The last steer that Dustin Bird and Trey Yates ran as partners in the 2019 rodeo season was one for the books.
They stopped the clock in 7.8 seconds to win the Cheyenne Frontier Days "Daddy of 'em All", adding $9,459 to each of their earnings, plus trophy saddles, buckles and more.
"I've been thinking about it and it's probably one of the biggest wins of my career," Bird said, from home at his Cut Bank, Montana ranch a few days after the win.
“It’s just crazy,” Yates said. “There’s dreams that come true and this is a dream that exceeds reality. To be apart of a win this prestigious and this unique, no words can describe. Good horses really shine here in any event. It’s just what makes Cheyenne what it is and to be able to put my name up there with the champions in the past is very surreal."
Bird and Yates drew the paint steer that Lane Ivy and Cesar de la Cruz won the sixth performance on with a 8.7-second run in the short round. They knew it was on the stronger side, but that didn't seem to faze them.
[Listen: The Short Score: July 30 with Trey Yates]
"The steer only went one time and came back to the performance as an extra," Bird said. "They used him in the third set. Lane Ivy and Cesar were 8.7 on him. Lane said that he really handled good, that he ran a little bit, but was dead straight. Straight there is really key. The luck of the draw is really in effect because if they go left at all, you don't really have a chance. He stood out in the middle, and we made a pretty good run him."
"He replaced a steer that got pulled," Yates added. "I had seen their run, and he looked a little stronger but ran a solid pattern. Dustin nailed the barrier again, blew to him and got him where I could heel him fast."
The Montana and Colorado team started off their week at "The Daddy" placing sixth in the average in the team roping slack with a 19.4-on two head, worth $846 a man, advancing them to the performances. They came back in the second set where they came up short on the back end in the third performance, but came back with a vengeance in the fourth performance, winning second in the round with a 9.2-second run, worth $1,674 a man.
"We came back in the first round of the performances and Dustin spun me a good steer," Yates said. "That steer broke to the left and I hung back thinking he might come back to the right and about the time Dustin stuck it on him I was too far behind and maybe got a little too far to the inside, didn't get my bottom strand on the ground and had an inside leg for a second and he got out of it. We came back the next day and had a steer that Braden Pirrung and Matt Zancanella were 12 on. From my perspective, that was the only one I probably didn't want. Dustin just nailed the barrier, and I left because I knew that steer was going to be straight or to the right. We made a great run on him and were 9.2. At that point, Dustin spun me four really good steers, and I messed one of them up."
Bird scored on the 30-foot barrier and ran hard to each steer on an 8-year-old sorrel he calls Puppy—registered as He's Dun Coded Red by Electric Code out of a He's Dun His Time mare named Peg Red Dunnit.
"I got Puppy in March from Chad Masters," Bird said. "I had a ride back for him back to Montana after the performances but he worked so good there so I left him for another week. He stayed there the whole time. He just stood there flat footed and never moved. it allowed me to take a good start every time. He was so free that we ran all the way to every steer. I never had to reach on any steer. Whatever the steer allowed us to do, that's how we roped."
Yates was onboard his great sorrel an 18-year-old gelding, YY, that he taps each year to heel down at "The Daddy".
"When I ride YY I know everything that’s about to take place," Yates said. "Previous to this I’ve won $20,000 or so on him in this arena. It’s a pretty standard pattern. The routine we have in this arena as far as I kind of coast when the gates open and when they pull the barrier I still kind of coast. We’re pretty synced here."
[READ MORE: The Journey with Trey Yates]
As their partnership ends after a slow summer save for their Cheyenne win, Bird will head home to circuit rodeo in Montana and try to make the Canadian Finals. Yates will begin heeling for Wyoming stand-out Clayton Van Aken.
"I am roping with Sid Sporer down in the States," Bird said about his new plans. "We're entered in all of our circuit rodeos. We're going to go out there to Ellensburg (Washington) and a few in the Northwest. I have Riley Wilson in Canada—trying to get up there to win enough to make the finals."
Bird is currently 21st in the Canadian standings with $5,305.69 won, and fourth in the Montana Circuit with $4,486.70 won.
"To say I didn’t have intentions of still making the NFR this year would be lying," Yates said. "Bird and I have kind of had a patch of rough luck. Clearly, it’s turned around and sadly this is our last steer. It’s nothing personal. He’s very positive and an absolute great guy. He’s got a winning attitude as far as anything in the past doesn’t bother him. At this point in my career with my family deal, I just like to stay closer to home. I’d say our circles didn’t quite add up and I’m okay with that. I dang sure want to rope together again. We have had some pretty cool wins and I got to go see some different places. That’s what rodeoing is about. Clayton and I college rodeoed together. He’s got a lot of potential with a rope. I wanted to go rope with somebody that’s kind of like I am, or was before today, a little behind the eight ball—as far as world standings and making the NFR. He’s never got into the winter rodeos and that’s kind of where I stood in my career up to today. I hope it goes good. I wish Bird the best."
