Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Williams Roping Win at Rodeo Jacksonville Native at National Finals

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Williams Roping Win at Rodeo Jacksonville Native at National Finals

Article excerpt

LAS VEGAS -- Speedy Williams bolted to an awesome start in what

has turned out to be the biggest event of his life. Still,

however, he had some explaining to do.

"My mama got very upset with me," said Williams, a Jacksonville

native who is on the verge of claiming a world calf roping title

with partner Rich Skelton at the National Finals Rodeo.

It seems all information coming out of the Super Bowl of rodeo

incorrectly lists Williams' hometown as Llano, Texas, where he

recently has been bunking with Skelton in preparation for the

lucrative season-ending event.

Mama was shocked to read the mistake.

"It was, `Have you forgotten where you come from?' " Williams

said with a chuckle. "She couldn't understand why I would claim

Texas as my home.

"So, I want everyone to know that it has always been

Jacksonville. I was born and raised in Florida."

And now that Williams has assured his mother he is proud of his

roots, he can concentrate on trying to make Jacksonville proud

of him. Through Thursday's sixth go-round at the Thomas & Mack

Center, he and Skelton have earned $27,615. That windfall has

thrust them into the total earnings lead. Williams, the header,

has won $85,546 this year while Skelton, the heeler, has won

$83,089.

Williams and Skelton led their event through the first six

go-rounds with 4.1, 4.3 and 4.8 seconds. The first time was only

three-tenths of a second off the NFR record. They slipped,

however, in the seventh go-round with a time of 14.8 when

Williams misfired on his head toss.

"This arena is 150 feet long," Williams said. "There are

animals you have to catch. And when you're dealing with tenths

of a second, lots can happen. `Conservativity' does not come

easily."

Not for Williams. …

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