And Another One

Derrick Begay and Colter Todd Fight through the Wildcard for Coveted 2024 San Antonio Win
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd battled missed legs and the Wildcard Round to win the 2024 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo for $22,500 a man Saturday, Feb. 24.
Colter Todd heeling a steer for Derrick Begay in the Finals at the 2024 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd in the Finals at the 2024 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. | Hailey Rae photo

Derrick Begay and Colter Todd clawed their way to the 2024 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo victory Saturday, Feb. 24, after raking in $22,500 a man. While the bracket-style rodeo is a coveted win, the title has different value for the Arizona men.

Begay’s been dreaming about winning San Antonio since the early winter of 2009 after a visit to Sherry Cervi’s house in Marana when he saw her San Antonio buckle.

“It was a nice big house with saddles, awards, buckles, old bits and bridles for barrel horses and pictures,” Begay, 40, explained. “And I got to her buckle display and the first buckle I saw was San Antonio. I was like, ‘Man, that’s a cool buckle.’ That’s the first one I grabbed, and I was wowed. Since then, I’ve always wanted one. Now I finally got my own.”

READ: Right Where they Belong: Begay, Todd Win 2023 Pendleton Round-Up

For Todd, he knows the prestige of winning the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. But because he had been gone from the road so long, it didn’t have the personal history for him as it did for Begay.

“I knew Begay wanted to win it,” Todd, 40, explained. “He’s rodeoed a long time, and that’s a rodeo, if you’re a rodeo guy, that’s obviously one that you want to win. But that’s also why I say I can’t put myself in that category because that’s the first time I’ve ever heeled there, and I’ve only roped there maybe four or five times total.”

Through the brackets: $4,750 a man

Their trek to the win wasn’t paved with gold, though, and it started much earlier than when they rode in Frost Bank Center for the first time Feb. 16. After the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo in January, Todd wasn’t confident he needed to continue.

“People say you’re not supposed to look for failure, but I kind of am because if I’m failing consistently, then I know this is not the way I’m supposed to be going,” Todd said. “Derrick turned two great steers, and we should have done good, but I didn’t do my job. And that’s hard on me, as a friend and as a competitor.”

But he carried on, and the 2023 NFR average champs found themselves in a tough bracket in San Antonio, packed with some of the top teams going, like Dustin Egusquiza and Levi Lord, Clay Smith and Coleby Payne, and Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira.

READ: Playing by Faith and Fate: Begay and Todd Take the Title at Logandale

Despite the nightly lineup, Begay and Todd prevailed, splitting Round 1 with a 4.2-second run for $2,250 a man and winning Round 2 with a 4.7 for $2,500 a man. They were out of the money in Round 3, but the $4,750 they accumulated was enough to advance them to the Semifinals.

In the Semifinals Todd slipped a leg. As he explained it, ground trouble caused things to get out of whack.

“I watched the video and he kind of went to slide in there and his hind legs stuck,” Todd explained. “Both of them went out behind him, and he made a big move to get himself, back right, creating a slip. When I was throwing, stuff was off; it just wasn’t supposed to be.”

Wildcard Redemption: $5,000 a man

Because the team wasn’t in the bracket’s top five based on money, Begay and Todd went into the Wildcard Round where only one team would advance to the Finals. As realists, they were prepared for anything.

“The chances were slim going through the Wildcard, for us,” Begay admitted. “There were 10 teams, and they only take the fastest time. The chances of us getting through were slim, and we were kind of realistic about it. We had the truck hooked up and the trailer ready to go.”

When they backed in the box Feb. 24 for the Wildcard, a 19.1 was in the lead and they had drawn the same steer they roped in the Semifinals, giving Todd a much appreciated shot at redemption. 

“For me as a heeler, it’s just like at home in the practice pen, where I’ll bring that sucker back and I’m not going to let that happen again,” Todd said with a laugh. “That was kind of my mindset. I can’t do much but catch two feet, so, as far as my thinking, it was just, Don’t miss.”

As the eighth of 10 teams, they had a good feel for the round and were able to take an extra swing and make the last two teams try and beat them. They were 4.3 to win the Wildcard for $5,000 a man and advance to the Finals that same night.

Victory in the Finals: $12,500 a man

They were the last team to rope in the Finals giving them an idea of what needed to be done. 

“When you see 4.1 or 4.2 is winning last, it’s simple,” Todd said. “Obviously he’s going to go fast because there’s nothing else to do. There’s no questions, there’s no plan. It’s just we have to go fast.”

Begay’s loop split the horns a little before finally going on clean. Regardless, they stopped the clock in 3.8 seconds to split the short round with Clint Summers and Jake Long. With the San Antonio champs being crowned off total money won, that $12,500-a-man paycheck was enough to put Begay and Todd as the No. 1 team with each winning $22,500 overall.

Derrick Begay and Colter Todd taking their victory lap for winning the 2024 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo.
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd taking their victory lap for winning the 2024 San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo. | Hailey Rae photo

“I’m really glad it worked out because that was one of my happiest wins of my career,” Begay said.

Begay rode “Sorrel” and Todd rode World Champion Paul Eaves’ “Kid Rock.”

“The last two steers felt completely outstanding,” Todd said. “I rode him all the whole time, but the Wildcard and [the Finals], it just felt I guess how it was supposed to; it wasn’t hard, it was just nice. I’m super grateful Paul lets me ride him—it means a lot. That horse fits me well, and Paul doesn’t have to let me ride him. I’m nothing special, so it’s really nice he lets me on him.”

One day at a time for Begay and Todd

Begay and Todd are still going by the same one-day-at-a-time approach as last year. For Todd, he’s focused on letting God plan their travels.

LISTEN: The Short Score: Colter Todd’s Return to Las Vegas

“I’m praying that I’m following the path that God set before me and not my own,” Todd said. “I don’t want to let my mind get to a point where I’m making up my own decisions because I’ll run into a wall. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be. It’s not supposed to be easy—you’re not supposed to really know, and that’s why it says walk by faith and not by sight.”

The team will go next to The American Sat. March 9, followed by RodeoHouston.

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