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Bareback rider O’Connell right at home in the west

by ProRodeo.com | Apr 13, 2014

Tim O’Connell, the 2013 PRCA Resistol Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year, rode Gold Coast of the Rosser Rodeo string for 86 points to the win the Oakdale (Calif.) Saddle Club Rodeo by one point over Clint Laye.

OAKDALE, Calif. – Tim O’Connell may be from Iowa and currently reside in Missouri, but the bareback rider is quickly becoming a fan of the rodeos in the west.

The 22-year-old put up a pair of 86-point rides over the weekend, and returned to school at Missouri Valley College in Marshall with a big smile and two nice checks.

O’Connell rode Rosser Rodeo Company’s Gold Coast at the Oakdale Saddle Club Rodeo to edge Clint Laye by one point for the win, and earn $2,042. His other 86, in Logandale, Nev., was good enough for second place and another $3,940.

“I’d say winning Oakdale is the best win I’ve had and the biggest rodeo win I’ve had,” said O’Connell, the 2013 PRCA Resistol Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year. “I flew into Sacramento and was up in Logandale on Friday and Oakdale on Saturday. I had a really good weekend and 86 was the magic number; I hope it’s the magic number from here on out.”

O’Connell, who was 20th in the Wyndham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings entering the weekend, will fly back into Sacramento again this weekend for the Red Bluff (Calif.) Round-Up. He’s hoping to draw as good a horse there as he did in Oakdale.

“I had never been on Gold Coast and had never heard of that horse until now because I don’t know a lot of Rosser horses,” he said. “But that horse dang sure bucked. She had a wicked move out of the gate and strung me out on the first jump. After that I held on and she jerked my hand out of the rigging right after the whistle.”

Winning is nothing new for O’Connell. As a senior in high school he won the Wisconsin high school state bull riding title in 2010, and then was the top bareback riding permit holder in the PRCA in 2012.

“I lived so close to the border of Iowa and Wisconsin that the high school rodeos in Wisconsin were closer to me than the ones in Iowa,” the Zwingle, Iowa, native said. “They gave me permission to ride in Wisconsin, and I didn’t even start riding bareback horses until halfway through my senior year.”

After a bad wreck in bull riding at the National High School Finals Rodeo as a senior, O’Connell says it, “knocked some sense into him.” He’s been riding bareback horses for four years now, and couldn’t be happier.

As a rookie in 2013, O’Connell was right in the thick of the chase for a berth to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo bid when he suffered a severe injury at the end of August. He was 18th in the world when he separated his SC joint, and didn’t ride again until February.

“It was kind of a scary deal and a serious injury that ended my season,” said O’Connell, who finished 21st in the 2013 standings. “It just wasn’t meant to be for the NFR last year, but I have my eye on it this year. I want it bad; I’ve been dreaming about it since I was knee-high.”

Other winners at the $107,423 rodeo were all-around cowboy Dakota Eldridge ($1,050 in steer wrestling and tie-down roping), steer wrestler Rhett Kennedy (13.7 seconds on two head), team ropers Tyler Waters and Richard Durham (10.0 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy (86 points), tie-down roper Trevor Brazile (17.8 seconds on two head), bull rider Dustin Bowen (84 points) and barrel racer Rachel Primm (17.58 seconds).

Courtesy of PRCA