Kaitlin Gustave: What have your preparations for the Finals been like?
Clay Tryan: I get to practice a lot during this time of the year just because there isn’t as many places to go. I have a house in Texas and the weather’s nice, so we rope a lot everyday—roping some like you’re at the WNFR and just roping some regular. I just make sure that I’m roping every day and staying sharp.
KG: How are you feeling going into the finals?
CT: As always excited and hopefully you do good when you get there. The excitement’s pretty fun—that’s what you start the year out for is to make the NFR so it’s always a good feeling this time of year and when you get out there you just have to be prepared for what ever comes your way. But once you’ve roped a lot, you’ve been in any kind of situation anyways so it’s nothing new, it’s just executing what is put in front of you.
KG: Does anything about this years Finals feel any different compared to previous years?
CT: No, it doesn’t to me. It’s been a long time since I’ve been this far behind but no, it feels the same. The only thing about when you get older—it’s not as exciting as it used to be—that’s about it. It’s still exciting to make it. That’s why a guy ropes—is to make big events and rope for big money, so that’s always exciting.
KG: What horses are you taking to the Finals?
CT: I’m going to take Dew and Johnson. Dew is 18-years-old and Johnson is 12-years-old.
KG: How do you feel about your year as a whole? Is there anything that you would go back and change or do differently?
CT: Oh yeah, every year there’s something you’d do different. We did terrible but we made the WNFR so I guess we salvaged a bad year.
KG: Was there ever a time throughout the year that you thought about going home?
CT: No, no, not at all. You finish what you start—that’s how you make it, that’s how we made it. I mean, we didn’t do good at the beginning, did good at the end so it’s just part of it.
KG: The cattle for the Finals are said to be on the smaller end. What are your thoughts on that?
CT: I’ve seen them—I don’t know if they’re much smaller to tell you the truth. We’ve broke them in—I’ve only done it once. They’re still pretty big—they might not be as big as last year or few years randomly but there’s some big ones in there, I know that.
KG: Have you strategized or made any game plans for this year’s Finals?
CT: No, Jade and I have never made a game plan, I don’t think—maybe the last time we won the world we went in and already had it won. I said, ‘Do you want to go for the go-round, too or do you want to make sure we win the average,’ and he says, ‘I’ve never won the average or something, let’s do that.’ Other than that, we never hardly make a game plan—we really don’t discuss much. I think that’s what I’ve loved about our roping is that we kind of understand what we need to do. We don’t need to break it down a whole lot to be successful. But there’s very few guys that you can do that with—there’s only a handful of guys that are like that. Everyone else probably needs a game plan but you know, he’s one of the best ever and I’ve had a decent career. That’s part of being successful, the other guy knows what he’s doing there so just focus on yourself.