Montanan breaks San Antonio wrestling record

Feb. 16, 2014

By Susan Kanode/for the San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – A San Antonio Stock Show Rodeo rookie, Timmy Sparing from Helena, Mont., showed the rest of the field just how to turf a steer in the AT&T Center on Feb. 16.

Sparing broke the arena record with a 3.0-second run, beating the previous standard of 3.1, set a year ago by Riley Duvall from Checotah, Okla. Sparing won the second round of the fifth bracket here by nearly a second and earned $1,955. He is now on pace to advance to the semifinals and earn even more at the $1,269,235 rodeo.

San Antonio’s rodeo features the largest payout during the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association’s regular season and is second only to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. A qualification system is used and just getting an invite to the prestigious event is a goal set by many contestants going down the road.

“I’ve been working really hard just to get here,” Sparing said. “I was so excited to be here. I knew I could be fast on that steer. I just didn’t know how fast.”

The former College National Finals Rodeo qualifier had some help from K.C. Jones from Decatur, Texas, who was hazing and provided the steer wrestling horse, “Bumble Bee,” that Sparing rode. Sparing was a student at Tarleton State University in Stephenville, Texas, when he and Jones got acquainted and then started traveling together.

“I told him we were going to beat the arena record tonight,” Jones said.

Coincidentally, Jones was hazing for Duvall last year when he set the record and for Clayton Morrison who held it previously.

“I couldn’t be more excited for him,” Jones said. “I knew when we got that steer we had a chance. It couldn’t have worked out any better.”

The big money winners here so far are team ropers Nick Sartain and Rich Skelton, along with barrel racer Shelly Anzick. They have finished atop the leaderboard in both rounds of bracket 5 and have each collected $3,910. Sartain won this rodeo in 2012 with Kollin VonAhn from Blanchard, Okla., who roped in bracket 4 and has qualified for the semifinals. It’s been nearly two decades since Skelton earned a buckle here in 1996.

These contestants along with the rest of the field in bracket 5 will have their third and final competition here on Feb. 17 beginning at 7 p.m. (CT). At that time all of the semifinals qualifiers will be determined. The first set of semifinals starts Tuesday night, Feb. 18.