Three-time gold buckle header Clay Tryan and nine-time NFR heeler Jake Long lead the World's Oldest Rodeo in Prescott, Arizona, with a time of 11.9 seconds on two head, currently winning third in Round 1 with a 6.0-second run and second in Round 2 with a 5.9.
"Clay did a really good job," Long said. "Unfortunately, being a heeler who doesn't score very good, I didn't get the best go every time, so I was a little behind the play."
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In Prescott, both header and heeler come from the same box. Long's young heel horse—CJ, a 7-year-old he bought from Trevor Kirchenschlager—had never seen that setup before.
"He was confused why the head horse was standing next to him," Long, 36, laughed. "He recovered good and has some decent speed to him so he did a good job moving his front feet and getting to the cow."
Long credits Tryan and his great sorrel horse Johnson for allowing him to catch up.
"Our second one ran, and Clay just wore the barrier out and did a great job. I was pretty far away from the cow when Clay already had his job done. Between the steer taking a half step to me and Clay waiting on me and my horse doing his job, it all came together."
With a good set of steers and the rodeo not ending until July 5, Long isn't so sure their time will hold, but he guesses it will hang in there for a check.
"If we’d have drawn a little better I’d have been more confident. There were four or five good ones in our set and on TV it dang sure looked like at least half of their steers were on the better end."
This was the first rodeo back for Tryan and Long, and they went on to Oakley City, Utah, where they didn't have any luck.
"We're up in Cody today," Long said. "The first day the guys went in Cody, it was wet and cold. It's about 70% better today, and it's 60 and sunny. It reminds me why I like to leave Texas in the summer." TRJ