The 34-year-old and wife, Kelli, had their first child, Nash, six months ago, and now Thouvenell is trying to have a comeback season in 2014 on a new horse.
Along with being a new dad, Thouvenell has spent a lot of time training his new horse, John Day (who ironically is a mare), as he hopes to avoid the same results he had in the 2013 world standings.
“I started a new horse this year and I’ve been trying to get her seasoned for this year,” Thouvenell said of John Day. “I rode her in San Antonio and Austin and then made the short round at Red Bluff. John Day was her registered name when we got her; I didn’t name her that.”
Regardless of the horse’s name, Thouvenell and the new mount appear to be on the same page. He won the Clovis Rodeo, a silver stop on the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour, presented by Justin Boots, with a time of 21.7 seconds on four head. Thouvenell earned $4,224, which will move him into the top 40 of the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings.
The win is the biggest in more than a year for Thouvenell, whose last eye-catching victory came when he won the 2013 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. He finished 63rd in the world last year, and is hoping for a return to the top 15, as he was in 2012.
“I’m going to go to as many rodeos as I can this year, while also trying to do the family thing,” Thouvenell said. “Having a kid on the road is awesome and having family with you is great. It’s not what I’m used to, which is three other guys in the rig with me. I’ll still jump in a bit with some guys, but I’ll also travel with my wife because she barrel races.”
Thouvenell’s wife is the former Kelli Tolbert, who qualified for the Wrangler NFR in 2010 and again in 2012. He and Kelli are able to travel together to the big rodeos, where they both compete. In fact, John Day was initially bought to be a barrel racing horse for Kelli, but when things didn’t work out in that event, the horse was given a try at bulldogging.
“I think she’s doing really well so far, and I’m excited about her and I hope she keeps progressing as much as she has already,” he said of John Day. “She enjoys herself bulldogging and can run and score real well.
“A win like Clovis is big for both me and the horse,” Thouvenell said. “It’s been a struggle. I rode my other horse, Bomber, who’s been great for the last four or five years – and he’s still great – but he needed a break. I needed to develop another good horse that I can win on. This win makes me trust John Day more, and I think she’s coming into her own.”
Thouvenell also went to the WNFR in 2010, and is hoping that the even-numbered years will once again be good to him in 2014.
“I’m going to try to practice as much as I can and get the horse ready for the summer run and try to get into a routine,” he said of his plans for the next two months. “I’d love to make it back to the NFR a bunch more times, but to make it with a new horse this year would feel awesome. I did the same with Bomber, so it would mean a lot. It’d be cool to do it on two horses.”
Other winners at the $235,121 rodeo were all-around cowboy Trevor Brazile ($6,485 in team roping and tie-down roping), bareback riders Caleb Bennett (85 points on Growney Brothers’ Raggidy Ann) and Tyson Thompson (85 points on Burch Rodeo Company’s Jim Dandy), team ropers Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill (23.2 seconds on four head), saddle bronc rider Ryan MacKenzie (85 points on Burch Rodeo Company’s No. 873), tie-down roper Reese Riemer (34.9 seconds on four head), bull rider Tim Bingham (88 points on Growney Brothers’ Sweet Sinner) and barrel racer Fallon Taylor (48.87 seconds on three head).
Courtesy of PRCA