International Finals Rodeo Thunders to a Close
Records Are Shattered as IFR 38 Crowns Six First-time World Champions

 


Shawn Minor

Mesa Leavitt


OKLAHOMA CITY, OK – It was a week of upsets and explosive performances. The 38th annual International Finals Rodeo got more thrilling with each round as records broke, front runners choked, and audiences—totaling more than 16,000—cheered. Fans will remember IFR 38 most for the preteen who circled barrels with perfection, the underdog Oklahoma cowboys who rose to unexpected glory, and for Shawn Minor, whose legend and domination of the IFR in recent years continues.

Shawn Minor, 2007 All-Around IFR Champion It was never even close. Minor (Camden, OH) was a lock for All-Around Champion before he packed his suitcase for Oklahoma. A competitor in Bareback Bronc and Saddle Bronc, Minor entered the Finals with $64,007.58 in winnings on the season. The 32-year-old goes back to Ohio with an additional $4,600.70, the World Championship in Saddle Bronc (see below), and his third All-Around championship belt buckle.

Mesa Leavitt, 2007 World Champion, Cowgirl Barrel Racing
Let the record books show that Leavitt, a 12-year-old out of Blue Grass, IA, took every other cowgirl and cowboy at IFR 38 to school this week. Never before has one competitor swept first place in all four rounds on the way to an IFR championship. She spent just 59.961 seconds in competition all week, but it earned Leavitt, who took the championship in IFR 37 and entered the Finals this year leading by over $8,200, an additional $12,500 to finish at $38,040.49 on the season. Mom, Dad, now can we go to Disney World? Also performing well for the week, albeit in a tall shadow, were Jessica and Heather Moore, sisters from New Johnsonville, TN. They took second and third, respectively, in the average to win third and fifth place on the week. Claremore, Oklahoma’s Tiffany Teehee, who dropped out of the Finals after Round Two, underwent an emergency appendectomy Saturday morning and is recovering well.

Steve Brickey, 2007 World Champion, Tie-Down Roping Tahlequah, Oklahoma’s Steve Brickey is arguably the success story of IFR 38. Favored to take the Tie-Down event was Justin Thigpen (Waycross, GA), who enjoyed a lead of over $3,500 at the outset.

Brickey, 21, in his first IFR, entered the Finals in ninth place but took first and second place in two rounds out of four and won the average to earn an additional $7,813 this week and eclipse Thigpen by just $548 and change.

Jordan Wiseman, 2007 World Champion, Steer Wrestling This event was Brian Barefoot’s to win or lose. The North Carolina cowboy led the Finals going in by over $5,000. But in the IFR almost anything can happen and usually does. From a distant third place at the outset, Wiseman, 28, of McAlester, OK, gave solid performances in all four rounds, including two 3.6-second times, to win the average and eclipse Barefoot by just over $250. Twenty-one-year-old Casey McGuire (Vinita, OK), the event’s only qualifying rookie, earned first-place finishes in the final two rounds and took fourth place for the week.

Jared Standridge and Jory Levy, 2007 World Champions, Team Roping Twin brothers A.J. and Kyle Horton (Stigler, OK) entered the Finals in a comfortable lead and were favored to become IFR 38 champions. But disappointing performances by the Hortons all week allowed IFR stalwarts Standridge and Levy (Dennard, AR, and Twin Oaks, OK) to overcome them for the championship. Header Standridge, 25, (Dennard, AR) and heeler Levy, 32, of Twin Oaks, OK, both took third place in the average, and each won by less than $1,400. Among headers, the average winner was Jason Tucker (Charlotte, NC), who began IFR in 13th place and finished in second. The average winner among heelers was Brad Culpepper (Ashburn, GA), whose performances vaulted him from 12th place entering the Finals to a third place finish.

 

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Billy Griffin, 2007 World Champion, Bareback Bronc Riding Griffin (Lee’s Summit, MO) entered the Finals with an almost $3,000 lead over second place Shawn Minor. Strong performances in three of four rounds were enough to carry Griffin, 32, to his first IFR World Championship with a winnings total of over $42,000. Minor tied for second place in the average to earn second place in the Bareback event. The most consistent riding was by Roger Lacasse (Mirabel, QC) who, with successive scores of 80.0, 79.5, 80.5 and 81.0 won the IFR 38 average and returns to Quebec with an extra $9,375 U.S. in his pocket.

Shawn Minor, 2007 World Champion, Saddle Bronc Riding It’s a good thing for Minor that Jet McCoy (Ada, OK) came into the Finals more than $16,000 down from first place. McCoy, 28, turned in superstar performances all week and took first place in three of four rounds. With scores of 79.5, 76.0, 83.0 and 82.5, McCoy won the average and increased his season’s winnings to $22,805.38. But it wasn’t enough to catch up with leaders Tyler West (Center Ridge, AR) and Shawn Minor. Despite lackluster rounds from both cowboys, Minor edged out in front to take World Champion honors from West by a margin of just $487.76, thanks to a fourth place finish in the averages.

Nathan Tull, 2007 World Champion, Bull Riding Tull entered the Finals leading second place Troy Carnes by $4,979 and third place Ryan Dirteater by $7,341. The 28-year-old veteran rider Tull (Shawnee, OK) placed in rounds one and two but followed with two "no scores." Meanwhile, 18-year-old Dirteater (Hulbert, OK) was cashing in. Dirteater’s 85.0 score in Round Four was the best all week and helped win the average for the young cowboy. The mathematics were against him ultimately, however, as Tull held on through the final calculations to beat Dirteater by just $569.29, finishing with $22.322.24 on the season. Dirteater was honored the next day as the IFR’s Rookie of the Year. Carnes (Adrian, MI) finished in a distant third place. Presented this year by Toyota, IFR 38 was held Thursday through Saturday, January 17-19 at the State Fairgrounds Arena in Oklahoma City, OK. Additional headlining sponsors are Riverwind Casino, Kayak Rodeo Series, OG&E, Shorty’s Caboy Hattery, Wrangler, Oklahoma City Convention and Visitors Bureau, Made In Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Lottery, and Love’s Travel Stops and Country Stores. Founded in 1957 and headquartered in Oklahoma City since 1990, the International Professional Rodeo Association sanctions hundreds of rodeos across the U.S. and Canada each year. Only the top 15 competitors in each of the seven standard rodeo events qualify for the IFR. Festivities like the Miss Rodeo USA Pageant broaden the IFR’s appeal and attract even greater audiences. The theme of IFR 38 is "It’s About the Buckle."

 

 

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