With $110,792 won the year thus far, South Dakota native Levi Lord has jumped into the driver’s seat of the heeling world standings. On this episode of The Short Score, Lord talks about how he’s feeling at this point in the year and what it means to him to be in this position.
*NOTE: Since the recording of the episode, money has been added to Levi’s total in the standings.
Taylor Vollin: You’re the new No. 1 heeler in the world standings, how are you feeling?
Levi Lord: It’s a pretty cool feeling. I’ve tried to kind of realize that it doesn’t really matter too much, except for a couple days out of the year, whether you’re number one or not. Obviously you’d like to win the regular season, so October 1st, and then obviously at the end of the year. But to be at number one at any point in the year obviously means you’re having a good year and have been winning a lot. Everybody ropes so good, and to get to that spot at some point in the year is a pretty cool feeling. I texted my mom and dad and they were all pumped about it, so it’s nice to see your name up there. Definitely have to keep winning because you won’t be first for very long if you don’t keep winning. So, we’re just going to try to keep doing what we’ve been doing, finish the season strong and get ready for the Finals.
TV: When did you realize that you had bumped up to number one?
LL: It kind of came at a weird time because it was when all those results and standings and stuff were down. So we were trying to figure it out; that’s kind of our goal is to go in number one and try to win the regular season. So we’re not really close to the end of the season yet, but we always try to kind of keep track of it. We were trying to figure out what results people had coming in and how much money they had coming in, but I kind of knew middle of last week, whenever Spanish and Ogden and that week was over, I thought that I’d kind of won enough to get there. Then they finally updated it and I guess I did. So, I knew about middle of last week, probably.
TV: Is it a goal for you and Dustin to win the regular season?
LL: Yes, obviously on paper it means you won the most and had the best year, so you have the best chance of winning the world going into the Finals. But also it’s kind of a prestigious thing for everybody, it means you roped really good all year; it’s a long season, everybody knows that, and it takes a lot to be able to do it. I’ve never done it, I think Dustin’s done it once. So it’s just a pretty cool accomplishment that we’re trying to work towards. And like I said, everybody ropes so dang good, we might not be number one by the time this even gets out or something, so you gotta just win as much as you can.
TV: : I know there’s still a lot left in the season, but you guys have had a great year so far.
LL: It’s been a great year. We talk about it every week, kind of how things are going. We had a pretty good winter and then that just kind of spurred into being able to have a little bit of pressure taken off when you get out here. It’s not like you’re just. We showed up to Reno maybe in the top five, and that just makes it easier to go out there and do your job. Then we had a good Fourth, and after that, I think we hit kind of the safe mark where everybody thinks it’s good to make the Finals. So, that’s been relieving for both of us knowing that we have that chance; we’re for sure going to go to Vegas and have the chance at the money and all that. No matter how good everybody ropes, it’s definitely not guaranteed when you start the year out, you still have to win $100,000 to make it that far. People might think it’s just guaranteed for everybody because they rope so good, but it’s nice to get to that number and actually have it made. Then just try to build off that, and it’s been a good year. I think we’ve definitely left some money on the table, too, I think we should be doing better. I wouldn’t even say we’ve had mistakes, I think we’ve been roping well, but there’s just been some fluke deals on both ends where I think we’ve had some big chances slip through our fingers. So, we’re going to try to cut those to a minimum.
TV: What have been your most important or best wins this year so far?
LL: I think the one that pops out is, obviously, San Antonio. It’s kind of the first big winter rodeo, and Dustin’s really good everywhere, but I think he really shines in those buildings and stuff. When I was back in there with him this winter, it’s like, if I just do my job, we’re going to have $60,000-$70,000 won by the time summertime rolls around. So to be able to win there and kind of take a little bit of weight off our shoulders because we had such high expectations coming into it to be able to win something like that.
TV: Reflecting on years past, what do you think has made this year different from the others?
LL: Roping with Dustin has just helped me out tremendously. Our partnership seems to work well together. We’ve been best friends and just his skill level on top of whether you’re strangers with him or friends with him, he would be easy to win with; he turns so many steers and I’ve got two good horses. I’ve got the two horses that I want that I feel like I can ride anywhere and be competitive.
TV: With plenty of time left on the year, how does knowing that affect you?
LL: We’re a long ways away from what it’s going to take to win the regular season. But I haven’t really been thinking about that; it’s just trying to go and make a living. Just have good weeks. It would be nice to get up there and win the regular season, and that’s what we’re working towards, but we know we’re not even close to the number it’s going to take to win it, so we just have tp do our job. Keep roping well and just hope we win enough. We can rope as good as we can and still not win it because there’s guys like Kaleb, Junior, Tanner and Nelson and they all have a lot of money won to it and obviously they all rope well, and it’s definitely not going to be easy, but we’re going to try it on.