Tim O’Connell, Richmond Champion Share Gold Buckle Knockout Win

Splitting a victory isn’t ideal, but bareback riders Tim O’Connell and Richmond Champion weren’t complaining.

O’Connell and Champion shared the victory at the inaugural Gold Buckle Knockout at the Cervi Ranch in Stoneham, Colo., Wednesday the final day of the PRCA regular season.

In the final-four, sudden-death round, O’Connell had a 90.5-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix William Wallace, and Champion matched him with a 90.5-point trip on the Cervi Brothers’ Ain’t No Angel.

Saddle bronc riding also was contested at the Gold Buckle Knockout, and Chase Brooks walked away the champion with a 90.5-point ride on The Cervi Brothers’ Womanizer.

“This win means everything,” O’Connell said. “It’s great momentum to end your season with a 90.5, and now to get to go home and get yourself ready for the NFR, what more could you really ask for? I’m going to keep this momentum and run it all the way through my eight weeks of training. I’m going to bring it right into Arlington.”

The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo will be at Globe Life Field in Arlington, Texas, Dec. 3-12. Unofficially, O’Connell finished the regular season atop the 2020 PRCA | RAM World Standings with $122,927. Champion is seventh in the world standings with $64,149.

O’Connell and Champion earned $2,827 and $4,391, respectively, in Stoneham.

“I’m not mad about it at all,” Champion said about splitting the win. “I was tickled to have (Ain’t No Angel). She had a really good day on her home turf, and you can’t beat that. It was a good time. When I’m headed to Arlington in December I’m going to think back on some rides, and this will be one of them.”

Champion won the long round with an 89-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Baby Face. O’Connell was fourth with an 86.5-point ride on The Cervi Brothers’ Amos Moses.

Brooks tied for fourth in the long round and departed town after earning $2,937.

“It feels pretty cool to finish this kind of year off with a win like this,” said Brooks, who is eighth in the saddle bronc riding world standings. “I’ve been watching that horse (Womanizer) for a while, and this was a pretty sweet place to draw her. I had her when she was younger in Houston, but I think I was only like 85. She was good then, but she hadn’t really figured out her stuff she has to her now. She’s a solid 90-pointer every time.”

Womanizer was voted the top saddle bronc horse of the 2019 Wrangler NFR. Brooks had an 86.5-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Risky Business in the long round.

“It was a battle,” Brooks said about his eight seconds aboard Womanizer. “I hung on the left side once, and she just has so many big rolls when she has her moves, and it’s tough getting a perfect ride on her. I was happy to finish it off.”

There were 20 cowboys who rode in the long round of bareback riding and saddle bronc riding at the Gold Buckle Knockout. Those with the top-four scores in each event advanced to the finals.

“Having this event on the last day of the season was sweet,” Brooks said. “I’m so glad the Cervis had it. It was cool for the guys who were trying to get into (the NFR) and even the guys who were safe. They put out really good horses, and it was a great chance to make some good money at the end of the year and go home on a high note.”

For more coverage of the Gold Buckle Knockout check out the Oct. 2 edition of ProRodeo Sports News.

Courtesy of PRCA

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