A veteran of the circuit system, Paul David Tierney acquired yet another title when the Chisholm Trail RAM Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo in Duncan, Oklahoma, wrapped up on October 14, 2023: Year-End calf roping champion.
It won’t be Tierney’s first NFR Open appearance next summer. He competed in the circuit’s national championship event back when it was called the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo.
“The first year I went was my first year back when it was in Pocatello,” Tierney, 34, said with a laugh, acknowledging the rodeo left Idaho in 2011, landing in Oklahoma for a couple of years before going to Florida until 2022. “I went to Kissimmee twice, once in the tie-down and once in the heading.”
“It’s always a fun rodeo,” he added. “There’s only 24, 26 guys and plenty of money, so it can make for a nice week.”
Tierney has blazed his own trail in ProRodeo, collecting year-end circuit titles in the Badlands and Prairie Circuits in the team roping and all-around, which incidentally he won again in 2023 with more than $40,000 won across rodeos in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. He’s earned three-quarters of a million dollars in ProRodeo since his rookie year in 2010.
But with all the accolades, Tierney hadn’t won a year-end title in the tie-down roping until this year. He used a huge win in Dodge City in early August to vault ahead of Ryan Jarrett and never surrendered the lead. He added another $4,500 in the waning weeks of the season with a win in Vinita, Oklahoma, and closed the door with a solid outing in Duncan, Oklahoma.
“I had a really good calf in the third go and was able to get a check in that round,” Tierney said. “I’ve had that third round cost me winning the average twice in the past, so it kind of felt good to make a good run and win second in the average.”
Tierney sealed the win with that 8.1-second run, finishing second in the average at 27.1 on three head. He drove back and forth to his home in Oklahoma City, about three hours roundtrip each day, but the $4,029 won in the tie-down and $2,686 in the team roping with partner Tanner Braden easily covered the expense.
Noting that sometimes entering and drawing right in two events can be “tricky,” Tierney pointed to the Dodge win and a decision made by him and Braden following the Caldwell (Idaho) Night Rodeo in mid-August as catalysts to his first circuit tie-down championship.
“We came home after Caldwell and decided to focus on our circuit rodeos,” he said. Tierney finished 30th in the PRCA RAM World Standings for headers and 44th in the tie-down. “It worked out and I was able to get [the circuit title] done.”
And they called him Macaroni
Tierney also heaped praise on his horse, Macaroni, for her role in the win.
“I bought her as a heel horse and trained her for tie-down and starting using her three or four years ago,” he said. “She sure makes things fun and a lot easier on me. She was great all year long.”
And the name? Thank Tierney’s 5-year-old little girl, Blakley.
“We called her Roanie and my little girl started calling her Macaroni,” he laughed. “It just kind of stuck.”
Blakley is pretty good chute help but isn’t interested in roping herself. At least not yet. Tierney and wife Ashlee also have a son, Beckett, who is 12 and is more into video games than rodeo.
Tierney is gearing up for 2024 with qualifications in the team roping to all the major winter building rodeos. He’ll tie down where he gets in and assess his year following the Texas swing.
“I’ll base off how the winter goes,” he said. “If it’s not good, we’ll stay closer to home and circuit rodeo mostly, go to some of the bigger ones that are close.”
“If it goes good, I’ll be rodeoing come summer.”