It’s always been tough to say whether Timed Event Championship of the World bragging rights meant more to the cowboys than the tall dollars that went with the prestigious title. The owners of the Lazy E Arena, which will host the 31st annual Timed Event Championship of the World March 6-8 in Guthrie, Okla., aren’t just anteing up a little extra this time around to heat up that debate—they’re doubling down.
In 2015, the cowboy sport’s “Ironman” will be awarded a whopping $100,000 of the record $200,000 total Timed Event payoff, in addition to those coveted bragging rights. And he’ll have earned it. The Timed Event Championship of the World is a cowboy contest unmatched in terms of testing both versatility and stamina. The three-day, five-round, five-performance marathon—which for fans, like the 20 elite cowboy contestants themselves, come from coast to coast—features 500 runs of those 20 superstars doing battle in five events. It’s a rare cowboy cat who can navigate the combination of steer wrestling, tie-down roping, steer roping and both heading and heeling in the team roping event.
Those handy enough to handle this toughest of cowboy tests range in age and geographic region, from veterans like five-time TEC Champ K.C. Jones of the Cowboy State in Wyoming to young guns and relative newcomers, such as Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Steer Wrestler Clayton Hass, who hails from the Lone Star State of Texas.
“We work way too hard at this event just to do it for the money,” said Jones, 47, who’s one of only 12 men ever to twist the TEC and grab the gold; the winningest cowboy in Timed Event history is none other than Cowboy King Trevor Brazile, who’s won it six times. “You only take on the Timed Event because you love it. I wasn’t born with a silver spoon, so I’ve had to work extra hard for everything I’ve won. I love that you can’t buy or luck into winning the Timed Event. It takes some gristle in your gut and some blood in your eye to win this thing.”
The 2015 Timed Event Championship of the World will again be televised as a prime-time special on RFD-TV. And the best all-around athletes in the cowboy sport will again headline the show. In today’s ultra-competitive ProRodeo world, in which single-event specialists rule the day, the Timed Event is a welcomed challenge for the likes of Jones and Hass.
“I don’t have the luxury of getting to compete in more than one event at the rodeos,” said Hass, who just qualified for and competed at his first NFR in December. “So the Timed Event is special to me, and it gives me a chance to use all the skills I learned on the ranch. Growing up branding and doctoring cattle in the pasture comes in handy at the Timed Event. This event wears you out, and when it’s over you’re sore, and physically and mentally exhausted. It’s the ultimate test. Hopefully, this’ll be my year.”
As four-time Timed Event Champ of the World and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Paul Tierney—the father of defending TEC titlist Paul David Tierney, put it, “The Timed Event Championship of the World is a King of Kings event.”