Third Round, Montana Circuit Finals
Arena-record-breaking 3.8-second run, worth $2,440 a man
a) Steer: He wasn’t the pick of the pen. He was one of the stronger ones, but as the weekend went on, the stronger ones got to being pretty good. I didn’t like him when I knew what I drew, but he ended up not being as fast as he was the first night.
b) Starting: The start at the Circuit Finals is just horn to the end of the gate—a little more than the NFR, but not very long at all. Thinking he was going to run, I was anticipating him going harder and I got a really good start.
[READ: Clay Smith Breaks Down a First-Steer Run in a Tough Field]
c) What’s On the Line: I wanted to be 5-flat or under. We had a leg on the first one, and we were sixth in the average going into the final round. I’d won Round 2 and given myself an outside shot at the circuit.
d) Shot: I got such a great start, and he was right there. They were 3.9 a couple teams ahead of me, and that kind of got me fired up. That’s the kind of run I really wanted to make to give us any sort of chance. A lot of times, you try to be 3, and you run over yourself. That time, I was trying to make the same run I made in the second round, but, the way it set up with the start, I got on that steer, it just happened fast.
e) Horse: This is Nolan and Kate Conway’s mare, Jewel. I’ve ridden her at the Circuit Finals three of the last four years. That’s her setup right there. She’s strong to the horn and she faces good.
[READ: Catching Close: Nelson Wyatt Breaks Down a Rancho Rio Run]
f) Slack: I had a lot of rope out there. I wanted to make sure I got it tight before I actually started to turn off.
g) Feet: She’s ready to come back a lot right there but, if I push her up and give my partner one more hop up there and can pick the steer up, that allows Ike another jump before I hit the fence and run out of room.
h) Body Position: I was trying to stay square to get all the slack out of my rope.
i) Result: It’s wild, but the five guys ahead of us had trouble and we ended up winning the round and winning the average, which was enough to help me win the circuit to get me and my partner Ike Folsom to the NFR Open next spring.