by Jim Bainbridge | Jul 29, 2016
By Ruth Nicolas/for the Last Chance Stampede committee
HELENA, Mont. – The fastest run in the steer wrestling at the Last Chance Stampede went to a hometown cowboy.
Timmy Sparing, a graduate of Capital High in Helena, made a 3.7-second run to take the lead after the first night of the PRCA rodeo.
It is one-tenth of a second faster than the time that won the 2015 rodeo.
Last year, Ty Erickson, another Helena native, and Kane Cartwright, from East Helena, split the championship with a time of 3.8 seconds.
Sparing and Erickson, who are 27 and 25 years of age, respectively, were classmates at Capital High and spent a year on the high school rodeo team together.
In college, they went their separate ways – Sparing to Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, and Erickson to Montana State University in Bozeman.
Sparing, who remains friends with Erickson, rode Erickson’s horse in Helena.
Sparing competed in Cheyenne, Wyo., at Frontier Days on Monday and Tuesday of this week, then headed home with Erickson’s horse Shakem, as Erickson stayed in Wyoming and competed on Wednesday and Thursday.
He gave Shakem, the 2015 AQHA/PRCA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, the credit for his run Thursday. “A good steer is a good part of it,” he said, but Shakem “is always a game changer. He gives you a good go, and he’s fast, and he makes my job easy. He’s been a good horse for a long time.”
Sparing normally rides his traveling partner Rowdy Parrott’s horse, George, but Parrott went to the Deadwood, S.D, rodeo, while Sparing chose to come home for a few days. While he was in Cheyenne, Erickson rode the horse Cadillac, owned by his traveling partner Clayton Hass. Cadillac was the 2014 AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year and runner-up last year.
Sparing will spend a few days at home before he takes off again on the rodeo trail. Erickson will be in Helena Friday night, to ride Shakem, then Shakem gets a few weeks off before he goes with Erickson to the Northwest for the rodeo run there.
Next week, Sparing will fly to the Dodge City, Kan. rodeo, where he will meet up with Parrott. He’s ridden Parrott’s horse most of the season.
The travel arrangements can be a logistical challenge. “We enter rodeos a month in advance,” Sparing said, “and we have to map it out, and what horses go where. There’s a lot more to rodeo than just what happens in the arena.”
Rodeo contestants, including steer wrestlers, are friends and accommodate each other when they can. “It’s good when you have good friends, and they help you out.”
Sparing had his own cheering section at the rodeo tonight. This is the first time in several years he’s been able to compete at his hometown rodeo, and rodeo announcer Wayne Brooks joked that an entire section of the grandstands was Sparing’s family.
“There’s probably 20 (family members) here,” Sparing said, including his mom and dad, Linda and Bob, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends.
Other high scores and fast times from the rodeo include bareback rider Jessy Davis, Power, Mont. (83 points), saddle bronc rider Luke Butterfield, Ponoka, Canada, (78 points), team ropers Jake Orman, Prairie, Miss. and Tyler Domingue, De Kalb, Texas (5.2 seconds), tie-down roper Rawlee Yamauchi, Grace, Ida. (9.3 seconds), barrel racer Emily Kallenberger, Havre, Mont. (17.69 seconds), and bull rider Parker Breding, Edgar, Mont. (84 points).
The Last Chance Stampede continues tomorrow night with a Tough Enough to Wear Pink performance on Fri., July 29 at 7:30 pm. Fans are asked to wear pink for Tough Enough to Wear Pink night to support St. Peter’s Foundation. For more information, visit the rodeo’s website at LastChanceStampede.com. Tickets are available online and at the gate.
Courtesy of PRCA