Nick Sartain and Reagan Ward roped their final steer in 4.2 seconds at Rodeo Austin to win $9,400 a man and end their partnership with a bang.
The former World Champion header Sartain will stick closer to home in the summer of 2022, while BFI Champ Ward will rodeo with Curry Kirchner for the summer run. But they ended their partnership beating the best teams in the world in the tough set up and older steers at Rodeo Austin. Sartain is 35th in the world with $13,780 won, while Ward is 31st with the same amount.
“Nick’s done a good job catching them all winter—he maybe missed one all winter out of 10,” Ward, 34, of Edmond, Oklahoma, said. “We weren’t trying to set the world on fire or do too much on any of them. We wanted to make our run. The toughest part was drawing one you could be 5 on on those older steers, who’d been to Northside and the American and already gone twice in that building.”
In the clean-slate finals, Sartain and Ward roped first out on a steer they’d seen Paul David Tierney rope earlier in the rodeo.
“I didn’t know he was going to stop,” Sartain, 43, of Bandera, Texas, said. “I could feel him quitting, but by the time he came tight he stopped and dragged. The third time through those things stop. I got him legal through the turn, and my horse wanted to face so I had to block his neck to where he couldn’t face, and John Wayne the heck out of him.”
“If we could draw those every time we’d make the NFR,” Ward laughed. “Those ones don’t get by us for whatever reason. I kept saying we’d get him. Heading is hard—I don’t know how he did it. But for me, it felt easy.”
The win had plenty of people asking Sartain—who’s won big money at the Ariat World Series of Team Roping Finale, too—if he thought he’d carry on rodeoing for the summer run.
“I finally grew out of thinking I have to be at every rodeo they have,” Sartain said. “For the past 20 years I used to think there’s no possible way they’d have anything without me. The last five years, I’ve started to realize they could have those functions without me there. I’ve been catching some flack, but sometimes you’ve got to do other things.”
Sartain plans to work on building his new place in Bandera—starting with his barn and arena, of course—with his fiancé Morgan. Ward will rope with Oklahoma young-gun Kirchner, who’s 14th in the world standings with $21,626 won.
“We want to make it hard for the next guys to win the Prairie Circuit,” Ward said. “We’ll go to Reno and probably go over the Fourth, and go through close to Cheyenne and see where we’re at. After that, we can stay in the Prairie Circuit unless we’re trying to make the NFR. I want to season my horse.” TRJ