Jack VanderLans won the steer wrestling event at the Aug. 16-17 Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo in Tehachapi. The Temecula cowboy had a time of 8.5 seconds to take first place at the rodeo.
“It was just an honor to be able to compete there and do well,” VanderLans said.
VanderLans was in the Aug. 16 performance.
“Tehachapi’s a really nice rodeo to go to,” he said.
Part of that pleasantness is the mountain view from the rodeo grounds.
“It’s a really nice location,” VanderLans said.
VanderLans also commended the committee who organized the 56th annual Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo.
“They always do a good job,” he said.
The Tehachapi Mountain Rodeo was VanderLans’ only rodeo that weekend. He competed in both the tie-down roping and the steer wrestling.
“I didn’t have much luck in the tie-down roping,” VanderLans said. “I was just a little too long.”
The number of paying positions is determined by the number of cowboys who compete in an event. Both the steer wrestling and the tie-down roping paid the cowboys with the top four positions. A time of 12.9 seconds gave Atascadero cowboy Wes Lockard fourth place and the final paying position in the tie-down roping.
VanderLans rode Pepsi, who is 15, for the tie-down roping competition. He used Larry, is also 15, for the steer wrestling event.
A steer wrestler has a hazer who guides the steer. Levi Rudd of Chelsea, Oklahoma, was VanderLans’ hazer. Rudd rode Ruger, who is owned by 2001 Temecula Valley High School graduate and current Atascadero resident Clint Cooper. VanderLans also rode Ruger when he hazed for other cowboys, although none of them placed.
The 8.5-second run gave VanderLans the lead.
“I would have liked to have been a little bit faster,” he said.
The arena configuration played a part in VanderLans’ time – and the times of the other steer wrestlers, he said.
“Tehachapi is a big arena and the cattle have a pretty good head start,” VanderLans said.
The first-place time needed to hold up for the remainder of the rodeo. VanderLans was surprised that no other cowboy had a faster time.
“There were some pretty good guys up,” he said.
VanderLans wasn’t thinking about the other cowboys’ times.
“I was just really concerned about my performance, doing the best that I could do,” he said.
The 8.5-second run remained in first place. Castro Valley cowboy Ory James Lemmons had the second-place time of 12.3 seconds.
“I felt like my horse worked really well,” VanderLans said.
First place in the steer wrestling added $1,119 to VanderLans’ season earnings.
Larry had helped VanderLans place fifth at the Aug. 2-4 Santa Barbara Old Spanish Days Stock Horse Show and Rodeo which paid six positions. VanderLans had a time of 7.0 seconds and earnings of $474 at Santa Barbara.
“He’s an asset,” VanderLans said of his horse Larry.
Joe Naiman can be reached by email at email@example.com.