The Mountain States Circuit's Clayton Van Aken and Cullen Teller won Rodeo Rapid City (South Dakota) after roping their steer in 4.1 seconds, banking $5,273 a man.
“We knew our steer was a little bit on the stronger side but, that was good for there," Van Aken, the Mountain States Circuit's reigning champion header, said. "The steer stayed really straight so it helped out a lot because that arena is pretty small and my horse doesn’t come up the wall very good. The steer kind of even stepped to the right, so it let everything stay in the middle and really flow. It let us get a good finish. There were a lot of guys in our set that got up in the wall and couldn’t really get a flag. It really helped us out a lot."
"Clayton got a good start and he was just going to be really aggressive," Teller added. "5.4 was last hole, so we had to be fast anyway."
Their $5,273 paycheck moved Van Aken and Teller to first in the Mountain States Circuit standings with $5,770.55 each, unofficially.
"To start off the year, that's the best I've ever been in the standings," Teller said. "So far, so good."
Van Aken headed on a 12-year-old sorrel named Clutsy.
"I got my old bay back that I rode a couple years ago but, he’s the one that I click with so I’m not going to get off him until it doesn’t go good," Van Aken said. "He’s the one I ride when the real money is up."
Teller heeled on his old faithful dun horse he calls Dunny.
"I got him a few years ago when he was 15. He's 19 now. He's just old faithful. I have a couple other ones, but they're a little green right now. Dunny is the same every time."