NFR First-Timers: 6 NFR Rookies Prepare for Arlington

Three headers and three heelers are preparing for their first-ever NFR—this time in Texas.
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In the 2020 PRCA world standings line up you will come across six names that are unfamiliar to the jumbotrons at the Wrangler NFR. Three headers and three heelers are preparing for their first-ever NFR—this time in Texas.

Team Roping Journal Extra Volume 16: The 2020 ProRodeo Season Wrap-Up 

Andrew Ward

heading for Buddy Hawkins II 

Andrew Ward

Andrew Ward

The Feeling: I feel honored to be able to go and rope at Arlington (Texas). I’m tickled that they could get it in somewhere. I feel super blessed to be going. I’ve always dreamed of roping in Vegas when I was a kid, but now it’s more that I’m excited for the opportunity to go 10 nights for $15,000. It doesn’t matter where they have it. I’ll go and I appreciate it.

The Preparation: There are so many ropings that are going on right now, so we’re going to try to get through them. As soon as we hear the dimensions then we’ll probably try to make a lot of runs. I have a lot of head horses. We’ll set it up similar to what it would be like in Arlington, maybe put up a rope barrier and see what horse I want to ride.

• NFR Horsepower: I rode Biscuit (10) at every official rodeo but one. I traded for a gray named Snow Man. I’ll probably ride one of them.

Nelson Wyatt

 heading for Levi Lord 

Nelson Wyatt

Nelson Wyatt

• The Feeling: I’m pretty excited about it. I’m looking forward to it and getting to be out there and competing. Everyone asks me since it is my first time if I’m bummed since it’s not in Vegas but, I think it’s cool if it never moves again we will be one of the few people that got to say they roped at the Finals in Arlington.

The Preparation: I feel like it will probably be a short barrier. We’ll try to make aggressive, fast runs, but controlled at the same time. I feel like our team is pretty aggressive natured, so we’ll probably just be aggressive there and not change a whole lot.

NFR Horsepower: It will either be between my grey, (Teddy Bear, 11) or I have a sorrel (Short Go, 16) that I got from Jake Cooper. I’ll ride which ever one will feel the best at the time. I’ll have both of them there, but I don’t know which one I’ll be on until that time gets here.

Jeff Flenniken 

heading for Tyler Worley 

Jeff Flenniken

Jeff Flenniken

• The Feeling: I feel pretty good about it. I’m excited to get down there and practice more with TylerWorley. The whole deal is exciting and a blessing. I’ll be nervous, but I’m just excited to be there. I feel like it’s what I’ve worked for and I feel like I’m ready for it.

The Preparation: I’ve been practicing at about two-under start at home and just going at them.

• NFR Horsepower: It’s either between Tyler Wade’s bay horse or Jason Stewart’s horse. I feel like the steers are going to be a little bit bigger and stronger. My horse is kind of small and I just need something that will get a hold of the steers a little bit more. I’ve been riding Jason’s horse. I have him with me. I was going to try Tyler’s when I got down to Texas.

Logan Medlin 

heeling for Charly Crawford

Logan Medlin

Logan Medlin

The Feeling: It’s exciting to have met this goal, but at the same time I know that I have to keep my head down and keep working at it because there are still other goals that I haven’t met yet. I know that a guy has to be willing to work at it every day because if not, someone else is. I’m relieved to have met this goal, but there’s more goals left to meet in my career and it’s not going to be easy, but we are going to keep grinding. I don’t feel like anyone can say this year was easy. We traveled more miles for less money than we usually do.

The Preparation: I told Charly (Crawford) that this is his 10th time and it’s my first, so whatever he thought we needed to do to get ready then I was in. I’m not one to question. We have some steers set aside that we’re going to practice on, but whenever it gets set in stone with the dimensions, we’ll practice that at some point.

 NFR Horsepower: I feel like Drago will fit that setup good. He gets down the arena good, but he’s also forgiving. I know he’s probably not going to take my throw away from me and that’s worth a lot for me to know that if I need another step out of him, he’ll give it to me. He’s the best one that I’ve got so I’m going to roll the dice with him. I’m going to have another horse that I bought at the beginning of this year. His name is Lynx.

Paden Bray 

heeling for Erich Rogers

Paden Bray

Paden Bray

The Feeling: It was such a reliever to make it this year. I didn’t make it last year and this year isn’t just a breath of fresh air, but it was good to get that goal accomplished. I’m looking forward to Arlington. I wouldn’t say that I belong there, but it’s where I want to be. I look at it as if I’ll have two NFR rookie years.

The Preparation: I’ll probably try to get 40 or 50 head of steers put together. Since the arena is going to be bigger I bet we don’t change up really on how we practice. I’ll be riding probably six head a day. I don’t want to change what I’m doing. I feel like my run is good enough. We’ll probably keep our horses sharp and keep ourselves sharp.

• NFR Horsepower: I’ll probably ride Slider. I’ll bring Hugh Hefner, too. They’re who I had all year, but since that arena is a little bigger I’ll probably ride slider I’d imagine. He’s been feeling outstanding. I was 3.8 on him at Waco, Texas, and he’s feeling phenomenal. I’ve rode him for nine years, so he’s kind of like my pacifier. I’m pretty comfortable on him.

Levi Lord

heeling for Nelson Wyatt 

Levi Lord

Levi Lord

The Feeling: I feel good about it. This is Nelson and my second year roping together. We’re pretty patterned roping together. I’d say this is about the toughest year to make it. We went further miles for less money and everybody was at every rodeo. Every time you showed up in July and August there was 100 teams and it was tough as could be. If you won money this year then you definitely earned it. I looked forward to Vegas, obviously. think we’re more thankful that they’re having it somewhere and it sounds like its going to be really good in Arlington. I look forward to qualifying for Vegas, but for this year we’re just thankful they’re giving us somewhere to go.

The Preparation: We’re going to practice pretty hard in November. Nelson went home to Alabama for a couple weeks. We’re just going to practice how we usually do. We’ll rope some on our good horses and then we have some practice horses. I think our plan is to stay more on the aggressive side. The rounds pay so much so we’re going to try and stick to our run.

 NFR Horsepower: I’m going to ride Little Bay (23). I don’t really have much of a backup plan. I’ve roped so many on him and feel comfortable on him. I don’t see why I would want to do anything different. I have a couple other horses that I’ll probably ride if I have to, but he’s definitely the one I’m planning on riding him. 

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