SAN ANGELO, Texas – There’s very little bareback rider Tim O’Connell hasn’t accomplished in his career.
The Zwingle, Iowa, cowboy already was a three-time world champion. Now, he owns a share of the bareback riding world record.
O’Connell had a memorable, 94-point ride on Northcott Macza’s Stevie Knicks to win the San Angelo Cinch Chute-Out Rodeo, Saturday.
“I don’t have words for it, truthfully,” said O’Connell, who won world titles in 2016, 2017 and 2018. “You are just in awe. You just tied for the best bareback ride in the history of our sport. Who is going to have words for that? I’m very humbled to be in that group. I’ve dreamed about being 90 in my career, and to accomplish that and now to make a ride six points off perfect and be with those legends, I’m very humbled to have my name in the record book.”
O’Connell shares the world record with Wes Stevenson (Kesler Rodeo’s Cover Girl, Dallas, 2002); Will Lowe (Kesler Rodeo’s Sky Reach, Omaha. Neb., 2003; Ryan Gray (Carr Pro Rodeo’s Grass Dancer, Eagle, Colo., 2009); and Tilden Hooper (Classic Pro Rodeo’s Big Tex, Silver City, N.M., 2010).
O’Connell, who had never been on Stevie Nicks, earned $7,500 for the victory.
“I knew it was going to be big about the fourth jump,” O’Connell said. “Her head disappeared and all of a sudden my feet were flying at my ears and I was getting them back in time and I couldn’t see a thing. She had her head between her legs, and it was as aggressive as a ride that I could make. It was like an explosion underneath me. She’s a little stick of dynamite and she went off. My style of riding tries to mirror the aggressiveness, and we just went at it for eight seconds. I knew it was going to be big, but I didn’t know it was going to be that big. It was crazy.”
O’Connell tried to recall his emotions when he got off the horse after the whistle.
“I’m pretty sure I had my hands in the air, I think I skip-danced a little bit, pounded my chest, I did the whole gladiator scene,” he said. “I was excited, and then when I saw 94 points, it immediately blew my mind. It shocked me. It was an amazing feeling. To make your mark on history, that’s something.”
O’Connell has been red hot since the calendar turned to 2020. He entered the weekend in third place in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $23,545, a little more than $1,000 out of first place. The windfall from San Angelo should help him climb.
Stevie Knicks is no stranger to shining in the spotlight. In 2019, Clayton Biglow tied the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo record with a 93-point ride on her to win Round 10 at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
“You just don’t expect it out of her because she’s small, but she bucks so big,” O’Connell said. “She’s electrifying. She’s an amazing animal.”
Courtesy of PRCA