The Short Score: Winning RFD-TV’s The American with Paden Bray
The Short Score on March 9, 2021 with special guest Paden Bray.

Paden Bray is our special guest on this episode of “The Short Score”.

This is the first time we’ve had Paden on the podcast. While these interviews are usually pretty short on “The Short Score”, this one, we got a little lengthy because we had a lot to talk about. He just won $100,000 heeling for Erich Rogers at RFD-TV’s The American, and he took time out of his day to chat with Chelsea Shaffer about his win. 



Paden Bray: When that steer hit and at one moment he was right beside my heel horse. I was like, I literally just told myself, stay down. Instantly, I was like, don’t panic. Just really stay forward in your saddle and put your rope on the ground and see what happens.

Chelsea Shaffer: This is Chelsea Shaffer, and this is Season four of “The Score”. You all have listened to this podcast three-quarters of a million times, and we are here in Season four to bring you even more of what you love.

Hey everybody. This is Chelsea Shaffer. Welcome to “The Short Score”. This is The Team Roping Journal’s weekly news update podcasts, that for the most part, I have turned over to Kaitlin Gustave, who is my assistant editor, but right now she is getting ready for a very busy week. Kaitlin is leaving for the Cinch Timed Event Championships.

That’ll start Thursday, so you’ll want to watch all of her coverage, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday from the Lazy E. And then of course, Sunday, she will be at the BFI. So we will have podcasts with the winners of the Cinch Timed Event Championships. The winner of the Cinch Timed Event Championship I should say, and the BFI winners.

So it’s going to be a really big week for Kaitlin. She’s going to be there. She just came from the NTR Finals down in Wickenburg where she lives. So we’ve been using her pretty heavily lately. So we were all watching The American at home. So I called Paden Bray today to visit with him and he is who our guest is on “The Short Score” today.

This is I think the first time I’ve had Paden on a podcast while these interviews are usually pretty short on “The Short Score”, this one, we got a little lengthy because we had a lot to talk about. He just won $100,000. Him and Erich Rogers were just flawless. If you are interested in a little bit more, I’ve got their horses papers up on, and you’ll also be able to see a replays of their runs, courtesy of The Cowboy Channel.

So check that out at the and enjoy this interview with Paden Bray.

Paden Bray: Hello.

Chelsea Shaffer: Hello. How are you?

Paden Bray: All good.

Chelsea Shaffer: Are you on your truck’s speakerphone. Cause I can barely hear you.

Paden Bray: Yes ma’am. Want me to take it off?

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah, take it off. Cause it’s like really quiet.

Paden Bray: How about now?

Chelsea Shaffer: Crystal clear. That’s perfect.

Paden Bray: Perfect.

Chelsea Shaffer: You sound like a rich man?

Paden Bray: I don’t know if anyone’s rich if you do what I do.

Chelsea Shaffer: It’s gotta be about the richest you’ve ever been though. Huh? It’s exciting.

Paden Bray: Yes, ma’am. Absolutely by far. I’m going to just try to hold my breath and put all in different spots and different safe spots. So we’ll see.

Chelsea Shaffer: Do you have any investment goals?

Paden Bray: Not really. I just actually, I bought a really nice prospect that Joseph Harrison has had for a few months after the finals. And man, I’m pretty doing pretty good. I got a truck. I probably should buy a trailer, but when I’ve been rodeo and I usually take my truck and Erich’s trailer, so haven’t quite invested in one of those yet, but that’ll probably my next investment. I’m just going to try to keep it away in a safe spot and invest maybe a little bit of it and then save some of it. Act like I don’t have it.

Chelsea Shaffer: Now how many times… you’ve been to AT&T as a qualifier before, right?

Paden Bray: Yes ma’am in 2017. I think I was, I was 18.

Chelsea Shaffer: I remember. Yeah. How did it differ this year? How did it feel?

Paden Bray: I dang sure. Wasn’t so much had that shock factor, I guess I should say, uh, when a burden and I made it, the stars lined up and you know, it was, I’m not saying it was different back then, but back then you had to, uh, It was pretty, it was promoted a lot more.

