Erich Rogers and Paul Eaves were 15.5 seconds on three steers in Camp Verde, Arizona, at the 2023 Turquoise Circuit Finals Nov. 3-4, to take the average win. The $6,620 they won between the rounds and the average also locked in the year-end titles for the pair of world champions.
The Team Roping Journal: How does it feel to win the average and the year-end?
Paul Eaves: It’s good because it’s such a long thing. We went to the first circuit rodeo in February, I think, and the whole intention is to make Colorado Springs for the NFR Open because there’s so much money there. It’s such a long process to get there, and you have to do a lot to get it done, going to some rodeos you normally wouldn’t go to; it takes some effort. We flew to some that, like I said, normally we wouldn’t do. So, to get it done is what the goal was. So, it’s good.
READ: As Fate Would Have It: Lovell and Eaves Win 2020 PRCA Team Roping World Titles in Inspiring Fashion
TRJ: I’m sure it’s harder for you guys, considering you’re a Top 15 team, too.
PE: Yes, but we didn’t have to go just a ton to other stuff, but there were three or four times where we flew or drove 12 or 15 hours to make a rodeo that we normally wouldn’t go to.
TRJ: Is making the circuit final something you guys do try to do every year?
PE: Yes, I try to, and I have quite a bit. When they changed it to where you had to official the rodeo, last year I didn’t even get close. I went to probably seven or so rodeos; I didn’t get close to my count. But in the years past, I’ve always tried to make it, even before it counted just because it’s good. But now that it counts, it wasn’t just an accident that we got to enough rodeos—we dang sure tried to make it happen.
TRJ: Walk me through your runs from the circuit finals.
PE: We were last out the first night, it was a little bit softer. Derrick and Colter were winning the round with a 5.4. First run, our steer was medium plus, just a step left or a couple steps left, and we just made a pretty easy, pretty good run. Erich got a good start and probably and roped him. We weren’t guaranteed the year-end, so we were definitely trying to win the average. We were wanting to dang sure catch.
The second one, the steer was a little stronger but pretty straight. Erich did a great job. He got a good start, coil back probably, and the steer shaped up. I didn’t throw very fast on any of them, really, but I think we won fourth in the second round.
We won second in the first round and then came back on a really good steer in the third round. We were winning second in the average going in. We were about nine-tenths behind Colter and them going into the last round, and Erich did a great job; he nailed the barrier and turned him fast, and I got a little bit out of whack and kind of had to take another swing and stayed with it. We ended up winning second in that round and then won the average.
TRJ: What horse were you riding, and what made you decide to ride him there?
PE: I was riding a horse I call Kid Rock. Colter’s been riding that horse all fall, the last probably 15 or 20 rodeos of the year. So, he asked to ride him, and he’s going to ride him in Vegas. I was driving out there and I’m very comfortable on him, so I thought there’s no sense in hauling two. If I’m hauling him anyway, I might as well just ride him, too.
TRJ: With the money at the NFR Open, what difference could that make in your?
PE: It can mean a lot. I know a guy can win $20,000 or $30,000 there, so that’s huge on making the NFR or winning the world if you have a big hit there. It’s also not against near as many teams. To go win $20,000 at Reno, you have to beat all the best guys. So, there’s less teams and it pays good. It plays a factor in hopefully a world championship.