SAN ANTONIO, Texas Steer wrestler Ronnie Fields entered the AT&T Center on Sunday afternoon in San Antonio with more than a two-second lead over the steer wrestling field and following his run, he stretched that margin of victory to four seconds.
Fields (Oklahoma City, Okla.) not only won the average in a sizzling time of 17.1 seconds on four head, but he tied the arena record with a 3.4-second run in the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour round. The arena record of 3.4 seconds was set in 2004 by Canadian Curtis Cassidy and then tied in the second round of the 2006 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo by reigning world champion Lee Graves.
"That steer was good," said Fields following his run. "Lee Graves had him the other day and he was 3.4 on him, so I knew I could be fast."
Fields was riding a horse owned by his former traveling partner Dale Yerigan, because his normal horse, Zan owned by Fields' now traveling partner Rodney Burks, was on his way to Tucson, Ariz., for the next rodeo.
For some, having such a big lead like Fields did in the average might cause them to feel more pressure, but not for this Oklahoma cowboy, who added $10,597 to his bottom line.
"I didn't feel any pressure at all," Fields said. "I guess that is what I have learned through the years, that you don't worry about where you are at in the average, you just do what you can on what you draw and let the chips fall where they may. Today they fell in my favor."
The San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo marked the fourth stop on the 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Winter Tour. Contestants not only compete for money at the Tour rodeos, but for valuable Tour points that qualify them for the Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-out upon the conclusion of the Winter Tour.
The Pace Chute-out will be held May 13-14 in Tulsa, Okla. All 12 stops on the Winter Tour will be televised on Fox Sports Network. Check local listings for times in your area.
Bareback riders J.D. Garrett Jr. and Silas Richards added their name to the San Antonio record books after tying the arena record with 88-point rides. Garrett (Grandview, Texas) rode Calgary Stampede's standout Grated Coconut, while Richards (Azle, Texas) climbed aboard Kesler Championship's Alley Trails. The 88-point record was first set just last year during the Wrangler Tour round when Royce Ford rode Calgary Stampede's French Wake.
Garrett, 26, parlayed the Tour round victory with an average title as well. He finished with 334 points on four head and picked up checks worth $10,691. Garrett, who has been out of rodeo for two years, returned to the arena physically and mentally ready for 2006.
"I needed the break," Garrett said. "I was getting hurt a lot and now, I am back healthy and mentally focused for rodeo again. It feels so good to be back.
I won this rodeo once before, and that was the time I went to the Finals (2002). So it is great to get a big win like this. Hopefully I can make the finals again this year and it starts right here."
2005 Wrangler NFR bull riding qualifier Wesley Silcox was the fourth cowboy on Sunday to tie an arena record. Silcox (Payson, Utah) did so with a 92-point ride on Cervi and Guidry's Hot Damn. He tied B.J. Schumacher's mark that was set in 2005 aboard Guidry's XS Energy. Silcox finished atop the leaderboard in the average race as well with 343 points on two head and a rodeo best $16,178.
"It was a little tougher than I was expecting," said Silcox of his ride aboard Hot Damn. "I have seen that bull probably 25 times and a couple of my buddies have been on him. All the guys I talked to said he feels good.
"He was a little tougher than I expected, but I wouldn't mind drawing him again. The best bull riders were here so to ride against them and win is quite an accomplishment."
Silcox and Jarrod Craig were the only two bull riders to make the eight-second whistle in San Antonio. Craig (Hillsboro, Texas) finished with a total of 318 points on four head.
Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard collected their biggest PRCA victory together as partners. Sherwood (Queen Creek, Ariz.) and Woodard (Stockton, Calif.) stopped the U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company scoreboard clock in 4.9 seconds to win the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour round moving them to the top spot in the average. They finished with a total time of 23.3 seconds on three head and pocketed $8,420 each.
Joining Silcox in the winner's circle was fellow Utah cowboy Rusty Allen, who finished in a three-way tie for the Wrangler Tour round victory, but won the average title in the saddle bronc riding. Allen (Lehi) rode Calgary Stampede's John Wayne for 82 points. Others that posted 82-point rides in the Tour round were Chad Ferley aboard Kesler Championship's Toll Free and J.J. Elshere on Kesler Rodeo's Coffee Break.
Allen, who's sister Andrea Jones won the barrel racing two weeks ago in Rapid City, S.D., captured the average title with 331 points on four head. Finishing just behind Allen in the average race was Cody Wright. Wright (Milford, Utah) finished with 323 points on four head.
"I have waited nine years for a buckle from San Antonio, so to finally do it feels great," Allen said. "This was just one of the rodeos I have always wanted to win. I hadn't had very good luck here in the past, but they ran four outstanding horses under me here and I was able to use them to get the win."
Idaho's Matt Shiozawa took home the tie-down roping Tour round and average titles from San Antonio. Shiozawa (Chubbuck) turned in an eight-second run on Sunday to finish with 37.8 seconds on four head. Shiozawa left Texas for Arizona $9,631 richer and a ton of momentum.
Two-time world champion barrel racer Sherry Cervi has been a mainstay on the 2006 Wrangler ProRodeo Tour, but it wasn't until Sunday that she won the Tour round. Cervi (Marana, Ariz.) has competed in three of the four Tour rounds this year, but it was her run in San Antonio where she picked up the most points. She stopped the clock in 14.64 seconds to collect 12 valuable Tour points.
"It feels really good to get the win," Cervi said. "It will help me get to the Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-out in Tulsa. My goal isn't so much to win a third straight Finale title, as much as just, getting back and having a chance to run for the money."
Winning the average title in the barrel racing was Chani Payne (Sulphur Springs, Texas) and Deb Renger (Okotoks, Alberta). They both finished with a total time of 59.10 seconds on four runs. Payne won $10,976, marking her biggest career victory, Renger won $10,590.
The next Wrangler ProRodeo Tour stops will be the San Angelo Stock Show & Rodeo on Feb. 25 in San Angelo, Texas, and La Fiesta de los Vaqueros on Feb. 26 in Tucson, Ariz.