Like they didn’t have qualifiers until like January of this year, but, uh, back in 2017, it was a big American was a big deal. And they had the side pot, which was 500 Adam at the biggest opens of the year. Like you had a hall to go to the Romans and then you got to know the qualifier and then you got to be the top 10 and you’ve got to catch all four steers.

Now a guy kinda duck off pay $375. And then if five teams enter. Just, you can get a spot pretty much. Or if there’s six or seven teams entered just the PR person that catches them on the most ears is to go, is to qualification. So back then it was way more strict and way more people did it. And now it’s a little bit different, but you know, back then it was really, really tough.

And the fact that star did line up with Bird, I didn’t make it, but it’s probably a truly a blessing. And when we did make it as like, you know, you plan and enter to make it, but when it happened, it was kind of like. I tried to act like I wasn’t surprised, but you know, I was pretty surprised. Yeah. 

I just that’s, that’s the, I will say that is a big difference. You know, I feel like four years ago, there’s no way I’m going to heal that this year, but. Now, I’m not saying I got to go in on, I know what I’m doing, but I feel like I control my emotions a little bit better. And you know, my re actins a little better and know when that steer hit like that.

Erich did a great job. Just has too, they were really good set of steers, Jordan Weaver had put them together, but they were fresher and they were Mexicans. So when you put them in an arena like that, they probably have never been in there like that. They just have been in Alvarado. So when you kind of put them in that kind of setup, one-under barrier and it’s pretty full-contact, you know, you’re going to have a little bit of freshness, a little bit of differential between a few steers, but most of the time you can tell by the time students were very, even done a great job, but the other without one was a tick on the fresher side.

And I went to both those jackpots and they roped them out and they were really, really good sense steers, but they hit, in one moment he was right beside my heel horse. I was like, I literally just told myself, stay down instantly. I was like, don’t panic. Just really stay forward and your saddle and put your rope on the ground and see what happens.

But don’t, I think the guy right there tightens his swing up and tries to knife it out. Even if you don’t ever touch that steer, but I just try to stay real soft and open it. Didn’t try to panic and didn’t try to change anything. So I was very blessed to make that shot work and it, it was. It was pretty, uh, it was pretty crazy shot and I show the big screen and I kind of looked at it.

I was like, gosh, dang, that really just happened. But I was even kind of surprised. Yeah, I was going, I w I wondered if you surprised yourself with that shot. I mean, I know, you know, you’re good, but that was really impressive. Right? Well, that’s kind of, one of them deals where you’re just kinda in that middle state of mind where you just was, everything was really slow motion and I can control the run.

And it was just kind of step-by-step I’m like, okay, I need another one. Okay. Stay down, really place your rope and then finish. And then it kind of happened just like that. So thank gosh. I was kind of real, mainly prepared and kind of just kind of talked my way through that one instead of just turning and firing it.

Chelsea Shaffer: How pleased were you with Slider? 

Paden Bray: Oh my gosh. He was so spot on, like that was. Hours hours. I don’t know if he’s the best horse, but he’s the best horse to me. You know, he was, he stayed forgiving right there, even though he, he ran into the sphere because the steer, the one man I’m change was very drastic. I mean, we were going full contact.

She was out in front of us, Erich reached and roped him. And then the steer just completely hit the brakes and was trying to fight his head and he just stayed, pushed up and let me just stay soft and stay forgiving and finished. And I would say 99% of horses would have wigged out and kind of just got tight and took the complete throw away.

And then the next two runs, it was like they off back there, Eric set him up and I just went one, two, three, and he, this was spot on. He would, he felt so good at strong finishes. I burned dye rubber every time my dad laid on him for those tears. Cause I was kind like excited and pull it back a little bit and he just strong and he felt good.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah. Tell me about those last two. I mean. It just look so easy for you guys. Did it feel just so easy? 

Paden Bray: Yes, ma’am yesterday. I like the first one, like, it was pretty drastic. A couple of things happened, but you know, there’s a couple of curve balls, but we, we got by them. Good. But the second two, I mean my head or just flat out, come on train and just hit the barrier and guide in front of them, steers and rope going to them.

And they were in tow and I just literally kept them in front of me and sagging hot both times and just the momentum was good. The run was easy and it was very forgiving and it felt very consistent. You know, we were five, two, five, one, and five flat, and he did a great job and set them up. And I just did my job.

