Meged, Lockhart share common start
By JOE KUSEK
December 27, 2023
Before they were setting records, before they became famous for their rodeo talents, Haven Meged and Lisa Lockhart shared another common trait.
Both honed their skills with the Northern Rodeo Association and Northern Women’s Rodeo Association.
The Montana cowboy and Montana cowgirl might be from different generations but have shown the ability to shine when the lights of Las Vegas shine brightest at the National Finals Rodeo.
Meged, of Miles City, finished second in the final PRCA world tie-down roping standings with $411,262. He spent performances chasing Riley Webb of Denton, Texas but fell $41,590 shy of a second gold buckle.
He earned $216,195 at the NFR, the most for any tie-down roper and set two records.
Meged blazed an NFR- and Thomas and Mack Center-record 6.4 second run in the seventh round. The previous record was 6.5 shared by Cody Ohl (2003), Trevor Brazile (2015) and Shad Mayfield (2022).
Ironically, Mayfield followed Meged with a 6.1-second run only to have the calf stand up.
“I had a good calf and just tried to take full advantage,” said Meged. “It’s pretty cool to break an arena record because there’s been a lot of guys here. To be etched in the record books with the best guys in the world who have roped before me, it’s just a dream come true.”
Meged was riding Lil Pump, a horse owned by his wife Shelby. Shelby Meged (formerly Boisjoli) won the WPRA world breakaway roping title a week before her husband’s record run. The two married in May.
“I married her for the horse,” said Meged, breaking into a large grin.
Meged also set the 10-round average record with a total time of 77.4 seconds on 10 runs. He placed in eight rounds and became the first tie-down roper to be sub-80 seconds for the NFR. The previous record was 80.1 by Shane Hanchey in 2013.
“Of course, it’s big,” Meged said of the average title. “It’s the second-most coveted buckle out there.”
Meged won the world tie-down roping title and the NFR average in 2019.
“The NRA, it was a good stepping-stone in my life,” he said. “You got to compete against older guys … it was a step up from high school competition. You just learned how to compete.”
Lockhart qualified for her first NFR in 2007, when Meged was still in grade school.
She has qualified for pro rodeo’s premier event 17 consecutive years, the second-most in WPRA history.
The Circle native, now living in Oelrichs, South Dakota, is already the all-time WPRA money winner at the NFR and with a second-place finish in the ninth round, became the all-time money winner in WPRA history.
Lockhart has earned $3,510,066 since turning pro 30 years ago. Sherry Cervi is second with $3,388,790 while new world champion Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi has won $3,348,318.
She passed Cervi with a second-place finish in the ninth round.
A series of events in the 10th round gave Lockhart her third NFR average title.
She trailed Tonozzi, Kassie Mowry and Jordon Briggs in the average race entering the final round. Only .98 of a second separated the top four. Lockhart won with a time of 13.54 seconds while the three ahead of her bumped a barrel.
Lockhart pocketed more than $108,000 in the last performance.
“This is pretty emotional because it was such a surprise,” said Lockhart, who got teary-eyed when meeting with the media. “A lot transpired in 10 minutes. I could not have scripted this. Winning the round, the average and the reserve of the world was totally unexpected.”
She has ridden her gray horse Levee for the last 20 rounds of the NFR and earned $377,422 the past two years. Lockhart has left Las Vegas with $1,712,318 since 2007.
Meged and Lockhart weren’t the only former NRA competitors to pocket some cash in Las Vegas.
Steer wrestler Ty Erickson earned $69,844 at the NFR. The former NRA junior breakaway roping champion finished 11th in the world standings with $194,119.
Erickson won his junior title in 2005, edging Cadee Williams (formerly Tew) by just $44. Williams won the average at the National Finals Breakaway roping last year. Erickson was also fourth in the 2009 NRA steer wrestling standings.
Chase Brooks, who won the NRA saddle bronc title in 2013 and was third in 2012 and 2015, won $36,579 at the NFR. The Deer Lodge cowboy earned $175,800 in 2023 and finished 12th in the final standings.