Roping behind Dustin, my game plan revolves around getting a good start out of the box. At the NFR this month, that will be just as true. In the past, I roped one way all year, and then tried to rope faster at the Finals. But with Dustin, I’ve gotten to practice for the NFR all year, because that’s just how we rope.
My thought process is to ride until my shot presents itself and not predetermine where I’m going to throw. So now, knowing that my shot is going to come fast because of how Dustin ropes, my thought process is being ready for when that shot presents itself.
I have to get the correct start out of the box—meaning I can’t leave as soon as the gates bang and send the steer left and I can’t let him get so far out ahead of me that I can’t catch up.
I want to be aggressive, not just sitting, along for the ride. I want my weight in my stirrups, my body in a good position to have power to bring my swing up, and give myself the ability to ride through the turn with balance and power. From the time I pick my horse up and move out of the box, if I press down on the balls of my feet and put pressure in my stirrups, that gives me power to have my swing up and have it in the right place.
One thing that’s important for me both at the NFR and daily, even though it happens fast, is having patience. I’ve got to do everything—all those things I’ve talked about—and I can get to over running them if I’m not careful. A steer really can’t get away at the NFR, so I have to ride good, have patience and be ready for the first available shot but not try to force it. It’s key there to have patience but be ready at all times for that first good hop that comes out of there.