Three-time College National Finals Rodeo qualifier Logan Moore got the redemption he was looking for at the 2023 CNFR, winning the average with a 22.8 on four head with freshman Slade Wood heading for him.
Last year at the 2022 CNFR, Moore came back high call heeling for his brother, but a tough steer cost them their chance at the national title. And while the short round played out similarly to last year, heartbreakingly falling apart for many teams, it had a different and much happier ending for Moore.
“I’m very excited,” Moore, a junior at Wharton County Junior College, said. “I’m glad to come back and get redemption. Last year, I came back high call, and the same thing happened—it fell apart at the end, and so did we. But not this year. We finished strong.”
Though Wood was a CNFR rookie, he sure roped as if he’d been there before. It’s safe to say the 2021 National Finals Steer Roping qualifier is comfortable performing on big stages. Despite the glamour of the short round, Wood approached it like a normal run in the practice pen.
“When the lights went out and we got to walk out in front of everyone, that was a really big deal,” Wood, a business major at Southwest Texas Junior College, said. “And then it was just like any other day. Just ready to run one, more than anything.”
In a herd of tricky steers, the Southern Region champs were lucky enough to draw four steers they could win on. And they, especially Wood, took advantage of that.
“We had some great steers all week,” Moore said. “In the first round, I was riding and all I saw was an orange rope come by me, and I figured I’d better turn in to heel this one. But it was really aggressive.”
Wood wanted to use their first steer to get a leg up as they journeyed into the long week in Casper, Wyoming. And to make that first run in the Ford Wyoming Center even sweeter for Wood, they got the first-round win.
“Our first steer, I wanted to go be sharp and get ahead for the week, and we were 4.8,” Wood said. “I threw quite a bit at him, and I wasn’t expecting it, but it just set us up for the rest of the week. It felt like it was just going and making practice pen runs all week, and it was exactly what we had planned on doing. And it just worked out.”
Though practice pen runs were the goal, they stayed aggressive, never truly backing down.
“I feel like we were aggressive all week,” Wood explained. “First round was really aggressive, but it didn’t feel like I was trying anything. It just felt fluent. And then the second round I wanted to throw a little bit sooner because the steer was good, but I was like, ‘No, let’s go knock this one down,’ and we were 5.2 still, so it was good. And then in the third round, I was a little off of it and had it running down there a little bit. Tonight was about the same. So, I felt like if I went and safetied up, I maybe would have made a mistake or two and been like, ‘Dang, I should’ve gone ahead and been aggressive.”
Not shying away from the pressure paid off as Wood and Moore had nearly a two-second lead going into Saturday’s championship round.
“We had a good lead, so I really was like, we just need to go make a practice pen run,” Wood said. “Even if we’re longer than any of our other times, we’ll be good. And then it kind of fell apart, and I was like, we just need to go knock him down. We had the steer to go do that on, and I wasn’t worried at all. I was like, I’m going to run him three quarters of the way, and he’s [Logan] going to come around there and heel him as fast as he can, and we’ll be just fine.”
Wood and Moore were 6.5 seconds in the short round to win second in the round and clinch the national title.
Wood took a chance on a newer mount for his week in Casper. He chose to ride his 7-year-old gelding Marty, whom he bought about two months ago. Though they’re a new team, they fit well and already have a win under their belt. Wood won the Lawley’s #16.5 Shootout at the USTRC Cinch National Finals of Team Roping in April with world champion heeler Wesley Thorp behind him.
“He is a winner,” Wood said. “He’s great horse. He can really run and makes it really easy on me. I don’t have to throw as much rope, and I don’t get in certain situations where I feel like I’m behind; I’m always ahead and it just makes it easy. They [the steers] really hit out on the end of it, and it’s good because he rides the end of it and really sets it down, so it works out.”
For Moore, he called on his trusted counterpart: Squid, the 10-year-old bay gelding that helped him win the Southern Region.
“I got him probably five or six years ago, finished him and have been roping on him since,” Moore said. “He’s just really a step-up horse for me, and he always gets me to the end of it and helps me win.”
Wood and Moore will both continue their college career, three more years for Wood and one for Moore.
1. Logan A. Moore (WHARTN)/Slade Wood (SWTXJC) – 22.8/4
2. Quade D. Hiatt (WTXAMU)/Jace R. Helton (WEATHR) – 29.1/4
3. Mason D. Appleton (WOKSC)/Nicholas C. Lovins (WOKSC) – 32.4/4
4. Jace C. Hanks (UVU)/ Wyatt J. Ahlstrom (UVU) – 36.4/4
5. Ty M. Johnson (TXAMUC)/Cooper C. Parsley (PANOLA) – 49.5/4
6. Cobie J. Dodds (FEATHR)/Cole T. Dodds (FEATHR) – 18.2/3
7. Wyatt D. Bray (TARLET)/Cutter Pake Thomison (WTXC) – 18.4/3
8. Chilly Hernandez (NMSU)/Juanito J. Montoya (NMSU) – 21.0/3
9. Clay C. Cherry (CAZC)/Logan P. Cullen (CAZC) – 22.5/3
10. Cam Jensen (UWY)/Tanner W. McInerney (GILLET) – 24.0/3
For full results, click HERE