Hannum finds it good to have a spare

Thursday , March 06, 2014 - 12:38 PM

Dennis Larsen

OGDEN — If Olin Hannum qualifies for his second Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in three years, it will be on his backup horse.

Hannum, of Malad, Idaho, grabbed the go-round lead in steer wrestling Saturday with a 4.7-second run at Ogden Pioneer Stadium.

With slack today and three performances remaining, Hannum — who graduated from Fremont High School — needs to win as much money as possible before the Sept. 30 cutoff date for the 55th annual WNFR.

“I have no idea if it will hold,” said Hannum, of his time. “I don’t know the steers — this is the first time I’ve seen them — and can’t give an educated guess. I need it to hold in there to get a check.”

Hannum, who leads the Wilderness Circuit with $11,370, is No. 39 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings ($17,702).

Only the top 15 bulldoggers qualify for the $6.25 million Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Dec. 5-14 in the Thomas & Mack Center.

Hannum’s top horse, El Rey, a 14-year-old gelding he has had since the horse was 5, was injured at Las Vegas Elks Helldorado Days, which ran May 17-19.

“After I ran my steer, El Rey fell down running to the end of the arena,” the 35-year-old Hannum said. “He has a hematoma on his right side; he can barely walk. I think he is probably done for the year.”

Hannum was riding Eagle Eye, a 7-year-old gelding, in the second performance of the 80th annual Ogden Pioneer Days Rodeo.

“(Younger brother) Jake and my dad (Jack) were riding him and I bought Eagle Eye from them,” Hannum said. “I only went to two rodeos on El Rey before he got hurt.”

Eagle Eye was acting up in the box prior to Hannum’s run.

“I still got a real good start and I should have had a better catch,” Hannum said. “My horse is just young in his mind, and he needs to get smarter, which hopefully, comes with age.

“He can run with anything and has a fast pattern,” he said. “He just needs to grow up and get better. I wouldn’t be riding him if I didn’t feel confident in him.”

Hannum was second in the second round (6.5 seconds, $2,653) at California Rodeo Salinas, a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Gold Rodeo, but didn’t make it back for today’s short round.

He is up Monday and Tuesday at Cheyenne Frontier Days — a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Gold Rodeo — and hits Spanish Fork Fiesta Days Rodeo, a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver Rodeo, on Wednesday.

Hannum did not enter the Days of ’47 Rodeo.

He broke the barrier on his second steer at the Snake River Stampede, costing him a chance to make Saturday’s short round.

“I still think I can make the finals,” Hannum said. “I’m entered up a lot and haven’t been to very many rodeos. I needed to work with Eagle Eye and my 17-month-old daughter, Cheznie, had ear infections this spring. I didn’t want to leave her.

“I’d like to do better at some of the big rodeos, but I’ve done well in the circuit,” he said.

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