There was a whole lotta fate that played into Derrick Begay and Brady Minor’s 3.9-second Round 2 win at the 2021 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Paired up by default when both of their partners, Cory Petska and Riley Minor, didn’t make the NFR cut, nine-time NFR header Begay and 12-time NFR heeler Minor practiced together a few times before the Finals. But that practice was mostly aboard Derrick Begay’s great horse Swagger, and Swagger went out with injury just two days before the first round.
“When you lose your best horse two days before, even if someone gives you a good horse you haven’t rode, it will be tough to win,” Minor, 36, said. “I got to thinking I just have to be ready if he turns these steers. He’s going to turn them anyway, and I need to be ready for it.”
Turn the steer he did. They had drawn on the better end of an already good set of steers, and they used it. Begay took a few extra seconds to get the mare set in the box, but when he did, he stuck and Minor took a fast shot.
“Maybe things happen for a reason—maybe he wasn’t good enough,” Begay, 38, said. “I have had Swagger forever, and I know what he’s going to do, for better or for worse. So when he went out, I felt like now I have to ride something that stands good in the box, leaves flat, and knows enough to do her job but not enough to try to screw me. She felt a little green, so I’m paying attention to more of her than me. It happens so fast and takes my worries away from roping. I have to train and rope at the same time.”
Begay’s on the 8-year-old mare Kit Kat Keeta owned by his nephew, James Arviso, a horse Arviso just bought from Colter Todd. Minor was on his great horse Sug—registered as Leos Highbrow.
The duo is now sixth and eighth in the PRCA World Standings, with $113,550.82 and $104,536.07 won, respectively, and they’ve won $42,657.62 in the last two days at the Finals. They have an early lead in the average with a time of 8.8 seconds on two head.
Both Begay and Minor entered the NFR gunning to break Jake Barnes and Clay O’Brien Cooper’s NFR average record of 59.1 seconds on 10 head from 1994.
“I told my buddy that’s helping me with my horses, ‘Man I’m going to ride this horse, but there’s a good chance we won’t be going to the South Point this week.’ TRJ
767 Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins II 4.4
777 Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin 4.2
766 Derrick Begay and Brady Minor 3.9
774 Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler 7.3
793 Clint Summers and Ross Ashford 5.8
762 Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan 5.1
771 Tyler Wade and Trey Yates NT
764 Clay Tryan and Jake Long 4.4
770 Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp 5.5
776 Clay Smith and Jade Corkill 4.3
760 Erich Rogers and Paden Bray 4.2 + 5
759 Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira 4.6
778 Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves NT
775 Quinn Kesler and Joseph Harrison NT
763 Coy Rahlmann and Douglas Rich NT