HEBER CITY, Utah. – The RAM Wilderness Circuit Finals Rodeo is packed with world champions and frequent contenders for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Despite some of the stiffest competition in professional rodeo, tie-down roper Kenneth Winn made the biggest triumph of his decade-long PRCA career Nov. 3.
“It’s the biggest win of my life, and I’m really excited and a little bit shocked,” said Winn, 36. “I never thought about it until last night when I realized I had a chance.”
Winn placed third in the first round and fourth in the second round to win the average in 30.9 seconds on three head.
“We have a lot of NFR guys and good ropers here,” Winn said. “I just stayed in my lane and made good runs and let it happen how it happened.”
His Heber City efforts were worth $4,379, and more importantly, his first qualification to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Kissimmee, Fla.
“It means a lot, I just qualified for the second biggest rodeo in the world,” Winn said. “It’s like my NFR, and I’m really excited about it. I haven’t wrapped my head around it, but I’ve never been to Florida before, so I’m excited about that as well.”
The Nephi, Utah, cowboy’s previous best season was in 2010 when he won $5,969. He won nearly that much at the RAM WCFR thanks in part to his 9-year-old American Quarter Horse bay gelding, Glass, whom he’s owned for two years.
“My horse has been a huge difference this year, he’s the best horse I’ve ever had,” Winn said.
Winn entered the RAM WCFR ranked eighth in the circuit with $9,408 won in the 2018 season – more than double his usual season total.
“Two things come to mind,” Winn said when asked what’s changed during his past 10 years of competition. “I’m riding the best horse I’ve ever owned, and I had the mind-set this year to go make runs and see what happens instead of trying to make first, and it’s paid off. I just wanted to make my run and take whatever the situation was instead of getting out of my comfort zone.”
This isn’t the first time Winn struck gold at Heber City. His other big win of the 2018 season happened at the Mountain Valley Stampede in Heber City on Aug. 4. Although both rodeos are in the same city, they’re held in different arenas, with the summer rodeo outside and the RAM WCFR inside.
“It was a coincidence but it’s an hour from home, so it’s nice to ease into it and have some fun,” Winn said.
Winn’s not letting the biggest win of his rodeo career impact his approach to the 2019 season nor is he changing his plans to include the Wrangler NFR.
“It’s awesome, I’ve never experienced it before and it’s uncharted territory for me, but I’m really excited,” Winn said.
“It will let me have more money if I want to go to more rodeos, but I’ll probably just go to more circuit rodeos. It will let me get into Cheyenne (Wyo.) Frontier Days, that’s a big one for me. I might go to Pendleton (Ore.) next year, but I’ll just keep my job and go to as many rodeos as I can around home.”
When Winn’s not on the rodeo road, he works as a foreman in cathodic protection for a natural gas company, helping protect underground pipes from corrosion.
“It’s a really big blessing to get a break like that,” Winn said. “I have a 9-to-5 job, and I have to work a lot of hours to make that much money, so to do that doing what I love is big to me.”
Other winners of the $295,071 rodeo were all-around cowboy Brodi Jones ($4,622, tie-down roping and team roping); bareback rider Morgan Wilde (247 points on three head); steer wrestler Stetson Jorgensen (14.0 seconds on three head); team ropers Pace Freed/Jade Anderson (17.7 seconds on three head); saddle bronc rider Jake Wright (255 points on three head); barrel racer Andrea Jones (49.44 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Tyler Bingham (252 points on three head).
For more coverage of the RAM Wilderness Circuit Finals Rodeo, check out the Nov. 16 edition of ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA