When the Champ Talks, We Listen: NFR Round 7 Cheat Sheet

Seven-time PRCA World Champion Heeler Clay O'Brien Cooper hasn't missed a night of the 2021 NFR team roping, and he's saved the videos and watched each run on repeat. Here are his thoughts with four rounds to go.

Cody Snow and Wesley Thorp 

That steer they had last night ran pretty good and Cody did a great job of reaching and sticking it on him. Wesley, he was in a really good spot and just made an outstanding shot. That was a really good run on that steer. They’ve had a few little hiccups this week, but that’s one of the teams that seems like they can really stick to a game plan and stick to their strong suits and do their own thing. I know Wesley had a horse change. The black horse of Wesley’s looked outstanding the first couple nights, and they haven’t had the start of the week they’ve wanted to have, but they have the capabilities to put together some good, fast, snappy consistent runs. When they get in a rhythm, they can make it happen over and over again. 

Full Round 6 Results

Clay Smith and Jade Corkill 

That was a tough steer. he didn’t have the best set of horns, and he runs with his head low. I think if he could do it again, he’d cut deep and try to go for a neck. I don’t remember that steer doing that earlier in the week. Coming over the chute and getting that fast shot, the angles are so critical. When a steer does that to you, where his shoulder is higher than the tips of his horns, that’s a very tough shot. There’s not a lot of guys who would have caught that steer unless they were aiming for the neck. It forces their hand to go for the day money, with three teams—Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira and Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins—with the hammer down. That round got so tough. Those scenarios help or hurt, especially in the rotation of when they’re up. They’re up toward the top of the go-round, that’s a tough call. They’re going to have to come back and make a statement because they lost their position in the average. Fifth in the average is right on the edge. If the other guys stub their toe, they could move right back up. I think they were making such good runs, and Clay’s getting such good starts on that horse, he’s just knocking that barrier out and getting it on them and placing right along high. Maybe you just stay hooked with the same game plan. I remember when Chad and I were battling, every night before we’d run, Chad would say,  “What do you think we should do?” And I just kept saying, “Let’s just rope one more steer like we’ve been doing.” A miss doesn’t do you no good, but a good 4.0-4.1-4.2 will do you a lot of good. You can be 4 every single run. But if you try to be 3.7-3.8, that’s a whole different run. That’s throwing at him and hoping he’s there. That’s not good. 

Erich Rogers and Paden Bray

Man that Erich Rogers. I was talking to a few guys and I was saying that Erich Rogers has got that building and start and throw and getting the rope tight and steer’s head pulled down. He’s been pretty flawless. Some of those steers handled funky and threw Paden out of rhythm. They got dialed back in last night and that was their run. Every night that 4.2 would win second or third. Last night it finally got dirty double tough, but tonight it could turn back around and that will get them a great, great check. Their run is good enough to place every night and they’ll win something in the average. Their run comes from the header starting it off, and Erich Rogers is flawless. 

Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira

Well they were two warriors battling it out with Clay and Jade. Cream rises to the top. Going in, they were in the top three teams. When it all gets rolling, the cream rises to the top. But night for night anything could happen. With both of them breaking the barrier the night before last, that’s just something that happens because you can’t miss the start. But Kaleb has turned six steers. And Junior is going to heel them. They’ll be right in the battle until the very end. It will come down to Round 10 and there will be lots of scenarios that have to play out, but Kaleb and Junior will be in the mix. 

Dustin Egusquiza and Travis Graves

I mean, the old saying, you live by the sword you die by the sword. It can either go really, really good, or not go so good when your amps are turned up that high. The potential was there to put 5-6-7 amazing runs together there and lock the door on everyone else. In that building, if you get it on there dirty fast, there’s no place to go with them. A heeler has two hops in that scenario. Those 4.1-4.2 runs give you another stride or two to work with. It’s hard to be 3.5 over and over again. Once you’ve decided that’s what you’re going to do from the get-go, your plan A is your plan B. I remember when Bobby Hurley and Allen Back won the last five go-rounds to win the world, though, so the ability and everything is there. It’s theirs to go get. 

Quinn Kesler and Joseph Harrison

That was an outstanding run. Quinn, is so talented on both sides, heading and heeling. I remember when I went to the Finals and I went to the Heel-O-Matic booth, and he was 8 or 9, and he wanted to match me on this heeling gummy and we matched. I think I beat him, but he was 9 years old and I was 30 and in my prime. I had to hump up to beat him. His ability with a rope is amazing. He switched over to heading and he can do it as easy as he heels. He might have had a mistake or two at the beginning, but he came right back and spun some good ones. They made an outstanding run last night, and that’s another team that’s got the ability. 

Coy Rahlmann and Douglas Rich

Well, the perfect run is the middle 3 short 3. It’s close to the absolute perfect run in that building. And you’re going to get some of them through the week. A couple of rookies put it together and made the darn-near perfect run and good for them. 

Andrew Ward and Buddy Hawkins

Those guys are just very smart on both sides of the equation. Andrew doesn’t make many mistakes. He doesn’t try to be too fast. He hits the barrier. He takes a good shot, he holds his horse in there and gets his dally good, and he rides his horse good. Their game plan was to come in there and make 10 runs, and they have the ability to do that run after run after run. I don’t see anything changing unless they have a steer that goes down or doesn’t start or do something funky out of their control.

Coleman Proctor and Logan Medlin

They’ve made some good, fast runs. I think Coleman missed one early, and then he’s been spinning them. Coleman is so talented under any kind of situation, he’s real comfortable going really fast. I look to see him just keep spinning them off. It looked like Logan went by on a couple and it hid the steer from him on the first hop. The night they won the round he hit the perfect spot, but twice he’s gotten by on the first hop and he couldn’t see the steer and he’s trying to wait on the second hop and that second hop is getting away from you. You have to hit the right spot on the turn or it’s going to be a tough shot. 

Derrick Begay and Brady Minor

That was an outstanding run. Derrick spun him off nice. He had a couple misses, and Brady roped one leg on a good spin. He’s made a few really good shots. They’re a little hit and miss on both ends, but I’m sure they can put four of those good runs together like they can do. Begay can flat get it on one right now, and Brady can have them when they come around there. Brady is hitting a really good spot there with his horse. When Begay squares them off it shows the horse a really good corner. I like to see Derrick win anyway. 

Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler

The run starts on the header and Rhen is dialed in. He’s sharp with his rope, he’s getting it on tight and bringing it around there. They’ve put some runs together that look like the exact same run. Jeremy is outstanding. Show them that same look every time, and his strong suit is he can get right to the same spot and make the same shot. It’s money. 

Clint Summers and Ross Ashford

They’re hit and miss this week. That wasn’t what they drew up on paper, but now you just have to dog gone make the best run you possibly can. Ross keeps pulling his rope down over his horse’s head, and he’s doing something weird there that he doesn’t normally do. There’s something with the angles and how the horse is finishing his stop. He’s got them caught but he’s got to get it on the horn clean and finish, and I’m sure there’s nobody more frustrated than he is. It’s so frustrating when you do everything right and the last little detail doesn’t happen for you. I’ve been there and done that and I know what it feels like. 

Tyler Wade and Trey Yates

Dang. I think Tyler Wade is so fast. He had his burner turned up. He was just roping and leaving and getting that steer’s head turned around in .05, and he’s got the ability to do it. His horse drops, went over top of the horn and lost his rope. That’s why it’s had to be 3.4. There have been some mistakes, and he hasn’t been the TWade of consistency. If you picked a guy who could spin four of them for first, TWade’s the man. 

Clay Tryan and Jake Long

Well it’s good to see CT put together two good runs back to back.He came back and spun four steers and he’s getting it dialed in. Jake Long has pulled off shots but that’s what Jake Long does. He’s a shot puller offer. Get the steers head turned and keep them in the arena and Jake Long will bring you to the pay window. TRJ