PENDLETON, Ore. – Chase Williams didn’t lose any sleep the night before he competed in the short round at the Pendleton Round-Up. Not because he wasn’t nervous about entering the finals with the lead – no, it was a matter of all that travel catching up with him.
“I slept real good (Sept. 16) – I was tired because I’ve been all over the place,” he said with a laugh. “I was excited coming into the short round though. Any time you’re high call, you just have to put together a solid run and you’re going to get a good check. I was a little bit nervous, but Brent Lewis came over and told me I didn’t need any luck, and to just go be a cowboy. I was good to go after that.”
The 25-year-old tie-down roper from Stephenville, Texas, won the three-head average with a time of 28.3 seconds. He was second in the second round, and split second in the short go en route to the title.
Williams, who entered the weekend 30th in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings, earned a total of $12,150.
He moved to 23rd in the Sept. 19 standings, but still has quite a bit of ground to make up in the final two weeks of the regular season to make it into the top 15 and qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.
“I think there’s enough time to make a run at it,” Williams said. “I’m at least going to give ’em hell and scare the guys in front of me a little bit. I’m entered in Amarillo (Texas), Stephenville (Texas), Apache (Okla.) and Pasadena (Texas), so I still have four shots left.”
Williams remained calm under pressure Sept. 17, even though he knew it was essentially a must-win.
“I knew that this was my last large bullet, and I had to win really big here to have any chance,” he said. “It’s not the best chance, but it’s better than a lot of guys have. Since July I’ve had a really good couple of months, and it’s helped out my confidence a lot and made me feel a lot better about next year.”
While some ropers have issues navigating the unique grass infield at the Pendleton Round-Up, that wasn’t the case for Williams. He and his mount were familiar with the setup.
“Last year I rode one of Troy Pruitt’s horses, Tank, and was able to make it to the short go, but the calf got up,” Williams said. “I rode the horse again this year, and he worked so good that it felt like we were on dirt. I just roped normal.”
Williams couldn’t stop smiling during his victory lap, which signified the biggest win of his four-year PRCA career.
“This is an amazing feeling; I’ve wanted to win a rodeo like this my whole life,” he said. “It was awesome, and hard to put into words.”
Other winners at the $515,665 rodeo were all-around cowboy Shane Erickson ($3,496 in tie-down roping and team roping), bareback rider Tim O’Connell (172 points on two head), steer wrestler Nick Guy (15.9 seconds on three head), team ropers Ryan Reed and Dalton Pearce (19.5 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Jesse Wright (170.5 points on two head), steer roper Ryan Rochlitz (42.4 seconds on three head), barrel racer Stevi Hillman (59.36 seconds on two runs) and bull rider Sage Kimzey (169.5 points on two head).
Wright is the fourth member of his family to win the Pendleton Round-Up saddle bronc riding title. His twin brother, Jake, won the rodeo in 2013, while older brother Cody took the title in 2010 and younger brother Spencer won it last year.