Derrick Begay has regretted missing two steers in his entire life: One to win the George Strait with Cory Petska in 2016, and the Round 6 steer at the 2018 Wrangler NFR.
So it's no surprise he came with it in Round 7, tying Luke Brown and Jake Long with a 3.9-second run worth $23,480.77 a man.
"That one last night, I just missed and it was so frustrating," Begay said. "I've been talking to the gateman Tony. Last night he kind of got after me because I missed. And I come back and came around and told him it was his fault because he opened the gate. Tonight, he said 'Are you sure you want me to open this gate when you nod?' I said, 'Yeah I'm ready now.'"
Petska was ready despite Begay not getting a great start and reaching at him because he's on Chumley, the gelding that carried him to his first world title last year.
"He stays good all week," Petska said. "He's just the same. You don't have to worry about him. He works awesome every time. You know if you focus on your job that night, he'll do his job that night. It's awesome having that peace of mind when you back into the box, that your horse is going to do their job."
Begay and Petska had been third in the average on five head when he missed that steer in Round 6, taking their first no-time of the week and dropping them to fourth. But their Round 7 run put them back to third in the average with 46.10 seconds on six head, and the day money put them them fifth in the world with $144,548.69 and sixth with $151,005.57, respectively, up from the 10th they both were heading into the round.
Brown and Long, despite disappointing no-times in Rounds 2, 5 and 6, have amassed $71,134.61 each in earnings on just four steers. They're currently third and fourth in the PRCA world standings, with $154,236.78 each on the year.
"It's been slow," Brown said. "I haven't done a very good job, my horse has been a little tight. I haven't got to do what I've practiced to do. I could trade horses, but I don't want to this late. Jake's heeled great."
Brown roped more than he ever has before the Finals this year, he said, and didn't cut any corners in the practice pen. But after the first round, things just started to feel off with his horse Rockstar.
"He's had all year off, practicing he was spot on. Break in, he was good," Brown said. "I missed the barrier in the second round and reached and I felt him a little tight. I kind of got by there a couple nights. It was my fault I missed the second steer. It was my fault I let him get quite that tight the fifth one. It made it seem like it was worse than it really is. I didn't handle the steer very good last night. I'll take the heat on that one too. It just hasn't been as easy, as fluid, as it is in the past... I've got a mare that I like a lot, and I ran some on her today. But the comfort level of getting a good start and getting a throw is so much higher on my yellow. Even though I have no control after that, because he is tight, but I feel so much more confident to catch the cow when I nod my head. I know I could get on her and my handles will be better, but the confidence wouldn't be there."
For Long's part, he's seen rough handles his whole life, so he's up for the challenge of heeling behind a tight Rockstar.
"Number one, I grew up in Southeast Kansas and Northeast Oklahoma, so thanks to guys like Coleman Proctor and AJ Horton, I've seen a few of them dirty handles," Long said. "I'm a big fan of whatever he's confident to do his job on. I'm confident enough in my ability and my horse to overcome any situation that gets thrown at us. Tonight was easy, that was a layup."
Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison won third in the round with a 4.0-second run, worth $15,653.85 a man. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira rebounded after a no-time in Round 6 with a 4.3-second run, and moved up a spot to number-two in the average at 32.10 on six after Clay Smith and Paul Eaves took a no-time in Round 7 to drop to 21.90 on five head and fifth in the average. Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp won fifth in the round with a 4.8-second run, worth $6,769.23 a man. They're sixth in the average with 29.90 on five head. Sixth in the go-round went to Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates with a 4.9-second run. Tsinigine and Yates lead the average with 53.30 on seven head. They're currently eighth and fifth in the PRCA world standings, with $138,467.57 and $152,862.02 won, respectively.
In the all-around race, Rhen Richard and Quinn Kesler moved up a spot in the team roping average to fourth, despite not winning anything in the round. Richard did place fifth in the tie-down roping with a 8.1-second run worth $6,769.23. He's second in the average in the tie-down with a 60.7 on seven head. With $199,416.28 won on the year, Richard is currently $98,609.85 behind Brazile, and $79,421.50 behind Cooper.
Team Roping Results Round 7:
1/2. Derrick Begay and Cory Petska, 3.90 seconds, $23,480.77 each
1/2. Luke Brown and Jake Long, 3.90 seconds, $23,480.77 each
3. Chad Masters and Joseph Harrison, 4.00 seconds, $15,653.85 each
4. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 4.30 seconds, $11,000 each
5. Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp, 4.80 seconds, $6,769.23 each
6. Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates, 4.90 seconds, $4,230.77 each