MULVANE, Kan. – Jess Tierney had never had much success in his first four trips to the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping.
That changed in a big way Friday night for the Hermosa, S.D., cowboy at the Kansas Star Arena.
Tierney won Rounds 1 and 3 outright, and split Round 2 to move into first place in the world steer roping standings with $87,044. Tierney climbed up from third to first in the standings, thanks to winning $28,260 Friday at the NFSR, which is already a career-best total for this world championship event.
“That’s the best night I’ve ever had at the Steer Roping Finals,” said Tierney, 33. “I just tried to stay focused on what I was doing. I don’t really know what to say, but it was exciting.”
The second and final performance of the 2015 NFSR will start at 7:30 p.m. Central Time Saturday. This is the second year the NFSR is being held at the Kansas Star Arena. The first NFSR was held in 1959 in Clayton, N.M.
This is Tierney’s fifth appearance at the NFSR, as he also competed in the event from 2011-2014. In those other four trips, however, he only won one round – Round 9 (9.9 seconds) in 2013. The most money Tierney ever won at an NFSR before 2015 was when he took a career-best fourth in the average in 2013 and took home $22,615. He finished a career-best fourth in the world standings last year.
“Tonight, I just kind of wanted to have more of a fearless attitude in what I was doing,” Tierney said. “Last year I didn’t have my good horse and this year I do and I just tried to hustle and keep concentrating on what I was doing and I trusted him to make a good run.”
Tierney is riding his 15-year-old horse Socks at the 2015 NFSR, and that’s paying dividends.
“I rode him here (at the NFSR) once before in 2013. I didn’t get to ride him here last year, but he worked tonight,” Tierney said.
Tierney’s performance on opening night left him second in the average with a 58.5-second time on five head. Trevor Brazile, who has captured the last two steer roping gold buckles, is leading the average with 56.9 seconds on five head. Brazile is trying to win his 22nd career gold buckle and sixth in steer roping to go along with the ones he won in 2006-2007, 2011 and 2013-14.
Tierney made a statement immediately by winning Round 1 with a 9.8-second run and then he tied for the win in Round 2 with Cody Lee, as they both made 11.5-second runs. Tierney kept his momentum going when he won Round 4 with a 10.0-second run.
“I was just trying to focus on the next run each time,” Tierney said. “I just tried to keep going. I wasn’t looking back”
If Tierney can win a gold buckle, he will have something in common with his father, Paul Tierney. Paul was inducted in the ProRodeo Hall of Fame in 2008, and was the tie-down roping world champion in 1979 and all-around world champion in 1980.
“If I could win a gold buckle (Saturday) that would be outstanding,” Jess said. “I’ve worked really hard this year and I’m excited for (Saturday). My dad is here with me and I’m glad he is here, because he was trying to figure out things for me and he’s a great help.”
For more in-depth coverage on the 2015 Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping, see the Nov. 20 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA