Haven Meged will be put down in history as the new NFR tie-down arena record holder following a blistering 6.4-second run during Round 7 on Dec. 13, 2023.
With the run, Meged broke the arena record of 6.5 seconds that was previously held by Trevor Brazile, Cody Ohl and Shad Mayfield.
“A 6.4 arena record is a dream come true,” Meged, 25, said. “So many legends have roped in this building, so just to back in the box is a blessing, much less being etched next to Cody Ohl and Trevor Brazile—two greats I’ve looked up to my whole life.”
Meged did it on a calf Mayfield went 6.9 on to win Round 3. After consulting with Joe Beaver, Meged decided to hit the barrier hard and try to win the round.
“It was a blur, honestly,” Meged said. “I hit the barrier and she was right there. I got to her head really fast and it all worked out. I knew I could be a 6 on her, but I didn’t think it would be 6.4.”
Meged was pushing the limits in his quest to make up ground on No. 1 in the world Riley Webb, who currently boasts $376,086 in earnings, leading Meged by $66,847. Meged currently leads the average with a time of 53.20 on seven head, but Webb is right behind him with 55.70.
“When I came to Vegas I knew I had a long way to go to catch Riley,” Meged said. “I knew I couldn’t be safe [and play the average game], because being safe against the 14 other best guys in the world, you’re not going to win much.”
In a strange twist of events, Mayfield backed into the box moments after Meged and roped his calf in 6.1 seconds. The audience—already electrified by Meged’s run—erupted leading Mayfield’s calf to struggle to get up before the 6 seconds passed.
“I was shocked when Shad went. I thought ‘That [record] didn’t last 10 seconds,’” Meged recounted. “It was a really tough round and great to be there in person.”
The green calf horse ‘Lil Punch’
“Lil Punch” is a 6-year-old gelding sired by standout cutting sire Kit Kat Sugar. He was trained as a breakaway horse by Meged’s wife Shelby, who just won the 2023 NFBR. He had only ridden Lil Punch—registered as For Goodness Shakes—in a few tie-down jackpots before making the trip to Vegas.
“I was stupid for not riding him in the first round,” Meged said. “I wanted to try my bay, “Smoke” and, when he wasn’t as good, Shelby said, ‘I told you so.’ Lil Punch is so green that I was scared but, I knew if I was going to have a chance at a world title, I had to start roping and being fast.”
Meged credited both the gelding and Shelby for the 6.4-second moment.
“I was so emotional after I got back on to [do the victory lap], I almost cried,” Meged said. “A lot of ropers have tried to do that, so to be up there with Cody Ohl and Trevor Brazile is a dream come true.”
Meged’s plan for the final three NFR go-rounds is to “make as much money as possible.” He acknowledged Webb’s roping prowess and said the world title will come down to the calves, although he’s going to do everything in his power to turn the tides in his favor.
— CalfRoping.com —
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