Oklahoma cowboy, reality TV star to compete in WRCA world championships in Amarillo
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer
As fans of The Amazing Race know, Oklahoma cowboy Jet McCoy loves a contest.
Not only did the southeastern Oklahoma rancher compete with his brother, Cord, three times on the CBS reality show, he also waged an ultimately unsuccessful race for the state Senate earlier this year. And now, with his team from McCoy Ranch and Beebe Livestock, McCoy will try to become one of the top working cowboys in the country at the World Championship Ranch Rodeo finals in Amarillo.
The 21st annual Working Ranch Cowboys Association's championship action runs Nov. 10 to 13 in the Amarillo Civic Center Complex Coliseum, 401 S. Buchanan St. Tickets are $32, $37 and $42, plus fees. Nov. 11 and 12 performances are sold out, but a limited number of tickets will be available next week when unused tickets reserved for teams will be released. Tickets for Nov. 10 and 13 are available, but are selling fast, said WRCA's Randy Whipple.
"What WRCA is doing is, in a sense, not reinventing rodeo; it's getting back to the roots of what rodeo was all about to start with," McCoy said. "The events you currently see in WRCA, there's almost (always) an event in pro rodeo that's a correlation. ... With the exception of wild cow milking, they've all evolved into a pro-rodeo event.
"(But) with PBR (Professional Bull Riders) and the way the sport has evolved, a lot of guys who don't have a ranching background just start out in rodeo," said McCord, a retired professional rodeo cowboy who grew up on a ranch near Tupelo, Okla. "That's one of the neat things about the ranch rodeo circuit and the way that it has taken off. For lack of a better word, it's a renaissance of rodeo."
WRCA competitions feature teams of working cowboys battling in competitions mimicking everyday challenges on the range, like breaking horses, roping cattle and more.
"This is a way for me to continue to compete and use the (rodeo) skills I have on that stage," McCoy said. "Once you get that competitive edge, you don't ever really get rid of it. It never goes away."
He's been that way since childhood.
"I went to my first junior rodeo when I was 5, and I just never quit," said McCoy, 37. "I'm a very competitive person, and being a slow 5-foot-6, 5-foot-7-maybe-with-my-boots-on guy, basketball was out of the question. ... Being a competitive-type person and growing up in a rodeo family, I really can't imagine not rodeoing."
For his team's first WRCA finals, McCoy personally will compete in all but bronc riding, which he'll leave to a couple of younger cowboys on his team.
"I love my team because all the guys ... just want to do what's best for the team," he said.
They've competed together for almost five years and will face off against 23 other teams who have accumulated enough points at WRCA-sanctioned rodeos across the country to compete in the finals, including three returning champions: Lonesome Pine Ranch of Kansas, the reigning champ; Sandhill Cattle Co., of Earth, which won in 2004, 2007 and 2013; and Jolly Ranch and Lord Ranches of Colorado, which won in 2014.
"These teams exemplify the amazing skills of the working cowboy and promote the absolute best in animal husbandry," Whipple said in a news release.
The WRCA schedule includes a kickoff party, featuring a concert by Ned LeDoux, at 6 p.m. Wednesday; a trade show, a ranch expo, junior ranch rodeo competitions and more daily; and competitions beginning at 7 p.m. nightly. For a full schedule, click here.