By Tracy Renck
KISSIMMEE, Fla. – Jet lag wasn’t a problem for tie-down roper Haven Meged.
Meged, 21, competed for Tarleton State University at a rodeo in Sweetwater, Texas, Friday morning and then hopped on a flight from Abilene, Texas, to Orlando, Fla., arriving at midnight Saturday morning to continue competing at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla., Saturday afternoon.
The whirlwind trip paid dividends as Meged clocked an 8.5-second run – the best of performance four – and secured a berth into the RAM NCFR semifinals by placing second in the two-head average with a 16.3-second time.
“I woke up Saturday morning and I didn’t feel good and had a bad sore throat,” Meged said. “I feel better now, after my run. I was kind of nervous for my run today. Going in there I had 11 seconds to tie her down and I would move on. I went out there and took an extra swing and set up. I bobbled my string when I strung her, and that cost me a little bit, but I’m still coming back.”
The RAM NCFR concludes at 1 p.m. Sunday. The top eight contestants in each event compete in the semifinals and the top four in each event advance to the finals.
“This is a great opportunity to get to rope here Sunday,” Meged said. “This is a huge rodeo. The next two rounds are ($7,581) rounds, and if I draw good and rope good hopefully, I will win good.”
At the RAM NCFR, Meged is riding his 9-year-old horse Beyoncé.
“She has been really good for me,” Meged said.
This has been a strong rookie season for Meged. He’s 10th in the latest PRCA | RAM World Standings with $26,954.
“I had a really good winter, I did well at San Antonio and I hope to keep it going,” Meged said. “My main goal is to make it to the NFR. There are very few people who make the NFR, but that’s something I wanted to do since I was little.”
At the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo in Bracket 3, Meged won the first round (8.8 seconds); split the win in Round 2 with 11-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Matt Shiozawa (8.5 seconds) and was third in the third round (8.1 seconds).
Meged, of Miles City, Mont., is making his debut at the RAM NCFR representing the Montana Circuit after winning the year-end title.
“This has been great,” he said. “I had never been to Florida before this week and it has been cool to be here. I’m really looking forward to Sunday. I believe I will go second to last in the semifinals, and I will know what I have to do (to be in the top four for the championship round). Everybody in the eight-man (semifinals) will be trying to win the round, because there’s so much money to be won if you go to the finals.”
Tune in to watch the RAM NCFR on CBS Sports Network on April 8 at 8:30 p.m. (ET).
Tyler Bingham shakes off injury to qualify for semifinals
Tyler Bingham was thrown off his bull extremely hard in the first round. He shook it off to take second in the second performance with an 86-point ride on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Bonanza.
“We don’t ever think about that, that was in the past, there’s nothing we can do about that,” Bingham said. “… I took a 30-minute nap at the hotel after that and I’ve felt great since then. It kind of made my back a little sore because I landed kind of weird, but you can’t feel anything when you’re riding. It’s so fast and your adrenaline is going. If you can feel it while you’re riding, you probably shouldn’t be riding.”
Diaz rebounds to win second round
After a no score on his first horse, Isaac Diaz bounced back to post an 85-point ride on Korkow Rodeos’ Wiggle Worm to win the second round at the RAM NCFR.
“When you have a no score on your first round, that’s always your plan to come back and win the round,” said Diaz, who entered the weekend in 11th place in the world standings with $36,040. “It hardly ever works out that way.”
Diaz, who won the RAM NCFR last year, did his part and Wiggle Worm helped out.
“I didn’t know if I had enough horse for it, but that horse had the best day its ever had,” Diaz said.
Team standings after the completion of the first round at the RAM NCFR
1, Texas, $65,595; 2, Mountain States, $51,479; 3, Prairie, $50,446; 4, Wilderness, $49,467; 5, Badlands, $46,114; 6, California, $42,595; 7, Montana $30,325; 8, Columbia River, $29,657; 9, Southeastern, $28,008; 10, Turquoise, $16,805; 11, Great Lakes, $9,476; 12, First Frontier, $4,549
Courtesy of PRCA