Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves have had the best winter of their young careers, winning both La Fiesta de los Vaqueros in Tucson, Ariz., and now Rodeo Austin (Texas).
The duo roped three steers in 15.2 seconds to earn $9,452 a man.
“I think some of it is that we’ve roped together for a few years now, and we’ve got the same goals,” Eaves said of the pair’s learning curve. “We made some mistakes last year. Through trial and error, we’ve learned and it’s making us better. We’ve just had some luck go our way.”
In early April, the duo headed into the California rodeo-run nearly $10,000 ahead of the rest of the field in the PRCA World Standings.
“Last year when we did well right off the bat, we won Rapid and were second at Denver,” Bird said. “I was going to the rodeos trying to be fast. This year, we stayed focused and caught our steers. We never got ahead of ourselves, and we were consistent.”
“A person doesn’t want to be too conservative or too aggressive. It seems like we’ve gotten a good enough mix of consistency but are still fast enough to win something,” Eaves added. “The first year we roped, we were more in the go-rounds. The last year or so, we’ve gotten better at the averages.”
On their downtime in between the winter buildings and the spring rodeos in California, Bird will go home and help on his family’s ranch in Cut Bank, Mont.
“I’m going to go home and calve cows and eat some home cooking,” Bird said. “I’m flying back to Arizona then driving to the Hork Dog then the Dodge Finals and then Logandale and then California. I don’t really need time off, but I’m excited to get a little bit. Doing something else besides roping will clear my head for a while.”
They’ll then stick to their “northern route” to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and hit rodeos in Canada and Montana, where they won a good bit in 2013, too.
“We’ll rope in California for three weeks, and I’ll be in Texas in May and June,” Eaves said. “I’ll go to Montana the end of June. We’ll stick to the same plan as last year as far as going to Montana and all the great rodeos they have up there.”