LOGANDALE, Nev. – Steer wrestler Olin Hannum drove to Las Vegas Sunday night after winning the Clark County Fair & Rodeo Wrangler Champions Challenge, presented by Justin Boots. And the Malad, Idaho, cowboy is doing everything in his power to make sure he returns to Vegas in December for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Hannum won the bulldogging April 12 with a time of 4.6 seconds, well ahead of runner-up Kyle Irwin, who stopped the clock in 5.4 seconds.
“I’m pretty tickled with this win,” Hannum said as he made the hour drive from Logandale to Las Vegas. “Getting in these Champions Challenge events, and doing well at them, can really help you qualify for the NFR. This was a big day for me. I’m hoping this win helps get me in the Redding (Calif.) and Spanish Fork (Utah) Champions Challenge (events).”
The leader of the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings 30 days before each Champions Challenge event is one of the 11 qualifiers.
“That’s how I got into this one,” Hannum said of the Logandale Champions Challenge.
He made the most of the opportunity, and was thankful to fellow steer wrestler Dakota Eldridge for letting him ride his horse, Rusty.
“I have a real good horse (Eagle Eye), but he wasn’t as good in this setup where they were running fresh steers,” Hannum said. “Dakota has a really good horse, but he’s trying to keep him rested, so I felt real lucky he let me ride.”
Hannum, who earned a check for $5,440, was already fourth in the April 6 world standings with $23,006. That puts the 37-year-old cowboy well ahead of last season’s pace when he finished 29th in the world standings with $34,893.
“I thought I had a real good chance to make the NFR last year, but I had appendicitis right before the (2014 RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo), which I’d qualified for,” he said. “I was out for a while, but that was a real blessing, as it turned out, because I got to stay home with my parents.”
His mother, Lynn, and his father, Jack, passed away due to different illnesses last September 15 and 16. Amazingly, Olin went to the Amarillo (Texas) Wrangler Champions Challenge that same week and won the event, much to the delight of the entire rodeo world. And, he did it in style, setting the Champions Challenge record with a time of 3.5 seconds.
“My parents were always my biggest fans,” Hannum said. “They were always there for my brothers and sisters, and they still are – that’s how we believe. They’re on my mind all the time.”
Jack Hannum was a five-time NFR qualifier, once in tie-down roping (1977) and four times in steer wrestling (1978-80, 1983); he also served as a PRCA administrator for many years.
As Hannum signed autographs with the other winners following the Logandale Champions Challenge, a man asked about his father.
“A guy came through the line and he asked if I knew Jack Hannum,” he said. “He used to rodeo against him. I told him I was his son. It made me feel good. I love to talk about my dad and my mom.”
Olin Hannum qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2011, when he finished 10th in the world standings with $93,059. He’s determined to make another trip to Las Vegas this December, especially since the 10-day Finals will be worth in excess of $10 million – an increase of more than $3.5 million from last year.
Other winners at the $123,600 rodeo were all-around cowboy Trevor Brazile ($3,040 in tie-down roping and team roping), bareback riders Tim O’Connell (85 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Capone), Bobby Mote (85 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Sourdough) and Steven Peebles (85 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s Spilled Perfume), team ropers Aaron Tsinigine and Clay O’Brien Cooper (4.4 seconds), saddle bronc rider Taos Muncy (88.5 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s Rreubels), tie-down roper Marty Yates (7.6 seconds), barrel racer Lisa Lockhart (16.89 seconds) and bull rider Sage Kimzey (88 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Blue Blooded).
Muncy’s score broke the Wrangler Champions Challenge record of 88 points that he had shared with Cody Wright and Jesse Wright.
Courtesy of PRCA