Chelsea Shaffer: Tell me about the ups and downs of your 2017 campaign.
SS: This year started out really good. I won San Antone—that was my first time to win it. That gave me a big boost starting out the year. It kind of died down the rest of the winter. I was hit and miss a few places. Springtime it picked up, and summer wasn’t very good. July and August weren't very good for me. It could have been a lot worse, but it’s been better in the past. I wasn’t roping that bad—I just didn’t have my normal summer time.
CS: Were you struggling with horses, or...?
SS: I went back and forth on a few different horses. A friend of mine, Stephen Stranski’s, horse I won San Antone on, and I rodeo another horse on and off from Jake Pollack. They were really both great. I definitely wouldn't blame my year on horses at all.
I rode a horse I sold there at the end of the year—I bought him back in July. I’ve been trying to find what fits me. I was glad to have that one back I bought at the end of summer. I just recently sent my horse, Major, that was AQHA/PRCA Horse of the Year back to the swimmer's. He’s 14 or 15 now and he stays a little sore if I haul him very much. He needed time to recoop a little. He had a tear in his deep flexor about two years ago. I was trying to find new blood and get something new started. I’ve always kept him around for the Finals. I’ll start him back at the All-American and ride him there and hopefully ride him at the Finals.
CS: Do you keep a lot of your horses around?
SS: I do ride a lot of young horses on the side—whether they’re steer horses or team roping horses or calf horses or breakaway horses. I always start them as a head horse, but half the time I sell them before I get them far enough along to start tripping on them.
CS: Do you sell a lot of horses then?
SS: Yes, mostly as team roping horses. It has to be a good team roping horse before it makes a steer roping horse. They do any and every job at my house.
CS: What's your prediction for the steer roping finals?
SS: I kept dropping all year long—but as good as the Finals pay now, anybody in the top four or five spots has a chance to win it. It’s a good facility and a good spot to have the steer roping. It ought to be a good finals and good for everybody. There are a few new guys at the top that have been around the top. The three guys in front of me have never won the world before, so it could really get interesting.