December 5-14, 2024

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‘WINNING THIS WOULD BE AWESOME’

Dec 14, 2023

‘WINNING THIS WOULD BE AWESOME’

LAS VEGAS – Jake Holmes knows what it takes to win at the Junior World Finals.

The Mulberry, Kansas, cowboy won a world title in tie-down roping at the JWF three years ago. This year he’s in position to add a steer wrestling title to his growing resume.

Thursday, Holmes won his third consecutive round in the Ote Berry Junior Steer Wrestling 16-and-under division with a 4.4-second run.

“I’m just going through the motions and not making mistakes,” Holmes explained. “One after another … it’s a five-header, so I just need to go out there and throw ‘em all down.”

Jake Holmes walks back toward the box after his 4.4-second run in the Ote Berry Junior Steer Wrestling at the Junior World Finals on Thursday in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jack Nowlin)

That’s just what Holmes has done in the first three rounds at the Wrangler Rodeo Arena. He had a 3.9 in the first round, followed by a 4.5 and the 4.4 to lead the average with a three-run time of 12.8 seconds. Colton Wilson of Bertram, Texas, is second with a 24.9 after breaking the barrier in the second round.

“It helps a lot to know you’re at the top in the first round and everybody is chasing you,” Holmes said. “If you can keep your stance right there at the top it’s a whole lot easier than playing catch-up.”

Holmes will have to play a little bit of catch-up in the open division, where he is second to Cole Pugh of Jasper, Texas. Pugh won the third round with a 3.6 to give him a three-run time of 12.5 seconds.

But with the four-header format of the Ote Berry Junior Steer Wrestling, Holmes knows he can still keep pressure on Pugh and the rest of the field.

“It’s real nice to know that you’ve got four chances for sure, and hopefully five if you make the short go,” he said. “It brings a whole new perspective to it. That way if you don’t do good in the first or second round, you’ve still got a couple rounds to come back and win something.”

Not only did Holmes win a tie-down title at the Junior World Finals, he was the 2021 National Little Britches Rodeo Association tie-down world champ and has found success at the National High School Finals Rodeo, the International Youth Finals and the Junior American.

Jake Holmes and Diesel get ready to make their run in the Ote Berry Junior Steer Wrestling at the Junior World Finals on Thursday in Las Vegas. (Photo by Jack Nowlin)

But adding his name to a list of Junior World Finals bulldogging champs that includes Bridger Anderson, a College National Finals Rodeo champion and a two-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier; Cash Robb, a three-time JWF winner and the PRCA rookie of the year; and Gus Franzen, who finished No. 3 in the rookie of the year standings last year.

“Winning this would be awesome,” Holmes said. “It’s a big stage to be on. It’s a great place to be.”

Fittingly, Holmes credits his horse, Diesel, who is making his debut at the Wrangler Rodeo Arena. The two have been competing together since last January.

“He’s been working great,” Holmes noted. “It took some seasoning and we went through our ups and downs, but he’s spot-on this week and he’s been spot-on for a while.”

Team Roping

Bronc Evans is all over the team roping standings after three rounds.

The Fairview, Missouri, cowboy and header Randon Powledge of Grandview, Texas, lead the #9.5 division with a three-head time of 23.57 seconds.

Evans and heeler Eli Green of Oakdale, California, are third in the average with a time of 12.6 seconds on two head. Evans also heads for Rance Winters of Stephenville, Texas, in the open division and the two are fifth in the average with a 26.88.

Leading the open division with a 16.77 are two Texas cowboys in header Conley Kleinhans of Montague and heeler Brant Cookston of Trinidad. Trigger Hargrove from Gracemont, Oklahoma, and Chase Helton from Merced, California, are second with a 17.59.

Los Osos, California, cowboys Trey White and Colton White are No. 2 in the #9.5 division with a 33.28 and No. 4 in the open division with a 26.45.