First round: 1. Jade Stoddard/Cole Cooper, 7.6 seconds, $2,432 each; 2. Dustin Egusquiza/Jake Long, 8.2, $2,115; 3. (tie) Peyton Holliday/Thomas Smith and Clay Smith/Jade Corkill, 8.5, $1,639 each; 5. Travis Bard/Jhett Johnson, 9.0, $1,163; 6. (tie) Cody Hilzendeger/J.C. Flake and Adam Rose/Jett Hillman, 9.1, $687 each; 8. (tie) B.J. Campbell/Carl Sweazea and Lane Ivy/Cesar de la Cruz, 9.2, $106 each.
Second round: 1. Tanner Green/Jake Clay, 7.2 seconds, $2,432 each; 2. Tanner Baldwin/Nano Garza, 7.5, $2,115; 3. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, 7.8, $1,798; 4. Spencer Mitchell/Cody Doescher, 8.0, $1,480; 5. (tie) Logan Olson/Blaine Vick and Joshua Torres/Jonathan Torres, 8.2, $1,005 each; 7. Colby Lovell/Ty Arnold, 8.3, $529; 8. Quinn Kesler/Colby Siddoway, 8.4, $211.
Average: 1. (tie) Tanner Green/Jake Clay, Dustin Egusquiza/Jake Long and Travis Bard/Jhett Johnson, 17.5 seconds on two head, $2,115 each; 4. Lane Ivy/Cesar de la Cruz, 18.6, $1,480; 5. Adam Rose/Jett Hillman, 19.3, $1,163; 6. Dustin Bird/Trey Yates, 19.4, $846; 7. Clay Smith/Jade Corkill, 19.9, $529; 8. Peyton Holliday/Thomas Smith, 20.1, $211.
Quarterfinals: First performance: 1. Garret Tonnozzi/Dustin Davis, 7.8 seconds, $2,233 each; 2. Dustin Egusquiza/Jake Long, 8.0, $1,674; 3. Peyton Holliday/Thomas Smith, 8.5, $1,116; 4. Chris Francis/Cade Passig, 9.4, $558.
Second performance: 1. Taylor Winn/Dylin Ahlstrom, 7.7 seconds, $2,233 each. 2. Peyton Holliday/Thomas Smith, 8.8, $1,674; 3. Travis Bard/Jhett Johnson, 9.0. $1,116; 4. Dustin Egusquiza/Jake Long, 9.0, $558.
Third performance: 1. Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan, 8.8 seconds, $2,233 each; 2. Cody Tew/Jerren Johnson, 10.1, $1,674; 3. Bubba Buckaloo/Shay Carroll, 10.4, $1,116; 4. Braden Pirrung/Matt Zancanella, 12.4, $558.
Fourth performance: 1. Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan, 8.7 seconds, $2,233 each; 2. Dustin Bird/Trey Yates, 9.2, $1,674; 3. Garrett Rogers/Jake Minor, $1,116; 4. Shaw Loiseau/Ty Talsma, 11.5, $558.
Fifth performance: 1. Kelsey Parchman/Matt Kasner, 8.4 seconds, $2,233 each; 2. Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, 9.2, $1,674; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 9.5, $1,116; 4. Colton Campbell/Dalton Pearce, 10.9, $558.
Sixth performance: 1. Lane Ivy/Cesar de la Cruz, 8.7 seconds, $2,233 each; 2. J.B. James Jr./Brock Hanson, 10.5, $1,674; 3. Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira, 10.6, $1,116; 4. Colton Campbell/Dalton Pearce, 11.5, $558.
Seventh performance: 1. Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes, 9.1 seconds, $2,233 each; 2. (tie) Chad Masters/Joseph Harrison and Nick Sartain/Austin Rogers, 9.2, $1,395 each; 4. Pace Freed/Dustin Searcy, 10.1, $558.
Eighth performance: 1. Nick Sartain/Austin Rogers, 8.4 seconds, $2,233; 2. Pace Freed/Dustin Searcy, 8.5, $1,674; 3. Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes, 8.8, $1,116; 4. Erich Rogers/Payden Bray, 9.8, $558.
Finals: 1. Dustin Bird/Trey Yates, 7.8 seconds, $9,459 each; 2. Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan, $8,225; 3. Jake Cooper/Caleb Anderson, 9.5, $6,991; 4. (tie) Pace Free/Dustin Searcy and Dustin Egusquiza/Jake Long, 9.6, $5,141 each; 6. Peyton Holliday/Thomas Smith, 9.7, $3,290; 7. Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes. 14.4, $2,056; 8. Chad Masters/Joseph Harrison, 14.6, $823.