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cowboys – the best of the best

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Perhaps the most unique event in professional rodeo, the annual Wrangler Timed Event Championship features 20 of the world’s best cowboys who get into the field by invitation only.  The 2010  event was held last weekend in Guthrie, Oklahoma.

The Lazy E Arena started the event in 1985 as a way to determine the best timed event cowboy.

Most cowboys in professional rodeo specialize in just one event. A few will compete in two or more timed events, but no one competes in all five.

Except at the Timed Event Championship.

Each cowboy will compete in all five timed events in rodeo: tie down roping, steer roping, heading, heeling and steer wrestling.

By the time it has ended Sunday, each cowboy will have roped and bulldogged a a total of 25 head of cattle. The one with the top overall time wins $50,000.

In that first year, the Lazy E Arena invited 30 world-class cowboys to compete for the championship. They enticed them to try events other than their specialty with a $100,000 purse, $20,000 going to the winner.

The first Timed Event Championship was held in just two days, cramming in six performances.

Cowboys competed on 30 head of cattle in two days. Compare that to the National Finals Rodeo where cowboys worked 10 head of cattle in 10 days.

“They were beat up,” Meyers [former Lazy E general manager A.G. Meyers], said of the inaugural 1984 field. “We almost killed the top 30 timed event cowboys in the world.”  The following year, Meyers trimmed the field, the rounds and spread the competition over three days.