By Joe Naiman
Ramona’s Marcus Battaglia and his team roping partner reached the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo progressive round finals.
Battaglia and Kyle Lockett of Visalia won $2,057 each during the April 4-6 rodeo in Oklahoma City. Battaglia was the header and Lockett was the heeler.
“It was just a great experience,” said Battaglia. “A lot of roping and a lot of pressure every round. Pretty happy to make the top four first time going.”
The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association has 12 circuits. The year-end champion for each circuit and the average (aggregate) winner at the circuit finals qualify for the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo. Battaglia and Lockett won the average at the California Circuit Finals Oct. 19-21 in Lancaster.
Battaglia and Lockett were hoping for a clean run in the first go-round April 4.
“That’s what we did,” Battaglia said.
The time of 6.0 seconds also earned them the sixth and final payout position, resulting in $686 for each.
A time of 9.8 seconds on their second run the morning of April 6 didn’t place, giving Battaglia and Lockett a two-head average of 15.8 seconds.
“After that we had to sweat about seven teams to see if we made it into the top eight,” Battaglia said.
Their average placed them seventh. The Texans on the final semifinal qualifying team had an average of 16.0 seconds while the Missouri cowboys who placed ninth had a time of 16.7 seconds.
The semifinal round was held the evening of April 6. Battaglia and Lockett were the second team to make their run and had a time of 5.3 seconds. The California cowboys then had to find out if their time would hold up for entry into the finals.
“There were good teams that kind of made a few mistakes to help us get in,” Battaglia said.
The semifinal round ended with Battaglia and Lockett in fourth place. The Arizona team ropers who placed fifth had a time of 9.9 seconds. Battaglia and Lockett earned $1,371 for their semifinal position.
The final round was also that evening.
Battaglia and Lockett were the first team to compete.
“I told myself I had to take my first shot,” Battaglia said. “You never know what’s going to happen.”
That resulted in a miss.
“It didn’t work out,” Battaglia said.
Battaglia, who rode Cocky, will spend this weekend at the Clark County Fair and Rodeo in Logandale, Nev.