Kansas high school cowboys are undeniably greatest in the country.
Fact proven when two all-around hands from the sunflower state battled out to bring home the top two spots at the recent Junior Timed Event Championship in Guthrie, Oklahoma.
In a field of 10 of the best cowboys, ages 15 to 20, from throughout the United States, Bo Yaussi of Udall was crowned champion, and J.D. Draper of Oakley was the reserve champion.
The special more-youthful cowboy competition was in conjunction with the renowned Timed Event Championship featuring 20 of the world’s best professional cowboys.
Combined the competitions have seeming rightfully have been tiled the Ironman Events of Rodeo.
Jess Tierney of Hermosa, South Dakota, became the lucky 13th winner of the prestigious professional division with Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Oklahoma, named the runner-up winner.
The younger cowboys ran 12 times over three days, with three rounds each of heading, calf down roping, heeling and steer wrestling. Professionals went 25 times, in five rounds each of heading, calf roping, heeling, steer wrestling and steer roping.
Yaussi won his crown with a time of 152.2-seconds on 12 runs to edge out Draper’s 161.3-seconds time. Yaussi won $10,000, while Draper collected $5,250.
Docs Cowboy Up, Draper’s mount, was recognized as the American Quarter Horse Association (AQHA) Junior Ironman Top Horse.
Ranking third through fifth respectively among junior cowboys were Wyatt Hansen, Oakdale, California, 205.7-seconds, $2,000; Garrett Jacobs, Lemitar, New Mexico, 215.2, $1,000; and Tanner Green, Cotulla, Texas, 267.2, $1,000.
Tierney totaled 326.8-seconds on 25 rides to edge out Smith by six seconds for the title. It was a most profitable three days for Tierney, who won a total of $104,000.
Smith collected $28,000, while his heading mount Higgins Frenchman was recognized as the AQHA Timed Event Championship Top Horse
Crowd favorite Trevor Brazile of Decatur, Texas, finished in third place ten seconds behind the winner after leading for most of the first two days. His combined time of 336.2-seconds was worth $22,000.
Tierney slammed the door on the field when he roped and tied a steer in 16.4-seconds. Josh Peek of Pueblo, Colorado, was in second place at the time and clocked 33.9 in the event to assure Tierney the title. Peek ended fourth place with 339.8-seconds, and $14,000 in winnings.
Defending champion Paul David Tierney, Oral, South Dakota, was fifth after having trouble in steer wrestling, knocking him out of repeat title contention. He was 350.5-seconds, on 25 runs, worth $13,500 in prize money.
Ranking sixth through eighth were Jordan Ketscher, Squaw Valley, California: Marcus, Theriot, Poplarville, Mississippi; and Shay Carroll, LaJunta, Colorado.
Toughest Competitors, Best Of Friends
“This is a great honor,” Yaussi said. “I’ve been working hard for this great opportunity right here.”
The Udall cowboy entered the final round with an 8.2-second lead over Draper. In the opening event, Yaussi’s heeler missed his first shot and eventually roped one leg. They stopped the clock in 24.4 seconds. Draper was 13.8 to take a two-second lead.
But, Yaussi took charge from there and wrapped up his run with a 57-seconds final round to claim the championship.
“My strategy is first best shot,” Yaussi said. “Whether you’re trying to be smooth or trying to win the rodeo, if it’s there, take it. You don’t change much. You just go play your game.”
“This is an awesome experience, and I really liked it,” Draper said. “It’s good that we get to do all the events like this.”
The two Kansans have battled each other for championships in the Kansas High School Rodeo Association. However, this year Yaussi opted to compete in compete in the Oklahoma High School Rodeo Association.
“J.D. and I have had a lot of tight races,” Yaussi said. “We’ve always been going nose to nose. I like him a lot, and we get along real good.”
A Tierney Game
Jess Tierney closed out a wild and eventful final round of the 2017 Timed Event Championship.
More importantly, though, is that Jess became the third member of the Tierney family to claim this prestigious and elusive title, joining his four-time champion father, Paul, and his two-time titlist brother, Paul David.
“I couldn’t be happier for my brother,” Paul David said. “Now we all have a Timed Event buckle to wear.”
In all, the family owns seven of those gold buckles, a cherished piece of hardware that is the epitome of multi-talented cowboys.
Paul won his first title in 1987, when Jess was just five years old. He added crowns in 1991, ’97 and ’00. It’s a family tradition they’d like maintain.
“This event is just the greatest,” Jess said. “It could’ve paid two bucks, and I would’ve showed up. I just wanted to win this event. With them adding that kind of money, it’s just life-changing for us.”