It run felt easy because if it really was easy, he did, they was set up. 

Chelsea Shaffer: Perfect. And he was still on the mare. That’s your family’s right? 

Paden Bray: Yes ma’am. Erich on that mare is nothing nice. I think they’ve, he’s won almost, I bet he’s won over $300,000 on that mare. 

Chelsea Shaffer: That’s so cool. What a cool mare. I mean, she’s quickly becoming one of the top mares in history. I think, you know, I think Hali has half-a-million won on her. Dolly’s got close to a million won on her, but this one is racking up racking up the money quickly. 

Paden Bray: Yes. Ma’am any time Erich gets on that mare, it’s kind of game time, but we’ve we both been—the mare and a Slider, we both, I don’t really ride them that much. I’ve just been riding them at the big ones, you know, and we got on them at, uh, Odessa. We rode them at San Antone and then Jackson, and that’s kinda about it. Like, I haven’t, I’ve got some really good horses, uh, underneath Slider I’ve been able to jackpot on them a lot and they’re really good to jackpot on, but we kind of saved them too.

We kind of just save them for the winter. It really counts for a lot of money. So yeah. They both been doing great. They both are just so solid. They let Erich and I just be Erich and I, and it does do really good for us. Cause then they just, they stay out of our way, but they do their jobs so well, and it just, we both had a lot of confidence on them.

Chelsea Shaffer: Yeah. Yeah. I think it obviously shows, it looked like it was so much just so much fun for you guys this weekend. That’s a lot of flow. It looks easy. Yeah. Yeah. It, it certainly does. It shows that you guys have been roping since you were a kid. Um, at least in the practice pen. Anyhow. Um, now tell me, Paden, you have been around all the best in the world, your whole life and. There was certainly a lot of expectation when you were rookie and coming up, how do you feel about your place now? Do you feel fully like you belong? 

Paden Bray: Um, I would, yes, I would say so. You know, it’s, uh, it kinda sounds funny, but when I first got the, uh, the job deal for Erich and you know, I’m not saying that there was a little pressure because, you know, not, I don’t think. Not that it matters, but, you know, I was just, you know, as a 19 year old kid, I’m just, just in college and just, you know, it was one of the heel steers and I was the one to go for the first time did had some goals, you know, I set my goals pretty high, but then Erich come along and just pick me up and it’s like, Oh my gosh.

Like, you know what I mean? It’s kinda like, you know, you’re kinda, my life just kind of changed right there. Grow up. And I had to learn how to win and I had to learn how to catch. And I learned how to do my job pretty fast because, you know, I have arguably the best header in the world and I’m just a kid.

So it was kind of, there’s a little bit of pressure there. And not that Erich put pressure on me, but just, you know, it’s just that pressure that you’re supposed to do good. You’re supposed to make it cause you got the, you got a top five header and you know, uh, come up short in your rookie year and learn so much.

And I honestly. It was probably the best thing ever happened to me, me not making the Finals. My first year, it would really was it kind of pissed me off. Not that I feel like I belong there. I didn’t, I didn’t feel like I have that entitlement, but I just felt I just came so close from making it, and it really just lit an extra fire in me.

And I went to work on it. Uh, my coach and my best friend, Marty Becker, and I, I went to his house. I did two-a-days and I just, everything I learned from the previous year I really put into the next year. And last year I was really pleased with my performance. And then I really believe chemistry does work in each for rope with a guy, but Erich and I got a really good run, but together we both got a lot of confidence together and, you know, we do so well and we have opportunities because Erich gives me a lot of opportunities and I’ve been able to do my job, capitalize on them.

And I just think. I really don’t have confidence in me, belonging somewhere. I just feel like I have more confidence in Erich and then in my run and I have confidence in myself where I know if I just be myself, it should be Paden Bray to do my job. Don’t worry about anything else. And then it’ll all come together.

And so, I mean, I feel like the accolades and accomplishments that are starting to rack up a little bit more or they’re racking up faster than I ever thought they would, but I’m just going to try to keep my head down and keep being me and just keep doing my job for him. 

Chelsea Shaffer: So you’re finishing up school right now. What year are you? 

