RFD-TV Photo by Andy Watson
Kaleb Driggers hasn’t been his usual king-of-the-reach self in 2015. In fact, he’s been entered on the heel side all year, except for at a few select appearances determined by the prior year’s world standings. He made those appearances count—to the tune of $121,034.
Driggers and Travis Graves roped their first steer in 4.36 and their second in 4.52 to win the $100,000 (Driggers’ second consecutive) at RFD-TV’s The American at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas. A night earlier, Driggers took home the win at the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo with Travis Woodard on the heel side, worth $21,034.
“Maybe just lucky, I’m not sure what it is. I haven’t really headed any at all,” Driggers said. “Maybe six or seven on a colt once in a while. I haven’t had any practice. To win a rodeo of this magnitude is awesome no matter what. To repeat in front of the fans, and this year twice as many fans, it’s awesome.”
Driggers and Graves roped together in 2013 and were paired up by default at the American. Driggers headed for Patrick Smith in 2014, who is back roping with Trevor Brazile this year. Graves’ 2015 partner, Chad Masters, did not qualify for the American. They were the odd men out in Arlington, but also the last men standing.
While Driggers’ appearance on the head side might have been surprising for the team roping’s loyal fans, Graves’ unrelenting focus on the heel side is what the sport’s fans have come to expect. The man from Jay, Okla., proved why he’s one of the rodeo’s best in Arlington.
“We’ve roped together at the Champions Challenges this year, but haven’t had any luck. I knew Kaleb has been on a heater right now,” Graves said of his gunslinging partner. “He won San Antone and this was his set up. He spun both steers fast and let me do my job and make my job easy.”
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