Clay Tryan talks about the importance of knowing when it's time to be aggressive or when it's time to just go catch.

Some ropers like to be aggressive every single run, and that works for those guys. That’s not always been my game plan. I like to be one of the guys who, if I need to just go catch one, I can just go catch to win a roping or a rodeo. Here’s how I decide.

On a Tough Steer

If you’re at a rodeo, and you have a bad steer, all you can do is try to get a really good start and take an aggressive shot. If you get a great start on the barrier, you have a chance. The key to winning a lot is making the best of the bad steers. The best guys catch the most. They make medium steers look good and make good steers look like the best you’ve ever had.

At the Jackpots

I go off the steers. Hopefully, I’m not up right away and I see the start. It’s only easy if you really have to score—if the steers aren’t leaving, or the timing on scoring is funky. If you have a runner and know it, you try to make as good of a run as you can, then come back on your next one and get back in it. Jackpotting isn’t about who drew the best; it’s about who roped the best. Guys who are good at all these ropings, they can still win if they draw bad. A lot of times guys get a runner and can’t catch them.

No Mistakes

My way of winning is no mistakes ever: no broken barriers, rope when you get there and set them up good to heel. Over the years, that has really worked. But now, it works as long as you’re not in the Open. That theory would work in a #16.5 on down. The Open, you might have to rope out of your comfort zone to win.

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