Lone Star’s Dustin Egusquiza and partner Levi Lord clinched victory at the 2024 Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo in Odessa, Texas with a solid 7.8 on two head, marking a rejuvenating beginning to the new year following a challenging 2023 NFR.
The duo, who entered the NFR last month ranked fourth in the world standings, did not finish 2023 as they had hoped. Post-NFR, they shifted their focus to starting the 2024 season on a positive note.
Odessa is renowned for its high-paced and challenging setup, a fitting match for Egusquiza and Lord's style. The event is renowned for its high-paced and challenging setup, a fitting match for Egusquiza and Lord's style. On Monday, Jan. 8, as the fifth team to compete, Egusquiza and Lord approached their steer aggressively, pushing their limits. With a favorable draw, Egusquiza executed a rapid catch, earning them a shared first-round victory with a time of 3.9, and each taking home $2,246.
In Round 2 on Wednesday, Jan. 10, the duo delivered a nearly identical performance, once again clocking in at 3.9. This time, they secured a split for third, fourth, and fifth places, earning $1,463 each. Facing a slower steer, six-time NFR header Egusquiza had to make strategic scoring adjustments to maintain their competitive edge.
Throughout the 2023 season, Egusquiza and Lord maintained a steady presence within the top five of the world standings. However, their tour standings didn't precisely mirror this consistency.
The tour rodeos, crucial for qualifying contestants into the Puyallup Cinch Playoffs and the Cinch Playoffs Governor’s Cup, frequently involved average races. Egusquiza and Lord's aggressive, go-for-broke approach didn't always align with the typical demands of these events. Recognizing the importance of making strategic moves, especially after the previous year's experiences, the team was determined to capitalize on both rounds in Odessa, marking the inaugural tour rodeo of 2024.