Coleman Proctor has roped at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo four times, but has yet to bring home the gold buckle. The cowboy out of Pryor, Oklahoma, will continue to rope with partner Bille Jack Saebens in 2018 with the gold buckle still in mind.
Kaitlin Gustave: What are your preparations for this year?
Coleman Proctor: It’s been tougher trying to keep cows fed and ice broke. We’ve been feeding and riding everyday. I’ve been practicing a lot. I bought a new horse the other day that I like a lot, but we’ve just are doing the same old, same old. Here we go again–come February we will be headed to San Antone (Texas) and San Angelo (Texas)—my favorite rodeos of the year.
KG: Tell me about this new horse you just bought.
CP: I bought him off my buddy the other day. I think he’s going to be good around California time. I’ve been riding Dillinger, the horse that Jennifer Williams gave me. He’s been sound and working awesome. He’s given me a lot of chances.
KG: You’re roping with Billie Jack Saebens. What is it that you like about his style?
CP: He throws fast and ropes a lot of them by two feet. He’s such a great horseman and is so talented with his rope. He’s an awesome partner and fun to be around. He makes for a great partner. I think our run’s evolved a little bit too—we’re a little more versatile.
KG: You two have obviously roped a lot together. Is there a certain way that he prefers steers to be handled?
CP: Yeah, legally! We worked on some angle changes before the Finals last year. I was trying to make them come back a little more and try to open them up a little bit more out of the corner. We both have the understanding that I don’t miss or catch because of the way he hazes, and he doesn’t miss or catch because of the way I handle. We try to be on the same page about where I like the steer and what he wants me to do with the steer. At the end of the day, if I turn one he expects himself to catch him.
KG: What challenges have you faced with your roping?
CP: I’ve really have been working on trying to watch the cow better and my scoring. Scoring is where it’s at. It’s one of those deals, especially with this new horse I have, I’m trying to get on the same page with him on scoring where I’m able to read the cow. That’s where you win jackpotting and where you win rodeoing. So that’s really what I’ve been working on: watching the cow and the way that I set the corner out of the turn. I’ve been roping some muleys and some fresher steers that kind of hit and they’re wild. You can’t take all day but you have to be moving them but you have to do it under control where your partner sees it the whole time. I haven’t been able to get to Speed’s (Williams) house for him to tell me what I need to be working on more. That’s honestly something that I always try to do. I’ll feel like I have it going in the right direction and then I’ll go down there for him to tune me up.
KG: Generally speaking, you see amateur ropers going to guys like yourself for help. Why do you go to Speed’s?
CP: I consider Speed family and they’ve done so much for me. He has this real polite way of being extremely honest. I like Speed because he’ll always tell me what I need to hear and not what I want to hear. He’s also the greatest header that there has ever been so I always try to soak up all the knowledge that I can. It’s frustrating because there will be times when I’m dead-set with saying no Speedy, you’re wrong. It always ends up that he was right.
KG: Is rodeoing going to be any different for you with a new baby?
CP: It’s been fun! My wife is still on maternity leave so they went with me to Odessa (Texas). Then we sent a rig to Denver (Colorado) so that we could go to a jackpot back in Oklahoma the day we were up, and they flew with me. Then we had to fly over to Fort Worth (Texas) and my sister came and picked us up and we drove home. It’s been fun with them rodeoing with me quite a bit. Now she’s going to have to go back to work so they won’t be able to come with me as much. I didn’t really understand that either because I told Steph (wife Stephanie) I’ll just take her with me and that was met with a resounding “I don’t think so.”
KG: Are you still working on your place back in Pryor?
CP: That like a never ending ordeal it feels like. It’s been great. I got my arena done and right now were finishing our upstairs. We’ve built a lot of fence, bought some more land and got some more cows. I haven’t had to weld as much but that just depends on how much we’re winning. If I go and win a lot I can pay some bills to do it and if we’re not winning at all then I’ll be home looking for work.
KG: What is a personal goal of yours for this year?
CP: Man, a gold buckle. I felt like I jackpotted well at the big ropings but I want to be better at all of the ropings this year. I want to do good from the weekly ropings to the big ones. Of course, just a gold buckle. I want to go into the Finals with a chance to win the World and I want to get it done out in Vegas.
KG: Do you think that it hurt you when you went home last year before the Finals?
CP: No, I don’t think so at all. I was so happy that I went home when I did. We had quite a bit of stuff that popped up out of the blue that I was happy I was home for. I finished the year winning right at $100,000. I think what got me more than anything was missing the barrier at the Finals when I got to Vegas. I missed the barrier a few times and didn’t start winning until later in the week. We still finished the year strong and finished in the top five and still had a great chance to win it.