No barriers. No legs. No 60s.
Erich Rogers was nearly flawless in his very first Cinch Timed Event Championship at the Lazy E Arena, en route to $100,000, plus another $4,000 in go-round money, with a time of 311.3 seconds on 25 head.
“Nearly” flawless, that is, until the 25th steer, in the steer roping, when Rogers put a little too much finesse on his horn loop, missing his first shot and having to pull his second loop from his saddle for the first time.
“I was going and too flat, and I tried to roll my loop over and draw some curl and whip my slack over the head,” Rogers, 33, said. “My swing was so slow and flat and as soon as I roped it I let it go and pulled my second loop out. But I’ve never pulled my second loop out before, so when I grabbed it I had two coils in my hand, and that didn’t feel good because normally it’s just one coil. He’s coming left, and I tell myself to cowboy up and stick it on him. I rope him like a team roper, and I lay the trip, and then it gets rough.”
As Rogers was stepping off his horse at the very back end of the Lazy E, his rope got caught between his saddle and his horse, causing a disruptive jerk in his run. At the same time, as he’s swinging off, his legs cramp—sending him tumbling backward into the dirt for what seemed like hours.
“But that horse of Cody Lee’s, I’m so lucky, he just keeps working. I string a knee, and he’s trying to get up. Jess Tierney had him and warned me that he’s all there. That horse is just working, and I’m playing footsie with the steer and I don’t know what I’m doing.”
What Rogers describes is perhaps the longest 37.4 seconds in CTEC history, but he’d been rock solid enough throughout the week that he’d given himself 54 second going into that last run. With a lingering and crippling leg cramp, Rogers clinched the Ironman title in front of the Lazy E’s packed house.
It’s taken nine attempts at the grueling 25 head of the Ironman for Rogers to finish on top, with plenty of peril along the way. In 2019, he had just won Round 2 when he jumped a tricky bull dogging steer on the left wall, sticking his foot in the red dirt and hyper-extending his knee, and tearing his ACL, requiring surgery. But Rogers was back the next year, no questions asked.
“There’s no other event like this in the world,” Rogers said. “The NFR is great, but this event tops the charts. To be an Ironman champion here is like winning a world championship. Now I get to come back here and get a banner up there. And it’s awesome. You see those guys names. And every one of those guys, I can’t imagine.”
The Lazy E now hangs banners for every CTEC champion from its ceiling, meaning Rogers will join the likes of Leo Camarillo, Mike Beers, Paul Tierney, Jim Cooper and Bobby Harris in that part of history.
“And guys like Kyle Lockett and Daniel Green—he’s been here 25 times—their names are up there, and they were all here rooting for each other still this week,” Rogers said. “There’s 19 other guys here, and they’re you’re biggest fans too. Everybody pulls for everybody here at this event.”
Rogers had the help of ProRodeo partner Paden Bray in the heading, who’s helped him here since he was in high school.
“Paden, he’s been here just as long as I have. He’s heeled for me almost all of the nine years I’ve been here. Logan’s helped me several times, calf horses I’ve borrowed from everybody. And Cody and Lee Lee have let me borrow Bola for four or five years now. It’s one big family and everybody pulls for everybody. These animals are precious, and it’s so awesome for them to let us take them.”
Rogers borrowed his bull dogging horse from Clay Clayman, the eventual JR Ironman Champion, who Rogers also helped to the title and $21,500 in payout earlier that day. The horse was only in his third major event in the steer wrestling, as Clayman only transitioned him from the heading in December 2021.
“Last minute we didn’t have a horse,” Rogers explained. “I was flagging the bull dogging jackpot here the night before because I donate my time to these kids, and this Clay Clayman kid comes up, and I’m heading for him in the junior events. He offered his bull dogging horse, and it was awesome. Russell Cardoza and I both rode that bull dogging horse, and Russell won third. That horse would just run up there, let you get a good catch, and after that it was easy.”
Aside from Clayman’s bull dogging horse and Lee’s steer roping horse, Rogers rode his own 8-year-old head horse ER Dash To Dinero (by PC Frenchmans Hayday out of the Royal Quick Dash mare Dashing Valentine), Bray’s dun grade heel horse Hugh and an outside horse of Haven Meged’s named Nub with frost-bitten ears that drew a lot of attention (Note: He’s for sale).
The win caps off Rogers’ already stellar career that’s included his 2017 world title and 2016 Bob Feist Invitational with Cory Petska and his 2020 NFR average title and American championship with Bray. But despite the accolades, Rogers has maintained his roots in his Navajo culture, and he’s not forgotten where he came from.
“When I was just a kid, growing up on the Rez we didn’t have much,” Rogers said. “We lived a couple hundred feet from my grandmother. She had 150-200 head of sheep and goats. Whenever we’d get home from school, she’d need to doctor a few of them or pair the lambs up with their mothers so I’d be the kid getting to rope them. There was one goat who had the perfect set of horns, and they almost looked like steer horns. I roped that booger so many times and I got yelled at and whooped on.
“That feeling of being home, coming from pretty much nothing and making it to the big leagues is an awesome feeling. To see my family support me, and the relatives I have back home, they know where I came from and I love it.” TRJ
Cinch Timed Event Championship Results
1. Erich Rogers, 311.3 seconds on 25 head, $100,000
2. Clayton Hass, 327.6 seconds on 25 head, worth $25,000
3. Russell Cardoza, 335.2 seconds on 25 head, worth $15,000
4. Taylor Santos, 341.3 seconds on 25 head, worth $10,000
5. Paul David Tierney, 363.9 seconds on 25 head, worth $7,500
6. Haven Meged, 374.8 seconds on 25 head, worth $5,000
7. Roger Nonella, 391.0 seconds on 25 head, worth $4,500
8. Lane Karney, 401.3 seconds on 25 head, worth $3,000
1. Clayton Hass, 58.4 seconds on five head, worth $3,000
2. Russell Cardoza, 58.8 seconds on five head, worth $2,000
3. Paul David Tierney, 59.5 seconds on five head, worth $1,000
1. Cody Doescher, 51.3 seconds on five head, worth $3,000
2. Erich Rogers, 52.8 seconds on five head, worth $2,000
3. Clayton Hass, 59.5 seconds on five head, worth $1,000
1/2. Taylor Santos, 51.4 seconds on five head, worth $2,500
1/2. Paul David Tierney, 51.4 seconds on five head, worth $2,500
3. Seth Hall, 54.9 seconds on five head, worth $1,000
1. Taylor Santos, 52.0 seconds on five head, worth $3,000
2. Erich Rogers, 55.5 seconds on five head, worth $2,000
3. Marcus Theriot, 56.3 seconds on five head, worth $1,000
1. Marcus Theriot, 50.9 seconds on five head, worth $3,000
2. Clayton Hass, 55.6 seconds on five head, worth $2,000
3. Paul David Tierney, 60.6 seconds on five head, worth $1,000