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Ora Taton
Photo by Clay Guardipee, Rodeo Ready, LLC
Ora Taton

Ora Taton claims first National Circuit Finals title in steer roping

Matt Naber, PRCA Media Coordinator - July 29, 2020

TORRINGTON, WY – Two days after celebrating his 51st birthday, Faith, SD native Ora Taton became the first cowboy from the Badlands Circuit to win the National Circuit Finals Steer Roping, July 20.

“I never even thought of it, I guess, but being the first of anything is cool,” Taton said. “We have good ropers in the Badlands (Circuit) so we should get there more than we are, but sometimes it doesn’t work that way.”

Taton’s ProRodeo career has gone through some ups and downs since his rookie year in 1987. Some years he didn’t compete, and others he’d win some of ProRodeo’s biggest competitions. Taton is a two-time qualifier for the National Finals Steer Roping (2003-04), winning the average in 2003.

“This (winning the NCFSR) is definitely the pinnacle,” Taton said. “Two wins stand out, the National Finals average in 2003 and Cheyenne (Frontier Days) that year too, and this is right there with them.”

In more recent years, the Rapid City cowboy placed 35th in 2019 in the PRCA | RAM World Standings and 60th in 2018. Before his NCFSR win, Taton was 40th in the 2020 world standings with $4,871.

Taton has placed in the average and made the short round at the NCFSR before and was the runner-up to Rocky Patterson last year.

The top eight in the average of the first six rounds at the NCFSR advance to the semifinals, with the top four from the semis competing in the finals.

“I’ve always been known as roping in the average, and this concept of having to go fast after those six rounds makes this an all-around deal and hard to do because now in the semis and finals you have to be fast,” Taton said.

Although Taton was out of the money for the first six rounds, the NCFSR’s format worked in his favor. Going for 77.6 seconds on five head took him into the semifinals where a third-place run of 13.5 seconds pushed him into the finals alongside Scott Snedecor, Vin Fisher Jr. and Trevor Brazile.

“In the short round, I was the low man on the totem pole and everyone knew it, even I knew it,” Taton said. “But sometimes, the underdog has his day.”

Taton came out on top with a 12.9-second run that was worth a healthy boost in the 2020 world standings. But for Taton, it’s worth more than that.

“The money is always good, that is what we are here for,” Taton said. "But I’d love to make it to the Finals (NFSR), and this might be the chance to do it."

“The whole family is excited,” Taton said. “If we’re steer roping anywhere, that’s good.”

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