Playing by Faith and Fate: Begay and Todd Take the Title at Logandale
From not being entered to walking away the champs, Derrick Begay and Colter Todd were 8.8 seconds on two steers to win the 2023 Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nevada.
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd in the first round at Logandale. Hailey Rae Photos.
Derrick Begay and Colter Todd in the first round at Logandale. Hailey Rae Photos.

Derrick Begay and Colter Todd roped two steers in 8.8 seconds at the 2023 Clark County Fair & Rodeo in Logandale, Nevada, to take the win, some might say by fate.

The team was not originally entered in Logandale but took the opportunity to fill in when it arose.

“We actually got called probably a week before Logandale,” said Begay, who has made nine trips to the Thomas & Mack on the heading side. “They (the PRCA) called and asked us if we wanted to go because some teams drew out.”

Begay called Todd but was met with no answer—Todd’s ranch in Willcox, Arizona, goes without phone service. They only had 1.5 hours to make their decision, and that time went by before Todd finally gave Begay the go-ahead to enter up. Not even an hour later did fate show up in the form of another call with another open spot, which they took.

“It goes back to God’s in control of my life,” said Todd, the three-time NFR qualifier. “I was like, ‘We’ll go to San Angelo; I get to come home [and] have like four days at home before I have to go to California.’ I get in the rig to go to San Angelo late Tuesday evening, and [Begay’s] like, ‘By the way, they had a spot at Logandale, and I put us down.’ And it’s like, man, perfect.”

The last-minute trip ended perfectly with the team each taking home $6,718 in total. 


Begay and Todd roped their first steer Saturday, April 15 in the slack to win the round with a 4.0-second run, good enough to each pocket $2,687.

“Our first steer was outstanding,” said Todd, who was riding a 7-year-old bay gelding he calls Buddy. “When you draw good, if you do your job right, it sets up pretty good. I kind of thought we would play him as just a steer, but he was a little better than just a steer: he ran a good pattern, maybe checked off just a little bit when Derrick’s head rope went on but was good.”

Pedigree of Colter Todd's "Buddy."

Todd admits he was slightly surprised by their time. He thought he heard someone yell they broke the barrier as they left the box, leaving him to instinctively change his approach in the field.

“It’s almost like it doesn’t even count as a run,” Todd said, who anticipated Begay using what he thought was a missed opportunity to train on his horse but didn’t. “So, it was like every heeler’s dream—they go ahead and just turn them back full contact. I didn’t have to think about it. There wasn’t that pressure or excitement or anything. It was more of everything went neutral because it didn’t count.”

But it did count, and there was no broken barrier. The team moved on to the performance that same night where they were out of the round money with a 4.8. 

“He handled the opposite of the [first] steer,” Todd said of their second-round draw. “Real fast; a lot of action. I was a little more nervous on that steer prior because I like the steers that are kind of dead; it’s easier when they don’t have a lot of action. When they have a lot of action, you have to be super spot on, and I’m not good enough to know that I’m going be spot on. But Derrick did a dang good job getting it on him. And then I felt like I was maybe a little behind. Then it comes down to that determination of just whatever you do, don’t miss him.”

That 4.8, however, was good enough to slip them into the lead of the average, which held on through the end. 

“We knew we were fast on the first one and we had a little bit of time not to play with, but we didn’t need to be that aggressive on the second one,” said Begay, who was riding a 13-year-old sorrel gelding. “We could make a good, clean run, and we could win something good in the average. So that was the plan on the second one. We really don’t want to try to make a plan and try to think what we need to be, but we just know what we got to do. I have to do my part and he has to do his. And it worked out.”

Back Again

Both Begay and Todd have decidedly backed off from the rodeo road, one since just a few years ago and the other back in 2008, but here they are, on it once again. There’s something about the way life pulls them both back to the road, at least every now and then.

“I’ve been to every major rodeo, been to [them] more than who knows how many times, and it’s the same thing,” said Begay, 39, of the Navajo Nation’s Seba Dalkai, Arizona. “I mean, it is the same views and it’s the same arenas. You know what the crowd’s going to look like or feel like. And so, it’s definitely the competition. That’s why I keep going. I don’t know if you’d call it competition or just the feeling of competing, but that’s what keeps me going.” 

And while the love of competing is still there, the things at home that take his priority made him take a step back.

“I just hate to leave the house,” Begay said. “That’s what makes me think otherwise. When I’m at the rodeos, it’s fun; I don’t think about the bad stuff. But on the way to the rodeo or after the rodeo is when I get to thinking about the other stuff.”

Todd knows the situation well. He, too, has a family and responsibilities back home to tend to, hence why he backed off over a decade ago. But, above all, he is guided by his faith.

“What reels me back—or what did, I’m hoping—is a lot of prayer, and that’s just where God wants me,” Todd, 39, said. “I hope, because it was kind of a fear for a long time that, if I messed around with it, I would make bad decisions and do stuff to put my family and everybody in jeopardy. So, I don’t want that. And this is one of those, you won’t know the answer until it’s all over. You don’t know what the consequences or ramifications are until you get to look back and then you say, ‘That was right,’ or, ‘Dang, that was wrong.’”

Same Page

At the end of the day, Begay and Todd are friends before partners.

“It all starts with he’s my best friend,” Begay said. “I happen to rope, and he happens to rope. So that’s the centerpiece of it.”

Todd agrees.

“As far as a partnership, it’s not; it’s just a friendship for me,” Todd said. “And as long as he enters me and I can make it, I’m enjoying the heck out of it.”

That dynamic makes all the difference in how they pick and choose when and where to go.

“I know his family and his responsibility is at home,” Begay said. “I know that’s his first priority. So, if he ever says something about, ‘I can’t go this weekend,’ or, ‘I can’t go next month,’ or whenever, then it’s not a big deal. I understand that. But that’s life: it’s not just team roping. It’s how everything else goes.”

Having a mutual understanding and being in the same place in life has also made a world of difference on their teaming up.

“He’s the same way,” Begay said. “If something comes up at home and I just have to call him and say, ‘Hey, I can’t go this weekend because of this,’ he’ll say, ‘Okay, you better tend to that. You need to go home and take care of that.’ So, knowing that there’s no pressure, it’s peaceful. It’s comforting knowing I got a partner like that.”

Begay and Todd will head next to Red Bluff, California, but as far as the rest of the year, it’s a toss-up. 

“I’ve always gone to rodeos, and I’m always probably going to go to rodeos,” Begay said. “I’m going to go, I just don’t know how hard or how crazy.”

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