Paden Bray: Uh, I’m uh, I don’t know how to say it. I’m a junior senior kind of, I don’t know if you want to combine those two, but uh, I’m just trying to finish up. I got probably, I think I got, Oh shoot, maybe 30 hours left. So maybe two semesters, two and a half semesters full. Depends on how they below that take.

Chelsea Shaffer: How important is it for you to finish school? Um, while you’re rodeoing. 

Paden Bray: It’s it’s, you know, I want to say it’s not important. I don’t care about it. Especially showing up, when you win a hundred thousand, and you show up at 8:00 AM the next day, it was kinda like, gosh, dang, I really don’t want to show up, but I know I need to get it done.

And, um, I just keep telling myself, you know, it’s only another year you’re gonna get it done. So it’s really important for me. You know, I want to have something to fall back on. I don’t want to be just the rodeo guy. I won’t get it. You know, kind of a dumb healer, you know, I want to have a little bit more going on than that just in case if something does happen and, you know, I want to be able to, I mean, I’m a major in business.

I want to be able to know what’s going on. If I do get a job or, you know, maybe if echo brand’s higher and maybe if I get a job there sometime tied ropes or something, and I’ll, I have a little bit of, uh, some those show for it that I actually put in the work did my schoolwork just like everyone else and not just, just some handed down.

So it’s important to me and my family that I get my. Get my degree in business and get my, get it done. And then after that, I’m going to park my rig at the ceremony and walk across the stage. And I’m never going to look back. So I can’t, but until then, I’m going to keep my head down and keep trying to get all my schoolwork done.

Chelsea Shaffer: Absolutely. Or the College Finals in your future, or have you kind of left college rodeo behind? 

Paden Bray: No, ma’am no, ma’am, I’m still in college rodeo. And actually since COVID hit last year, they canceled our college finals. They gave everyone a year of eligibility back. And I’ll be this next, this year will be my fourth year.

The next should be my fifth year. And honestly I can go back again and I, I do enjoy the college rodeos. I wrote Gaz. I, uh, kinda ride on my greener horses at the college rodeos and I don’t pay bad and I can kind of go one day and it’s one of the short and, uh, I got her, I go to a really great school. I go to Tarleton state university and they just bought a nice facility in Stephenville—Clinton Anderson’s old facility. And, uh, I’m really proud to be part of their team and, you know, I’ve got a great relationship with their coach, and I enjoy it even for him. A

So I enjoy going. I get to calf rope, and I want to win the college finals almost about as a gold buckle. So that’s, that’s, that’s one of the goals. 

Chelsea Shaffer: I love it. I didn’t realize that. I, I knew you had been college rodeoing, but didn’t know if that got kind of pushed to the wayside. Um, now this is the week of the Timed Event. What’s your Timed-Event-helping schedule look like? 

Paden Bray: Oh gosh, it’s pretty hectic right now. Uh, I said, I’m just going to practice and I’ve been tuning on a Haven Meged tonight in practice. Um, I’ve been getting him going. He’s riding one of my heel horses, and he’s riding one of my family’s head horses.

And then, uh, Rogers is riding a head horse and a heel horse of ours too. You’ve add my heel horse there and then, uh, we’ve been kind of practicing for that. And then, uh, I’m getting my calf horse ready for him to go up there. So I’m just trying to get a lot of horses lined out and then we’re taking Roger’s rig, Haven’s rig, I’m taking rig, and then I’m going to heel for them to in the big time event.

And then I got two junior guys I’m heading and heeling for. So I’ll be ready by the BFI. I should have everything dialed in in that arena. 

Chelsea Shaffer: That’s for sure. Yeah, I would think so. Or else you’re going to be tired. 

Paden Bray: No, it’s good. I, I I’ve been going up there for, shoot, ever since I was a freshmen in high school, I was just a stall boy for Bird and Rogers up there and got to go take care of stuff for them and keep horses, getting horses ready and stuff like that.

So, that, uh, I kind of learned a lot, you know, I got to get turned loose with them. It used to make me so nervous to get out of the house. Yeah. A little bit and kind of see how it was done and, you know, see how they compete, see how they can shake off when they don’t do good. So that was pretty cool. And then I think I spent, I was a senior Erich thought I would do the good enough job and I got to help in over there/

I’d help Erich the past three or four years. So I enjoy it. It’s a great event. I enjoy going to be a part of it day. 

