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Reeves Riding High in Lea County

Matt Reeves wrestles his first-round steer in 3.8 seconds with the help of his hazer, Quinn Campbell. Reeves has a two-run cumulative time of 7.9 seconds and leads the lea County Fair and Rodeo. (PEGGY GANDER PHOTO)

LOVINGTON, N.M. – Matt Reeves knows as well as anyone how vital it is to compete at ProRodeo’s grand finale, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He’s been there six times. This past December, he arrived in Las Vegas No. 12 in the steer wrestling world standings with $62,402. Ten nights later, he added $164,141 after placing in seven of 10 go-rounds and finishing third in the all-important average race.

As the curtain fell on the 2016 season, Reeves was the No. 2 man. It was his best season yet and, by far, his greatest NFR. Now he hopes to return for the seventh time in his 14-year career, but he’s got some work to do. He sits 14th in the world standings with a little more than a month and a half left in the season.

“I should’ve been doing better,” said Reeves of Cross Plains, Texas. “This horse has been doing good. This is the first year he’s been the main horse.”

He was talking about Roy, a 9-year-old sorrel gelding, which guided him to the bulldogging lead at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo on Thursday. Reeves posted a 3.8-second first-round run in the morning, then followed that with a 4.1 during the second performance that evening. His 7.9 seconds on two runs is just a 10th better than the runner-up, Hawaiian Cody Cabral.

“I’ve done well here quite a few times,” Reeves said. “It means a lot to me right now. I only went to two rodeos last week and had some stuff to do at home. All that went well, so now we’re ready to go back at it.”

He also enlisted the help of Alabama steer wrestler Quinn Campbell to serve as Reeves’ hazer for a bit – the hazer’s main duty is to keep the steer going in a good line so the steer wrestler can make a good transition from his horse and set up a solid run.

“It’s been a good week,” Reeves said. “We’ve made three good runs. I haven’t had three good looks at three steers in a row, and now I’ve had the same look three times.

“We had a practice session Tuesday, and Quinn knocked some rust off me while he was knocking some rust off himself. The last two that day were right down the middle. I was having a lot of steers move off to the right and stop right out in front, but Quinn is a little more aggressive at the start and gives me the look I need.”

That kind of teamwork is important, and it’s the same type of comfort he has found in Roy. The gelding’s dam is a barrel racing horse, while his sire is Ote, which has been a solid bulldogging horse for a while. In fact, Reeves once owned Ote before selling the palomino stallion.

“The mare was why we bought him, but it’s a great cross for this kind of horse,” he said. “I hauled him around as a backup and rode him some last year. This is the fourth horse I’ve made that I’ve rodeoed on. He’s cool and fun.”

Now he’s hoping Roy carries him back to Las Vegas, and finishing well in Lovington will go a long way into securing his spot to be there.


Lea County Fair and Rodeo
Lovington, N.M.
Aug. 9-12

Bareback riding leaders: 1. J.R. Vezain, 87 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Painted River; 2. Anthony Thomas, 83.5; 3. Evan Jayne, 82; 4. (tie) Jordan Pelton and Richmond Champion, 81; 6. David Peebles, 80.5; 7. Grant Denny, 78; 8. Kenny Haworth, 72.

Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. Cody Cabral, 3.5 seconds; 2. K.C. Jones, 3.7; 3. Matt Reeves, 3.8; 4. Billy Bugenig, 4.1; 5. Chance Howard, 4.3; 6. Jacob Shofner, 4.4; 7. (tie) Christian Pettigrew and Cody Moore, 4.7. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Mike McGinn and Chance Howard, 4.0 seconds; 3. Matt Reeves, 4.1; 4. Jacob Shofner, 4.3; 5. (tie) Cody Cabral Cody Moore, 4.5; 7. Ryle Smith and Miguel Garcia, 4.8. Average leaders: 1. Matt Reeves, 7.9 seconds on two runs; 2. Cody Cabral, 8.0; 3. Chance Howard, 8.3; 4. Jacob Shofner, 8.7; 5. Cody Moore, 9.2; Miguel Garcia, 9.7; 7. Blake Knowles, 10.5; 8. Ryle Smith.

Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Shank Edwards and Chase Edwards, 8.4 seconds; 3. Cory Solomon, 8.7; 4. Tuf Cooper, 9.0; 5. Ryan Jarrett, 9.3; 6. Catfish Brown, 9.5; 7. Tyler Milligan, 9.6; 8. Matt Kenney, 10.3s. Second round leaders: 1. Caleb Smidt, 7.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Timber Moore and Cory Solomon, 7.6; 4. Ryan Jarrett, 8.8; 5. J.D. McCuistion, 9.0; 6. Josh Peek, 9.6; 7. Cody Jordan, 9.9; 8. Shank Edwards, 10.0. Average leaders: 1. Cory Solomon, 16.3 seconds on two runs; 2. Ryan Jarrett, 18.1; 3. Caleb Smidt, 18.2; 4. Shank Edwards, 18.4; 5. J.D. McCuistion, 19.5; 6. Timber Moore, 19.6; 7. Chase Williams, 20.2; 8. Tyler Milligan, 20.3.

Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Isaac Diaz, 83.5 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Hometown Girl; 2. Hardy Braden, 82.5; 3. Brody Cress, 81.5; 4. (tie) Will Smith and Jake Finlay, 80; 6. Cameron Messier, 78; 7. Corey LeFebre, 74; Telden McLain, 68.

Steer roping: First round leaders: 1. Brian Garr, 10.8 seconds; 2. Leo Campbell, 11.3; 3. Trevor Brazile, 12.1; 4. Tuf Cooper, 12.4; 5. Kelton McMillen, 12.8; 6. Kenyon Burns, 13.8. Second round leaders: 1. (tie) Cody Lee and Tuf Cooper, 10.5 seconds; 3. Brian Garr, 11.3; 4. Leo Campbell, 11.3; 5. Chance Kelton, 12.0; 6. Trevor Brazile, 13.4. Third round leaders: 1. Marty Jones, 9.3 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile, 9.4; 3. Billy Good, 10.5; 4. Kelton McMillen, 10.9; 5. Cody Lee, 11.2; 6. Brent Lewis, 11.3. Average leaders: 1. Trevor Brazile, 34.9 seconds on three runs; 2. Brian Garr, 35.3; 3. Leo Campbell, 42.2; 4. Kelton McMillen, 44.6; 5. Cody Lee, 21.7; 6. Tuf Cooper, 22.9.

Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.5 seconds; 2. Trevor Brazile/Patrick Smith, 5.8; 3. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 5.8; 4. Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 6.0; 5. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 6.4; 6. Charly Crawford/Joseph Harrison, 6.5. Second round leaders: 1. Brandon Webb/Kollin VonAhn, 4.9 seconds; 2. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.3; 3. Caleb Smidt/Tyler McKnight, 5.4; 4. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 5.6; 5. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 6.2; 6. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 6.3. Average leaders: 1. Nelson Wyatt/Trace Porter, 11.1 seconds on two runs; 2. Billy Bob Brown/Logan Medlin, 12.1; 3. Jake Cooper/Dakota Kirchenschlager, 12.6; 4. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 13.5; 5. Brandon Webb/Kollin VonAhn, 4.9 seconds on one run; 6. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 5.3.

Barrel racing leaders: 1. Taci Bettis, 17.28 seconds; 2. Tammy Fischer, 17.54; 3. Jana Bean, 17.56; 4. Davie King, 17.70; 5. Nalynn Cline, 17.71; 6. Delani Wood, 17.80; 7. (tie) Aimee Kay and Jasarra Baca, 17.83; 9. Tillar Murray, 17.84; 10. Bridget Carr, 18.02; 11. Lori Todd, 18.62; 12. Allison Resor, 18.79; 13. Jamie Wilson, 22.50; 14. Holly Wright, 22.57; 15. Carley Richardson, 22.61.

Bull riding leaders: 1. Brennon Eldred, 86 points on Salt River Rodeo’s 419; 2. Elliott Jacoby, 85; 3. Scottie Knapp, 84; 4. Tim Bingham, 72; no qualified rides.

Courtesy of twisTEDrodeo.com