Trial and Error
I grew up reaching, so that’s been where I was the most comfortable. But over the years, I’ve done a ton of trial and error. I go to ropings every day, and sometimes I’m doing something wrong, and then doing stuff right, and learning when to do what. San Antonio is always one of my favorite rodeos of the year, but my other favorite rodeos are Pendleton, Salinas and Cheyenne, so I really do have to focus on riding my horse and roping the steer.
Now I have an idea of what each roping will be like before it starts, and what the setup will be like. Here lately, I’ve been starting out just catching the first one and speeding up if I need to. I sped up a little bit too much in the first round at the BFI this year, and I caught up pretty fast and I missed. I could have just laid up and caught him and sped up later, but I’ll remember that next year.
I feel like I’ve grown a little more, and I’m not just a one-header kind of guy. Over the years, I’ve tried to buy a horse or two that works more like what the guys who are great jackpotters and versatile ropers ride.
Knowing What Works
While I’ve been making adjustments, in a situation like the Lone Star Shootout, when we had to be 5.5 at high call to win the roping, I knew my horse was tight and he’d duck. It would have been really hard to just lay up.
At that point, it’s too late—you can’t stop the roping and go home and practice. If I’d have had another horse, I’d have gotten on him, really. I was thinking, “Ride across the line, use your legs and take the shot you see.” And, I took it.