Tonight’s the night Derrick Begay rides into the Thomas & Mack Center to rope at his 10th Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He will, as always, do his best. But he’s old enough and wise enough now to realize that roping here with his best friend, Colter Todd, isn’t as much about the winning and losing as the part about getting to do it together. And in the blink of an eye, Begay’s baby girl, Brindle Mae, is growing up. It’s time to soak up and savor every moment, and Begay knows it.
“It’s not as much about the roping for me here this year,” Begay said. “Yeah, that’s what we’re all here for, and we want to try and make as much money as we can. But I want to see the look on Colter’s face when he rides back into that building tonight. Things like the look on his wife and kids’ faces at the back number ceremony will be the most memorable stuff that will last the longest for me.
“And getting to be here with my little girl is different now. She loves escalators, swimming pools and big bath tubs, and she’s old enough now to know what M&M World is. She’s getting more fashionable now, too, and wants to wear sparkles.
“Luke Brown is the oldest guy here this year. I’m one of the old guys now, too, and I’m going to mess with him and the new guys, like Jake Clay. I’m going to take it all in in the grand entry, and enjoy all the looks on everyone’s faces as we experience this together. I know what I’m getting myself into with the roping part. It’s all the rest of it that I’m looking forward to most this year. That’s the good stuff that will last a lifetime.”