RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo
Josh Peek makes RNCFR history by winning in back-to-back years, first tie-down roping, then steer wrestling.
March 29, 2015
When Josh Peek was asked what he was going to do next after winning the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo he said – what else? – that he was taking his family to Disney World in neighboring Orlando. Of course they were going there anyway. It's been planned for weeks. But it's nice to make the trip when you have a newly-issued check for $18,171 in your pocket and knowing you've just gone and done something historic.
Peek, of Pueblo, Colorado, won the RNCFR steer wrestling title Saturday night with a time of 4.8 seconds, earning a buckle that will go in the trophy case as a nice companion piece to the RNCFR tie-down roping bauble he won a year ago at the 2014 RNCFR in Guthrie, Oklahoma. It's an achievement matched only by Ty Murray, who won the National Circuit Finals saddle bronc riding in 1993 and came back to Pocatello, Idaho, the following year to win the bull riding.
"This is a complete blessing," Peek said. "To win RNCFR titles in back-to-back years, in different events ... that's just amazing. You couldn't write a better outcome than that."
Just sixth in the two-head average, Peek found another gear in the final performance of this $749,316 rodeo. He won the semifinal round in 4.1 seconds and then won the finals in 4.8 seconds as the last man out of the box.
It was deceptively tricky ground, because Eli Lord and Aaron Vosler already had no-times and defending RNCFR champion Kyle Irwin was on the board with a 13.9 (including a 10-second broken barrier) and, as Peek said, "sometimes it's easier to be under 3.9 than it is to be under 13.9. You want to make a solid, businessman's run and just not make any stupid mistakes by being too careful."
Ironically, Peek didn't earn a dime in his tie-down roping title defense, but that $18,171 in the steer wrestling easily gave him the all-around title over the only other multi-event contender, Zach Kilgus.
Peek wasn't alone in the history-making realm on Saturday night, as AQHA member Marty Yates continued a weekend-long assault on the RNCFR tie-down roping record with a run of 6.9 seconds to win the finals over Jerome Schneeberger by seven-tenths of a second. Schneeberger had started the run on Friday night when he tied Matt Shiozawa's record of 7.3 seconds (2008, 2010). Jesse Clark dropped the mark to 7.2 during the Saturday matinee performance, and Yates then blew it away in the four-man round.
The other champions at the Silver Spurs Arena were bareback rider Steven Peebles (88 points on Korkow Rodeos' Flaxey Lady), team ropers Drew Horner and Buddy Hawkins II (4.6 seconds), saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss (87 points on Stace Smith Pro Rodeo's Goin South), barrel racer Carmel Wright (16.42 seconds) and bull rider Joe Frost (72 points on Rafter H Rodeo Livestock's Double Play).
Peebles' win in the bareback riding gave the Columbia River Circuit five wins in that event in the last six years and fellow Oregonian Austin Foss gave the circuit a 1-2 sweep by riding for 86 points.
"The tradition started with Clint Corey and it's awesome to be a part of that with guys like Bobby Mote, Ryan Gray, Brian Bain and Austin," Peebles said. "It's great to have your name on the board next to theirs."
Texas won the team title with $108,557, just edging out the Wilderness Circuit ($104,779), with Montana third ($92,665). It was the second win in three years for Texas and the Lone Star State now has a record 12 titles in the event's 29-year history.
Event winners each received a $20,000 voucher toward the purchase of a new RAM Truck and a Polaris RANGER utility vehicle in addition to their winnings.
Highlights from the RNCFR will be televised on CBS Sports Net; see ProRodeo.com/TV for the telecast schedule.