Tiebreaking rules deny Deskovick All-American championship

By Joe Naiman

Matt Deskovick shared the best steer wrestling time in the final round of the All American ProRodeo Series finals but was denied the championship due to the rodeo’s tiebreaking rules.

“I won it, but I didn’t win it,” the Ramona resident said. “I just felt like something was taken from me.”

The rules for the All American ProRodeo Series finals stipulate that there is no co-championship if more than one cowboy ties for the best time in the final round and that there is not a final tiebreaking run. According to the rules the champion is the cowboy who had the better time in the previous round. That gave Riley Duvall of Checotah, Okla., the championship.

“I kind of feel a little cheated that I didn’t have an opportunity to truly win it or lose it,” Deskovick said.

The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) created the All American ProRodeo Series to provide part-time cowboys such as Deskovick with the opportunity for a relatively high-paying finals and to boost participation at the smaller rodeos which aren’t as prestigious as the higher-paying PRCA rodeos but which are crucial to the PRCA’s developmental needs.

The 30 cowboys with the top All American ProRodeo Series earnings in each event qualify for the series finals in Waco, Texas. Deskovick’s $13,051 in earnings placed him 22nd among steer wrestlers.

“It’s unlike any rodeo I’ve ever been to, and it’s set up extremely different,” Deskovick said. “Every go-round at Waco is a whole new go-round. There’s no average.”

The 30 cowboys were into three groups of 10. Ten cowboys competed Oct. 7-8, 10 more including Deskovick competed Oct. 9-10, and the remaining 10 competed Oct. 11-12. Payouts were given to the top four positions in each of the two go-rounds, but it was combined money within each group rather than combined times that determined who advanced to the progressive round.

The top four earners from each group advanced to the progressive round. Deskovick’s Oct. 9 run required 4.9 seconds to give him a third-place payout of $1,236 while his Oct. 10 time of 5.5 seconds earned $618 for fourth place. The $1,854 put him second in his group, behind the only other cowboy to place in both rounds, and made him one of 12 steer wrestlers who earned entry into the Oct. 13 progressive round.

Some of that payout was shared. The cowboy traditionally provides 25 percent of earnings to the hazer who guides the steer and if he borrows another cowboy’s horse the horse owner also receives 25 percent. Tooter Silver of Quitman, Ark., let Deskovick use his horse during the first two rounds, and Sean Mulligan of Coleman, Okla., was Deskovick’s hazer.

Silver did not reach the progressive round and returned home, which meant that Duvall and Deskovick both rode the horse owned by Tom Duvall for the ensuring rounds. Sam Duvall was Deskovick’s hazer for the final four rounds.

Riley Duvall is Sam Duvall’s son and Tom Duvall is Sam Duvall’s cousin (three-time world champion Roy Duvall is Riley Duvall’s great-uncle).

The progressive round eliminated two of the 12 cowboys. Deskovick did not place but had a fast enough time to avoid elimination.

The 10 remaining cowboys competed in the Oct. 14 semifinals, where Deskovick’s time of 4.4 seconds placed second to earn $1,854.

The top eight cowboys returned for the Oct. 15 semifinals. Deskovick’s time of 4.5 split fourth, fifth and sixth place with Ryan Swayze of Freedom, Okla., and Nick Guy of Sparta, Wisconsin. The position gave Deskovick, Swayze and Guy $250 apiece.

The top four cowboys in the semifinals competed in the finals during the same performance, and in the semifinals the tiebreaking rule worked in Deskovick’s favor. Swayze had split third and fourth in the previous performance while Guy did not place in the quarterfinals. Duvall split second and third in the semifinals with Beau Clark of Bokchito, Okla.

Deskovick was the first of the four cowboys to make his run in the finals. He posted a time of 3.9 seconds.

“I thought I was OK,” he said. “Didn’t feel confident that I was fast enough to win for sure.”

A run of 4.1 seconds was followed by Duvall’s time of 3.9 seconds, and a 4.2-second run closed out the finals.

“I wish I was a 10th of a second faster on my last one,” Deskovick said. “Wish it had ended differently than it did. I wish I had either beaten him or he had beaten me.”

The finals paid the top two positions, so Deskovick still earned $6,250 for splitting first and second. That gave him a total of $10,208 for the rodeo.

“It’s hard to believe that I could win as much as I did,” he said. “I won more money than I’ve ever won at any rodeo.”

Deskovick’s wife and two children also made the trip from Ramona and watched Deskovick compete.

He would like to return to the All-American series finals.

“I liked it,” he said. “I think possibly I’ll try to make it again next year.”

   
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