Chelsea Shaffer: Gosh, I remember you as a kid there with them and I would. I would text your mother and be like, ‘Are you sure you are ready to leave him with Bird and Rogers?’

Paden Bray: Oh my gosh. I thought it was great. I got to have fun. I could say whatever I want and kind of do whatever I want. And then I got to drink all the soda in the world, but amazing. No, I used to, and I, I see my mom, her whole life. She never had. So did the house. You never had none of that.

And so I kind of got away from the house. I mean, that’s the first thing I did was go buy Dr. Pepper out, out of the wazoo, just drinking soda all the time because my mom never had the house and she didn’t make me drink it. So. I was a little rebel. I was getting away from her drinking soda. I remember it.

Chelsea Shaffer: Well, that’s awesome. And now, Hey, are you guys, $50,000 counts toward the world standings. That’s a pretty nice cushion to have right now. Is that going to change how you rodeo this year or are you going to rodeo harder than ever?

Paden Bray: Um, well, if it was up to me, I would act like they didn’t have that, but.

You know, I think, but I wouldn’t say we’re going to rodeo harder. I just think we’re going to rodeo smarter. Uh, Eric’hs two horses. He had two freak accidents happen to his horses. Uh, one of them kind of went lame and then his good bay Hotshot, My brother took an Arizona and jackpot on him and one, won decent on him out there.

My brother did really good I’m out there, but he got sick. He got an equine influenza and he got pneumonia and he just. It was just a, just a freak deal. There’s a couple horses that had it around here and just freak deal that Erich’s horse got it. So he’s, his two are just getting back and then, so I don’t, I’m not saying we’re not going to rodeo hard.

I think we’re going to be very selective in where we go, but if it was up to me, I just would, um, I’m young and dumb. I want to rotate, like I don’t have it. Won’t have anything won. You know, we’ve had a really good winter as it is. We’ve won $10,000. We placed it almost every single year. We’ve been to this winter.

But I don’t want to, I don’t want to back off any cause you know, I think the guy sits in his chair at the end of the year. I want to say, you know what? I gave it, my all, I went to every rodeo I could, I made every sphere count. You know, if it was up to me, if I do in the world, if the stars line up, I want to win it by more than 50 grand, because I want to have that good of a year.

And I want to have that good of a Finals because I just feel like if you just sit around on it and think you got it made around here with these guys, I think that’s when they’re going to catch it. 

Chelsea Shaffer: Very good, sir. Thank you so much. I so appreciate your time right now. Paid in. Thank you for always. I have told you this every time we talk being the absolute professional and all things, uh, willing to, to visit with me.

Paden Bray: Yes, ma’am absolutely. Anytime. All right. Have a good one, Peyton. Appreciate it. Thank you. Bye bye.

Chelsea ShafferThanks everybody for listening. Before you go. Remember team rail brink is where you will find all of Caitlin’s coverage from the cinch timed event championships this weekend at the lazy Ian Guthrie, we are so excited. This is an event that we have been covering for so many years. It’s a really special event to me personally, the team at the lazy has been so gracious yes.

To us over the years. And I thank them for their partnership. Same with the team at the BFI that we’re looking forward to coming up on Sunday. I can’t wait to bring you those interviews. Uh, it’s the first time that Caitlin will get to do them and she deserves it. She’s been doing a great job lately. So hope y’all let us know what you think.

If you are listening to the short score, if you’re listening to the regular score. Okay. Leave us a review on iTunes on your Apple podcast app scroll the whole way to the bottom down below all those hundreds of episodes we’ve given you and give us however many stars you think we deserve. Write a review.

I promise we have read and memorized. Every review everyone has ever left us. They mean a lot. We absolutely want to hear from you. We want to hear what you want to see the rest of, or hear the rest of the year, the rest of the season on the score. And thank you so much again for being here. And a little birdie told me if you’ve listened this far to the episode, there’s going to be a bonus episode later in the week.

And it’s not exactly about the time event. It’s not exactly about the BFI. It’s an audio roping lesson that I’m so excited for. So if you have listened again this far into this episode, you know, now that a bonus episodes coming later in the week. TRJ

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