By Ted Harbin/for the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo committee
GUYMON, Okla. – No stranger to winning – or the Guymon community – two-time World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M., has made quite a name for himself in these parts.
“This is where it all started for me,” Muncy said referring to Guymon, home of this week’s Pioneer Days Rodeo.
Muncy rodeoed for Oklahoma Panhandle State University, just 10 miles down the road in Goodwell.
“As soon as I came here for the bronc school my freshman year of high school, I knew where I wanted to go to college and where I wanted to hang out,” he said.
As an Aggie, he won the college and world championships in bronc riding as just a sophomore in 2007, becoming just the third cowboy in the history of the sport to win those two titles in the same event in the same calendar year; he joined bull rider Matt Austin and all-around cowboy Ty Murray.
An 88-point ride aboard Powder River Rodeo’s Miss Chestnut put Muncy in a position to take home his second championship title in Guymon – he won Pioneer Days in that magical 2007 season.
He has encountered that horse before while winning the title in Caldwell, Idaho.
“I had a pretty good idea of what he was and I was really excited it was nice weather to get on him,” Muncy said.
The sunny, 80-degree weather made it the perfect saddle bronc riding conditions at the Saturday afternoon performance for Muncy.
He was joined in the winner’s circle May 2 by two other world champions, who also took the lead in each of their events. Three-time and defending tie-down roping champion Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, took the lead in the steer roping with an aggregate time of 106.9 seconds on five runs, and reigning bull riding world champion Sage Kimzey of Strong City, Okla., took the lead in the bull riding with a 86-point ride.
Cooper, a seven-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, is excited about taking the lead in the steer roping, an event he began competing in just a year ago.
“To win one of my first big steer roping’s would be a big breakthrough for me and give me a lot of confidence,” Cooper said. “I’ve placed in some rounds and won enough to stay in the all-around (race) but nothing big.
“This is one of the bigger steer ropings; it’s a five-header, so you have to keep roping because a lot of guys can go out. My dad has won it plenty of times, my uncle has won it and my brother-in-law, so it would be cool to win.”
His father is eight-time world champion Roy Cooper, who won rodeo’s Triple Crown in 1983 by claiming the all-around, tie-down roping and steer roping gold buckles.
Now Tuf Cooper is carrying on a family tradition.
Courtesy of PRCA