BELTON — Jimmy Lee Caldwell knows a thing or two about contact sports.
The Arizona native not only played middle linebacker for the Arizona Wildcats for four seasons, but he was also a four-time state champion in wrestling while in high school.
The experience of taking a beating showed Saturday night at the 89th Annual Fourth of July PRCA Rodeo held at the Bell County Expo Center, as Caldwell wrestled his steer to the ground in 5.2 seconds, more than two seconds faster than the 7.8 put up by Heath Thomas on Friday.
“Being one of the last guys out let’s me see what I need to win,” said Caldwell. “I didn’t need to finish in the 3’s to win the money so I went out and put in a workmanlike run — just had to go out and not beat myself.”
The blue-collar run is one of many that Caldwell has put forth since he transitioned from team roping to wrestling steers just a couple years ago.
He started believing he could compete in the event during practice runs and while messing around with his friends in the arena. He said they always told him his size was perfect for it and one day he gave it a shot — and loved it.
“I’m fourth-generation rodeo, so it’s in my blood,” he said. “Now I just got to keep on trucking down the road.”
In the other events, Steven Anding earned first place in bareback with an 84 on Friday — only Winnie’s Matt Crumpler approached Anding with a 78 Saturday night to finish second in the event.
In bull riding, Wesley Chisolm’s day two score of 75 was pummeled by 19-year old Sage Steele Kimzey. The Strong City, Okla., native scored an 88 on the back of Paparazzi to earn first prize in the event.
Travis Edward’s opening day 79 in saddle bronc fell to Wyatt Barstow. The Springview, Neb., native rode Angel Fire to a score of 82 to take first in the event.
Cuero’s Rowdy Haferkamp broke a three-way tie for first place in tie-down roping with a time of 7.5 seconds, beating out Chad Kolbe, Clint Akins and J.D. McCuistion, who all had a time of 8.8 seconds.
In team roping, Huntsville’s Jake Orman and Corey Hendrick roped their calf in 5.3 seconds to finish at the top of the leaderboard, while Abilene native Lizzy Ehr completed barrel racing in 16.32 seconds for the win.