Big Man Comes Up Big for Tavenner in Prescott

by Jim Bainbridge | Jul 06, 2014

PRESCOTT, Ariz. – Winning rodeos was the last thing on steer wrestler Dirk Tavenner’s mind in mid-June.

Tavenner’s primary horse, Showtime, became ill and passed away, and he had to turn to his 17-year-old horse, Big Man.

“It has been a struggle because I lost my good horse the day before I competed at Reno (Nev., June 24), Tavenner said. “I had Showtime for about four years and I trained him and I won about $25,000 on him last year.

“(Recently) he got fluid around his lungs, and he got bacteria in it (the fluid) and it caused his kidneys to shut down. I’m been trying to get with another horse (Big Man) I had. I’ve had Big Man for about five years. He’s not the fastest, but he’s great in the box.”

This week, Big Man really stepped up his performance as he powered Tavenner to the average win with a 9.8-second time on two head at the World’s Oldest Rodeo (June 30-July 6).

“This was awesome to get this win,” said Tavenner, 23.

Tavenner was solid on both his runs in Prescott, taking sixth place in the first round at 5.4 seconds and then he won the second round with a 4.4-second run.

Tavenner pocketed $5,287 at the World’s Oldest Rodeo and had an $8,050 payday at the Cody (Wyo.) Stampede July 4 when he took second place.

“This is the first year I really felt like I did well over Cowboy Christmas,” the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Tavenner said. “That was a great check at Cody and I’m excited to keep it going.”

Up next for Tavenner is the Central Wyoming Fair & PRCA Rodeo in Casper on Tuesday, the Sheridan WYO Rodeo on Wednesday, and the Dinosaur Roundup Rodeo in Vernal, Utah, on Thursday.

Tavenner’s best finish in the PRCA world standings since buying his card in 2010 was 50th last season.

“I just graduated from school (at New Mexico Highlands),” said Tavenner, who received a degree in human performance science. “I rodeoed there for four years and I made the College National Finals Rodeo every year.”

Now, Tavenner is focusing on getting to compete on the big stage in Las Vegas at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Rigby, Idaho cowboy was 23rd in the June 30 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings.

“I feel really confident about my horse (Big Man) now,” Tavenner said. “It’s an exciting time for me and I feel like I have the opportunity to do it (qualify for the National Finals Rodeo).”

Other winners at the $250,044 rodeo were bareback riders Jared Smith (88 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Hot Valley) and Casey Colletti (88 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Pepsi Valley), team ropers Levi Grantham and Dennis Watkins (12.4 seconds on two head), saddle bronc riders Chad Ferley (83 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Cactus Flower) and Heith DeMoss (83 points on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Blue Swan), tie-down roper Bryce Runyan, (20.1 seconds on two head), barrel racer Kelli Thouvenell (34.66 seconds on two runs), steer roper Shay Good (42.3 seconds on three head), and bull rider Reid Barker (88 points on 4L & Diamond S Rodeo’s Sandi’s Dream).

Courtesy of PRCA