Bulldogger K.C. Jones arrived at the Snake River Stampede Rodeo to compete in a Saturday night performance on July 20, minutes before the final round of steer wrestling got underway.
He and several other steer wrestlers had flown by charter jet to compete in the Nampa rodeo after competing in a matinee performance in Salinas, Calif., on the same day.
When they showed up at the Nampa arena, there were only two bareback riders left to compete before the steer wrestling short round would begin.
But Jones had it all planned.
He had asked a friend to warm up a well-known bulldogging horse named Smoker, the same horse that he mounted at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last December.
After traveling from California to Idaho, Jones turned in a blistering time of 4.0 seconds the fastest time in the 12-man final round.
He also won the title with a three-run aggregate time of 12.1 seconds.
“It was just like riding a bicycle,” Jones said. “We practice so much. When it comes time to do it, you just react.”
After winning the Nampa Rodeo, Jones took a late Saturday night flight back to Salinas on Jan. 20 to position himself to compete in the final round, a Sunday performance that was scheduled for July 21.
At renowned California Rodeo Salinas, Jones finished fourth in the final round with a time of 8.7 and fifth in the title race a three-run time of 27.2.
After all that, Jones, 42, who lives in the North Texas town of Decatur, is ranked third in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s steer wrestling world title race with regular-season earnings of $45,540.
He is on pace to earn his seventh National Finals qualification. In order to qualify for the Dec. 5-14 NFR, he must finish within the top 15 when the season concludes on Sept. 30.
“I’m having a good year with three great horses and four great guys to travel with,” Jones said.
Cutting horse update
Two years ago, Stylish Martini and rider Roger Wagner won the National Cutting Horse Association’s Summer Spectacular Derby Open title, the third jewel in the sport’s triple crown.
At the time, Stylish Martini was a 4-year-old, first-year competitor. Today, the mare is 6, which is the last year of eligibility for competing in a major Fort Worth NCHA aged event.
When the Summer Spectacular Open Classic/Challenge title was at stake on July 20 at the Fort Worth-based show, Stylish Martini and Wagner, who is from Aledo, worked their last major aged event at Will Rogers Memorial Coliseum in dramatic fashion.
The duo clinched the title by scoring a 226.
The victory earned Stylish Martini’s owner, Dottie St Clair Hill of Glen Rose, the $35,997 first prize.
A mare named Cat Mom Do and rider Matt Gaines of Weatherford finished second with a 224. The reserve championship earned the California-based Reata Cutting Horses $31,884.
The Championship Bull Riding organization, which is headed by four-time world champion Tuff Hedeman, conducted its year-end finals at the Cheyenne Frontier Days on July 22-23.
The purse was $311,000, and the champion received $100,000.
Cole Echols, of Frierson, La., won the coveted $100,000 check after turning in remarkable scores of 88, 85 and 88 at the Cheyenne championships.
In the CBR year-end standings, Echols finished first with 1,311 points, and Cooper Davis of Jasper, came in second with 1,031.5.
Cheyenne rodeo underway
The Cheyenne Frontier Days PRCA show began last weekend, and the purse is $866,994. The final round is scheduled for July 28.
Brett Hoffman, a Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame member, has written a rodeo column for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram the past quarter century. Email him at email@example.com.