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Hanchey thrilled to be part of Champions Challenge history

Shane Hanchey Champions ChallengeREDDING, Calif. – Shane Hanchey is only 23 years old, but looked far into the future after winning the tie-down roping at the inaugural Wrangler Champions Challenge on May 18.

“When I’m old and in my rocking chair, I can tell my grandchildren I won the first Champions Challenge,” Hanchey said with a smile. “This is a big event and it’s an honor to win against all the great people that were here tonight.”

Hanchey was the 2009 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Resistol Tie-Down Roping Rookie of the Year and has already pocketed more than $500,000 in his short career. Bright and thoughtful, he has high hopes for the future of rodeo and thinks the Wrangler Champions Challenge is the way to get there.

“We want to be as big as the professional sports we watch on TV,” said Hanchey, who enthusiastically watches football, basketball and baseball whenever possible. “We know our (rodeo) fan base can grow, and the Champions Challenge is a step in the right direction.”

Hanchey preached patience, and said he liked the PRCA’s plan to have sponsors for teams of cowboys in the future.

“We need the right sponsors and the right teams,” Hanchey said. “Rome wasn’t built in a day, but this is a great beginning.”

Each event in the Wrangler Champions Challenge pitted 10 of the top performers in the world in a one-head competition. Those who qualified were the top seven from the 2012 world standings and the rodeo’s defending champions, along with the world standings leader and Million Dollar Tour standings leader as of 30 days prior to the event.

Hanchey was the eighth of 10 cowboys to compete in tie-down roping. Tuf Cooper – his good friend since the age of 12 – was the event leader at 8.4 seconds. Hanchey was clocked in 8.3 seconds and it held up for the victory.

“I knew I had a great calf and just had to take advantage of it,” he said.

Hanchey qualified the last three years for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and finished fifth in the 2012 world standings. His previous highlight of 2013 was winning the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver, Colo.

Three more Wrangler Champions Challenge events are scheduled this year: Sept. 18 in Amarillo, Texas; Oct. 5 in Kissimmee,Fla.; and Oct. 31 in Winnie, Texas.

Hanchey said he’d love to win again in Amarillo.

“This is the best against the best, so you never know whose day it’ll be,” he said. “I know it’d be great to win it again.”

The other inaugural Wrangler Champions Challenge winners were bareback rider Will Lowe (86 points), steer wrestler Bray Armes (4.4 seconds), team ropers Spencer Mitchell and Dugan Kelly (4.9 seconds), saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss (87.5 points), bull rider Cole Echols (90 points) and barrel racer Mary Walker (17.10 seconds)

Wrangler Champions Challenge

Redding, Calif., May 18

Bareback riding: 1. Will Lowe, 86 points on Burch Rodeo Company’s Friendly Fire, $4,000; 2. Justin McDaniel, 85, $3,000; 3. (tie) Caleb Bennett and J.R. Vezain, 84.5, $1,500 each.

Steer wrestling: 1. Bray Armes, 4.4 seconds, $4,000; 2. Jason Miller, 4.7, $3,000; 3. Casey Martin, 4.8, $2,000; 4. Straws Milan, 4.9, $1,000.

Team roping: 1. Spencer Mitchell/Dugan Kelly, 4.9 seconds, $4,000 each; 2. Keven Daniel/Chase Tryan, 5.1, $3,000; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Travis Graves, 5.3, $2,000; 4. Luke Brown/Martin Lucero, 5.5, $1,000.

Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody DeMoss, 87.5 points on Burch Rodeo Company’s Little Jean Jacket, $4,000; 2. Wade Sundell, 86, $3,000; 3. Jesse Wright, 83, $2,000; 4. Sterling Crawley, 80, $1,000.

Tie-down roping: 1. Shane Hanchey, 8.3 seconds, $4,000; 2. Tuf Cooper, 8.4, $3,000; 3. Clint Robinson, 8.6, $2,000; 4. Bradley Bynum, 8.8, $1,000.

Barrel racing: 1. Mary Walker, 17.10 seconds, $4,000; 2. Christy Loflin, 17.15, $3,000; 3. Natalie Foutch, 17.22, $2,000; 4. Danna Stovner, 17.41, $1,000.

Bull riding: 1. Cole Echols, 90 points on Growney Brothers' What A Ball, $4,000; 2. Trevor Kastner, 83, $3,000; no other qualified rides.

Total payoff: $80,000. Stock contractor: Growney Brothers. Sub-contractors: Burch Rodeo Company, Corey & Lange Rodeo, Flying Diamond Rodeo Company and Four Star Rodeo Company. Rodeo secretary: Haley Schneeberger. Officials: Steve Knowles, Harry Rose and Terry Carlon. Timers: Diana Alexander and Sherry Rice Gibson. Announcers: Wayne Brooks and Will Rasmussen. Specialty acts: Riata Ranch Cowboy Girls and CrAsh Cooper. Bullfighters: Eric Layton and Tim O’Connor.Clown/barrelman: CrAsh Cooper. Flankmen: Chad Burch, Jeff Davis, Don Kish and Tim Bridwell. Chute boss: Ted Groene.Pickup men: Bobby Marriott and Matt Twitchell. Photographers: Larry Smith and Bob Click.

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