longer in every event,” Cardoza explained. “My horse worked really good, and Cale heeled him good. Then, my calf horse was a little free, which is good, because usually she’s tight, so she went forward right when I roped and I had to pull on her.”
Cardoza was 16.8 in the calf-roping, and then he followed that up with a 9.8 on a strong steer in his main event, the heeling.
“The only thing I was a little worried about was the bull dogging,” Cardoza said. “Last night I entered a bull dogging jackpot and missed both steers. So tonight, that was in the back of my mind, but that little horse worked really good.”
Cardoza finished the round with a 16.7 in the tripping, edging him ahead of Marcus Theriot by 1.8 seconds after Thursday’s evening performance of the CTEC. The tripping was a particular highlight for Cardoza, who rode a horse from his late friend Brad Prather, who passed away six weeks ago in a car accident.
“Tom Smith was Brad’s best friend, and he’s been riding the horse and keeping him in shape,” Cardoza said. “I really appreciate him helping me and bringing him over her, and Brad’s wife Sherri for letting me ride him.”
The rest of Cardoza’s string has close ties, too. AJ, his head horse, is by Cardoza’s stud, Cowboy Cardoza by Frenchmans Fabulous and out of Spratts Bay Zan, Cardoza’s late NFR mare Mo.
“I rode my older heel horse, Tara, who I’ve rode forever,” Cardoza said. “And then my bull dogging horse, I actually raised him. And I sold him seven or eight years ago, and then they ended up wanting to sell him last summer. So Sam, my father-in-law, bought her back for me.”
Cardoza has been rodeoing on a limited schedule in 2023, spending his winter in Arizona and riding outside horses.
“I practice a lot as far as roping calves and bull dogging a little bit, and I practice my tripping,” Cardoza said. “Doing what I do, riding a bunch of horses, I get pretty good exercise to keep me in shape for this. I’ve been riding a lot of outside horses, and it’s been nice being around the house rodeoing.”
Cinch Timed Event Championship Standings After Round 1:
- Russell Cardoza 58.0 seconds on five, worth $3,000
- Marcus Theriot 59.8 seconds on five, worth $2,000
- Erich Rogers 62.6 seconds on five
- Riley Wakefield 65.4 seconds on five
- Paul David Tierney 67.5 seconds on five
- Lane Karney 69.7 seconds on five
- Kyle Lockett 70.9 seconds on five
- Kolton Schmidt 72.1 second on five
- Cole Patterson 78.1 seconds on five
- Seth Hall 78.9 seconds on five
- Justin Thigpen 79.3 seconds on five
- Clayton Hass 87.1 seconds on five
- KC Jones 96.0 seconds on five
- Taylor Santos 96.3 seconds on five
- Cody Doescher 97.4 seconds on five
- Colby Lovell 104.7 seconds on five
- Cody Cabral 109.8 seconds on five
- Nelson Wyatt 114.0 seconds on five
- Jess Tierney 128.9 seconds on five
- Roger Nonella 146.8 seconds on five