Veteran Kory Koontz is geared and ready for the 2018 rodeo season. Kory plans on continuing his partnership with last years Wrangler National Finals Rookie Dustin Egusquiza.
Kaitlin Gustave: Are you and Dustin Egusquiza roping together again this year?
Kory Koontz: Well he hasn't told me that we’re not so I’m taking for granted that we are. I’m pretty sure we are.
KG: How did you two get partnered up?
KK: I guess at the end of 2016 season. He was right on the borderline of making the Finals and I was not making the NFR. I had been watching him and it was pretty obvious that he had a lot of talent and he was someone that I felt like I could do well with. I asked him if he was interested in roping and we ended up roping together at a couple of jackpots and we did pretty good and so we decided to rope.
KG: What makes your partnership work so well?
KK: The header and the heeler in different ways have to complement each other. I think that brings success depending on what the situation calls for, having then the ability and the mindset to do what you need to do at the right time is important. Dustin’s ability is so good, that basically going through a full year rodeoing and learning a lot as a team should help us moving forward to be more successful this year.
KG: What horses are you going to have on the road this year?
KK: I still have Abby and I have a little yellow horse that I got right before the NFR (2017) that I had available there but I didn't know enough about him to feel like I could get on him. I did ride him at Odessa (Texas) to start the year. I call him Nanner—kind of like a banana because he is little and yellow. I also have Remix. Remix and Nanner will be the ones that I use the most probably.
KG: Will Abby come on the road as a backup head for Dustin or heel horse for you?
KK: She could with the ability that she has. She’s getting older and I feel like the more hauling and wear and tear is starting to get to her a little bit. I’ll probably keep her in shape so if either one of us needs her she’ll be there.
KG: Was there anything you could have done better last year that you'll work on in 2018?
KK: This summer I didn't do a very good job at catching the really important steers. Being older and being kind of the veteran and knowing at certain times where you have to make the shot, some of those times I’ve sure enough dropped the ball and didn't get it done. It’s a constant battle as far as working on consistency and my partner feels that if he does his job he knows I’m going to get mine done. So that’s where I’m going to continue to work hard at being really consistent
KG: Being on the road can be tough sometimes, what is it that keeps you driven?
KK: Oh, money—making a living. The older I get the more I don't take for granted the wins and making the NFR and being apart of that. To have a young guy like Dustin that is very motivated and at the beginning of his career it is important to me to keep the fire lit to work really hard to be able to keep up and make sure that I can do my job.
KG: What are you doing to prepare for this season?
KK: Nothing special. I’m basically just roping all the time and not get complacent with feeling like we should win and take it for granted. We need to make sure that we put the work in so that when we do win it’s because of the work we put in and no luck involved. We don’t want to just get complacent.