Jan 24, 2013 5:39 PM by Q2 Sports
ALEXANDRIA, La. - Having completed work on becoming certified as a paramedic and gotten through a spate of injuries - to himself and his horses - that challenged all of his medical expertise, Marshall Leonard seems ready to establish himself on the ProRodeo trail.
Leonard and his new mare, Juin, combined to put down a time of 8.8 seconds on the first run of slack on Jan. 18 and then waited until the following night to find out that it had stood up for the tie-down roping win at the Amicus Club PRCA Rodeo.
The Shongaloo, La., cowboy finished a tenth-of-a-second ahead of Payden Emmett to earn a check for $1,047, which wasn't just his biggest check since buying his card in 2010, but more than all of his previous earnings combined.
Leonard shared the title at the 2009 Springhill (La.) PRCA Rodeo on his permit and earned a check in the average at the 2010 Dixie Nationals in Jackson, Miss., before largely stepping away from PRCA competition the last two seasons.
"I had horse trouble last year and probably only went to four (PRCA) rodeos," Leonard said. "My first horse had EPM (an infection of the central nervous system) and had to have surgery. She came out of it OK, but didn't perform the same. Then my second horse needed an operation for knee problems."
Of course, Leonard had his own knee problems. Leonard underwent surgery on his right knee several years ago and "never let it heal properly." When he re-aggravated the injury last year, he took his own medical advice and cut way back on his schedule, competing mostly in amateur events and jackpots.
The enduring bit of consolation he could take from last year was Juin. He bought the horse from Shawn Poag of Harlton, Texas, last February and worked with her all year to develop a rapport, an understanding of what was expected of her.
"I probably won $20,000 with her at amateur ropings," Leonard said, "and when I finished first in the average at a big roping at the end of October I thought it might be the right time to go hard (in PRCA rodeos). She really surprised me to the point she was ready. She's by far the best I've ever stepped across. Seth Emerson, Jeff Chapman and I are going to try to hit it pretty good this winter."
The other champions at the Rapides Parish Coliseum were bareback rider Ross Coleman (83 points), rookie steer wrestler Brandon Harrison (4.8 seconds), permit team ropers Spencer Griffith and Jacob Griffith (5.8 seconds), saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss (82 points) and bull rider Chandler Bownds (89 points). DeMoss was also the all-around champion, having finished second in the team roping with Rance Gantt.
For Bownds, on the comeback trail after injuries knocked him out of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo last year, it was his second win in as many weeks. He had earlier captured the SandHills Stock Show & Rodeo in Odessa, Texas, with that same score of 89.