McCrae Fillmore and Swade Olsen made the most of their first trip here to compete in the Junior World Finals open team roping competition. The two Utah cowboys had a businessman-like 6.9-second run Thursday in the short go-round to win the average title with a five-run time of 37.80 seconds.
“Before we went in there we wanted to make about a six-second run and see if we could win the average,” Fillmore said. “We knew if we stopped the clock we’d at least get a check.”
They also got buckles, saddle bags and other goodies to take back to Utah.
The two 17-year-old team ropers were consistent throughout the week, with only one bobble in the fourth go when Olsen caught just one leg. That 12.6-second run was still good enough to finish seventh in the round. They also placed third in the first go with a 5.6, fourth in the second go with a 6.0 and fifth in the third go with a 6.7.
“Our game plan on our first steer was to just make sure we got it down,” Fillmore admitted. “And after we got him down we just wanted to make sure we caught all the rest of them and see what happened.”
Added Olsen: “After we were winning the average on the first two steers I thought we had a shot to win because we were set up nice.”
Their average time of 37.80 seconds was just enough to hold off overall world champs Kelvin Medeiros of Hawaii and Tucker Donlon of California, who tied for the short go win with a 4.7 and finished second in the average with a 38.00. Rawley Ben Jr. of Peridot, Arizona, and Michael Calmelat of Tucson, Arizona, also had a 4.7 in the short go.
Fillmore estimates he and Olsen, who live just 30 miles away from each other, have been roping together “about three or four years.” They didn’t know much about the Junior World Finals until they attended a qualifier in early October.
“We went to a roping and it only had five teams,” Fillmore explained. “We qualified on a leg and a clean run and we only had to rope two steers.”
When they found out they had qualified for this year’s JWF, there was no hesitation what they were going to be doing in early December.
“As soon as we won the qualifier we knew we were going to come here,” Olsen said. “This is the first time here for us and it’s been quite an experience.”
Thursday On The Ground
While the open division was wrapping things up, the #9.5 division held its first two rounds Thursday.
Braxton Smith of Flint, Texas, and Kutter Babb of Hobbs, New Mexico, and Alberta, Canada cowboys Carter Wilson and Elliot Penner tied for the first go win with 6.6-second runs.
In steer wrestling, Colton Wilson of Bertram, Texas, won the third go with a 4.1 and Tyler Bauerle of Jourdanton, Texas, leads the average with a three-run time of 13.1 seconds. Three-time champion Cash Robb of Altamont, Utah, sits third with a 15.4.
Two Florida cowboys won the first two go-rounds of the 15-and-under tie-down roping, with a Texas cowboy leading the average. Cross Fulford of Moore Haven won the first go with an 8.40, Brodey Clemons of Lake Placid won the second go with a 7.94 and Ace Reese of Aquilla has a two-run time of 17.53 seconds to lead the average.
Adriene Steffen of Sisters, Oregon, added a second go-round win in the Kelly Kaminski Run for Vegas senior barrel racing with a 14.533-second run and holds down the top spot in the average with a two-run time of 29.071.
KK Run for Vegas pole bending first go winner leads the second go with a 20.485 and the average with a 41.004.