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Monty Lewis captures second Rodeo Austin crown

by Matt Naber | Mar 30, 2019

AUSTIN, Texas – The last time tie-down roper Monty Lewis won Rodeo Austin (Texas) he went on to win the 2004 world title. On Saturday, one week before his 38th birthday, the Texas cowboy celebrated his second Austin win since joining the PRCA in 2001. 

“I’m going to be 38 next Saturday, but I guess numbers mean different things to different people,” Lewis said. “Those guys roped really good tonight, and to know that I have a good horse and I can still go toe-to-toe with them is important to me.” 

Lewis finished in a three-way tie for third in the first round with an 8.5-second run and placed sixth in the second round with a 9.4-second run. He saved the best for last, as his fastest run at Rodeo Austin came during the final round. Clocking in at 8.3 seconds, Lewis was more than half a second faster than the other ropers that round. 

“I was fortunate," Lewis said. "I ran a really good calf tonight, and the last night is the most important one." 

His draw for the final round was the same calf with which he won the first round at La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, Ariz., in February. It was also the same calf Caleb Smidt won Round 2 with in Austin. 

“There are always some better than others,” Lewis said. “She doesn’t run a lot and is honest. They’re tricky to score, but if you do your job she will let you win.” 

Lewis credited a lot of his Austin success to his new horse, Jag, a 10-year-old American Quarter Horse that Hunter Herrin leased from Marty Miller in 2018. 

“I hung around the house until July Fourth last year and then went the last 90 days (of the season) to finish him (Jag) off,” Lewis said. "By October, he was 95 percent finished. He’s flawless and phenomenal. Honestly, as far as right now he doesn’t have any weaknesses. He’s the most bombproof horse I’ve had. … Between Marty and Hunter, they did a great job, but it takes a bit to get them (the horses) to this level.” 

Before winning Austin, Lewis was 27th in the ProRodeo Tour Standings with 446.76 points and 49th in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $8,784. 

Less than $16,000 separated Lewis from breaking into the Top 15 before Austin. Now, he’s hot on the trail thanks to the $13,742 he won at Rodeo Austin. 

“It was needed since they added Dallas (The American in Arlington, Texas) and (Rodeo) Houston,” Lewis said. "There are some big hits from those places, and Kissimmee (Fla.) counted and San Antonio was big too. I might not be in the Top 15, but Austin is big, but not as big as the other big ones this winter. I need to do well in California this April and get caught up before the summer. But it (Austin) was an important run for me and got me back in the chase.”

Lewis knows what it takes to make the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, having qualified six times (2004-06, 2009, 2012 and 2015), but this year is different. 

“I was behind, but if you want to make the Finals and a chance to win it all you have to be at Puyallup,” Lewis said. “I did good at Tucson, but everything is wild and nobody knows how things will shake out this year.” 

Lewis won California Rodeo Salinas in 2018 and finished the season 36th in the world standings with $43,200. 

Up next, Lewis is set to compete at the ABC Pro Rodeo in Lubbock, Texas, and then the Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nev. 

“There’s so far to go, but this horse is the kind of horse that you aspire to do good things with,” Lewis said. “He’s the best horse I’ve had since the horse I had then (2004). He’s a weapon. I have to hold up my end, but if I can keep him healthy all year, man, we can do some things.”

Other winners at the $520,948 rodeo were bareback rider Caleb Bennett (87.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Nutrena’s Black Kat); steer wrestler Scott Guenthner (3.6 seconds); team ropers Laramie Allen/Jace Davis (4.6 seconds); saddle bronc rider Stetson Wright (89 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Nutrena’s Tequilla Sheila); barrel racer Emily Miller (14.87 seconds); and bull rider Sage Kimzey (171 points on two head, no qualified rides were made in the final round). 

For more coverage of Rodeo Austin, check out the April 5 edition of ProRodeo Sports News.

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