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Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo

Shane Erickson puts on a record-breaking show in Oklahoma City.

Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo
April 9, 2013

Shane Erickson wins the 2013 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo

Shane Erickson also earned third-place money in the tie-down roping at the 2013 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. (PRCA ProRodeo photo by James Phifer)

Shane Erickson showed up at the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo as a bit of an unknown quantity. That’s no longer the case.

The Columbia River Circuit cowboy stood tall when the spotlight shined brightest and walked off with all-around honors, the team roping title (with Jade Corkill) and a prize money total of $25,502 that broke both the RNCFR all-around and overall records.

It was nearly a $3,000 improvement on the overall record of $22,598, set by J.W. Harris in the 2009 bull riding competition.

“It’s been a great week, kind of a dream come true, especially to win as much as I did,” said the soft-spoken, 32-year-old Erickson. “A lot of people don’t really know me, so I wanted to do well here this week.”

Erickson also earned third-place money in the tie-down roping while impressing fans and announcers with his skill and professionalism in both events. That didn’t change Erickson’s humble demeanor, though.

“I had the best heeler in the world,” he said, “so I just had to do my job.”

Corkill, the reigning world champion heeler, was competing at the RNCFR for the first time. It was also the first time he’d roped with Erickson, who was making his sixth RNCFR appearance.

“Shane ropes really good, so I didn’t have to change anything,” Corkill said. “We improved each round – we had our best time in the semifinals (5.0 seconds) – and got to go last in the final round, which is a big advantage, especially when two guys missed in front of us.”

Champions in the seven events each earned $5,484 in the final round, except for bareback rider Bobby Mote of the Columbia River Circuit, who split first- and second-place money with Jared Keylon of the Prairie Circuit. Mote was the first champion crowned after a sensational re-ride that scored 87 points to tie Keylon. Mote was declared the winner because he had a higher score in the semifinals, which is the first tiebreaker.

It was the second time in three years that Mote had won the RNCFR in that fashion. He tied with Kaycee Field in the 2011 final, but claimed the title by winning the semifinal round, just as he did this time around.

Every event champion also received a $20,000 voucher to use toward the purchase of a new Ram truck.

Bull riding champion John Young – who pocketed $17,962 for the week – was the only cowboy to ride three bulls during the competition. The Great Lakes Circuit’s rising star watched his three competitors in the finals get bucked off before he climbed in the chute. Young, a 19-year-old sophomore at Iowa Central Community College in Fort Dodge, stayed aboard to claim the victory.

“This is, for sure, the most excited I’ve ever been,” Young said. “I can’t even tell you how excited I am.”

Young, who is rodeoing on his PRCA permit, has aspirations of qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014, and someday earning the title of world champion. But first, he has a different task immediately on the horizon.

“I’ve got to go to school all week,” he said.

No such problem for steer wrestling champion Ethen Thouvenell of the California Circuit, although he probably needed to win at the RNCFR more than anybody.

“I was going home to get a job, because I was dead broke,” he said with a big smile. “This is a big relief. I can pay my bills now.”

Thouvenell had a lightning-quick run of 3.5 seconds in the finals to earn the championship. He had earlier broken the RNCFR record with a 3.2-second run in the second round; it was a tenth of a second quicker than Stockton Graves managed in 2011.

Matt Shiozawa of the Wilderness Circuit claimed the tie-down roping title in 9.0 seconds. He’s now the first three-time winner of the RNCFR in that event and the first tie-down roper to win back-to-back titles in the RNCFR since D.R. Daniel of the Southeastern Circuit (1987-88).

“I love this rodeo, this tournament style,” he said.

Curtis Garton of the Southeastern Circuit – by way of Kaitaia, New Zealand – took saddle bronc riding honors with 86 points in the finals.

“I am stoked,” he said. “This is one of the biggest rodeos in the nation, right after the (Wrangler) NFR.”

Defending barrel racing champion Brittany Pozzi of the Texas Circuit was a repeat winner with a 15.35-second run, after also recording the fastest semifinal time of 15.48. She’s also a two-time world champion.

The Texas Circuit topped the RNCFR team standings ($81,545) – its 11th win in the event’s 27 years – followed by the Columbia River Circuit ($73,696), Wilderness Circuit ($66,132), Turquoise Circuit ($65,446) and Prairie Circuit ($52,992).