Twenty men, five rounds and 25 runs make up the Cinch Timed Event Championship at Guthrie’s Lazy E Arena, but, out of the 950 runs timed over the last 38 years, only five competitors get to claim arena records.
Spencer Mitchell: Heading in 4.3
Spencer Mitchell started his trek to an Ironman arena record with a rather significant injury. The two-time NFR header from California blew his knee out in the steer wrestling in the first round of the 2014 Timed Event, leaving him only physically able to head and heel. The silver lining, however, was a 4.3-second run with three-time NFR qualifier and American Rope Horse Futurity World Champion Dakota Kirchenschlager—Mitchell’s regular-season partner at the time—to clinch the arena-record on the heading side.
“I was only going at the arena records because I wasn’t able to do the other events,” Mitchell said. “Dakota Kirchenschlager was heeling for me, and we just kind of waited until we drew a steer that was good enough and, obviously, he doesn’t take very long on his end, and it all just lined out pretty good.”
The now 34-year-old finished the average race at 19th that year. In 2017, he made the last of his three appearances as an Ironman contender when Cash Myers was sidelined from competition due to an injury. The last-minute entry made the steer wrestling a struggle as he was not able to nail down a horse he felt competitive on. These kinds of challenges, though, along with the sometime successes of the Timed Event, create a delicate balance between aggression and consistency.
“If you have the opportunity to make up a little bit of time in some of your events, then you try to stay aggressive but consistent as well; it’s a very fine line there,” Mitchell said. “They call it the Ironman. By the end of the week, you either want to be done or you want to keep going—you don’t know yet.”
Jade Corkill: Heeling in 4.3
It only took one trip to the Ironman for three-time World Champion Jade Corkill to set the arena record in the heeling. Corkill made his first and only appearance to the Timed Event Championship in 2013 with Kaleb Driggers, two-time and reigning World Champion Header, as his helper. The pair blasted a 4.3-second run to take hold of the arena record. Corkill credits Driggers for the swiftness of their run.
“I would say it was mostly the header, probably,” said Corkill, 35, who resides in Stephenville, Texas, with his two sons. “We actually made a faster run the round before, but I think I got called out for crossfire. No one really thought it was, and there was kind of a little discrepancy there. Then we came back the next round and ended up beating it that round.”
Corkill set the record aboard his renowned sorrel Ice Cube, who passed last year at the age of 24. They finished 19th in the average, despite Corkill’s bad ankle, made worse in the first round of the steer wrestling. He notes that the physicality of the Ironman is unlike any other.
“Even though we rope every day, all day, or ride horses all day, it’s just a different type of deal,” Corkill said. “Just doing all the events and doing it in competition, having to focus that much, that long—the switching horses, the overall everything you have to do to get ready—it’s a completely different kind of feeling than anywhere else.”
Scott Snedecor: Steer Roping in 9.4
Four-time World Champion Steer Roper Scott Snedecor was on his third of six Timed Event trips when he struck gold. After being taken out of the competition early in his first year from broken ribs, 2008 saw the now 21-time National Finals Steer Roping qualifier break the arena record in the steer roping with a 9.4-second run. Scott’s equine counterpart of six or seven years was the power that aided in his feat.
“I had a horse named Big Time,” said Snedecor, 48, who calls Fredericksburg, Texas, home. “He was a big gray horse, and I headed on him and tripped steers on him. The steer was really good, and that horse could run. He was a powerhouse and he worked outstanding almost in any situation you put him in.”
Snedecor left the Lazy E that year 10th in the average and with a record that still stands to this day. The year prior, Snedecor finished seventh overall, and his best average spot came in 2011 when he finished ninth. His final trip in 2012 ended in an early finish due to knee issues. In his six years of Timed Event Championship competition, Snedecor developed the belief that horsepower plays a vital role in a man’s Ironman success.
“I think horsepower is a real big issue at that deal,” Snedecor said. “A lot of guys try to overmount themselves, and then there’s other events that you think you can get by with and you undermount yourself. I learned a lot after the first year that I went up there that I had to be a little pickier and smarter in choosing what horses I used in each event.”
Cade Swor: Tie-Down in 7.9
Cade Swor, seven-time NFR tie-down roper, was determined to turn his luck around at the 2009 Timed Event Championship. After a rough week, Swor took advantage of the draw to break the arena record in the tie-down roping with a 7.9-second run.
“What made the whole run was my terrible performance up to that point,” Swor, 48, recalled. “I was so far behind, I was just trying to do anything I could to get my money back. I remember those calves were so good; they were so much smaller than what we normally roped there. They were just not your typical timed-event cattle, and I saw that calf prior to that round and, in my position, when I drew that calf, my only goal was to break the record.”
Swor said he took the rodeo approach because of the position he was in, and Lady Luck was on his side, helping him to break Blair Burk’s 8.1-second record at the time. The start of the week weighed on Swor’s average game, however, and left him to end the battle in 19th. Swor made his final of six trips to the Lazy E in 2016, walking away with an arena record, some round wins and a fourth-place finish in 2008.
Leo Camarillo: Steer Wrestling in 3.1
The longest-standing arena record at the Timed Event Championship, fittingly, is held by one of rodeo’s great legends. Leo “The Lion” Camarillo was a true Ironman, capable of dominating in any timed event. The 1975 All-Around World Champion and four-time World Champion Team Roper won the inaugural Timed Event Championship of the World in 1985, a year before setting the yet-to-be-broken arena record in the steer wrestling.
Camarillo set the 3.1-second steer wrestling record in 1986. The 1979 ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee would go on to win the Timed Event again in 1989.
After 74 years of earning roping’s highest accolades, The Lion left us too soon on Dec. 30, 2020. No other man has set a record at the Lazy E in an event outside of his professional discipline—a true testament to Camarillo’s all-around cowboy skill.
“In my family, we were ropers first and ropers last,” Camarillo told The Team Roping Journal’s Kendra Santos in a 2015 Spin to Win interview. “But we took a lot of pride in gritting our teeth and bulldogging, too, not just to showcase ourselves but also our horsemanship, technique and try. For me to go back to bulldogging country and set a record that still stands is something I’ll go to my grave pretty proud of.”