Situation: Winning run from Round 4 at the 2020 Bob Feist Invitational at the Lazy E Arena
Time: 4.65 seconds
Outcome: Won the round with the fastest run of the Feist, winning $8,000 for the team
a) LAZY E ARENA:
I liked the fact that we had more arena. For that kind of setup, I liked having that much more arena because it made it more fair. If you draw a strong one, you’re not out of it. If you draw one that runs left, you’re not out of it. Everyone is going to draw strong ones. If you get lucky and draw the loper, then you’re going to get to go fast. It gives everyone a better chance. You don’t have to draw great every time.
b) THE ROUND:
It was actually pretty tough. Clay Tryan and Jake long were like 5.1. I think 5.8 was winning last hole. It’s tough to be even a middle 5 in that arena. You have to draw perfect, which we ended up doing and end-ing up maxing them out.
I think it was a 19-foot box and 20-foot score. It was tough for scoring on any steer there because you’ve obviously got the really strong ones and then you have the lopers. Everyone knows, if you break the barrier, you’re done—doesn’t matter how fast you go. You have to see extra on the really good ones, but when you can just drill the barrier on the good ones, then it makes it that much easier to be fast.
I think my partner did a really good job. That was a tough go on a really good steer. We’d been running hard running steers—tricky steers—the whole roping. Then, to back in the box and score the loper and drill the barrier and be able to do our job without falling in the rut of running the strong steers and being used to seeing one thing. It’s really cool to be able to see him step back and see the loper, how far he needed to see him and still go win on the steer you’re supposed to win on.
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d) CORY CLARK:
This is kind of a new deal. He and I just started roping. I really like it. I’ve never really had this much confidence going into the summer. We haven’t done great at the Pro Rodeos so far, but we’ve been roping good and winning at the jack-pots. We have a good chemistry going. I think it’s going to go great.
I didn’t really know him. I didn’t really know any of the steers because that’s not really my job, that’s my partner’s job I feel like. They told my partner that he was really good. When he left the box, he threw his head up waiting on us to come. It happened fast. I hadn’t caught up to a steer like that all day long, and then the next thing you know we’re on top of one. Cory spun him, and we wiped him out.
Cory and I are getting to where we’re on the same page as far as the run goes. He kind of knew where I was. My loop was pretty easy as far as all I had to do was set it down there. My partner was just going to pull the steer into it. I knew how it was shaping up and I was just a shape behind, and I knew crossfire was legal, so I was going to start throwing as soon as the head bent. Cory opened him up at the perfect time and, as soon as I saw his head go, I knew all I had to do was lay it there and dally.
With runs like this one on a slower steer, when you’re coming in on a shot like that and you’re throwing fast, a lot of people will throw and pull their slack and dally too fast. There’s so much momentum toward the cow that if you don’t hold your slack up that long, then it will fall down and you’ll either lose both feet or slip a leg. You kind of have to let the steer go away from you and get your slack. It might be a bad habit that I pulled my hands apart. I try to drag as much slack out of it as I possibly can to keep him on a tighter rope so I don’t risk losing legs.
I was really riding leaving the box. I didn’t want my horse to lean on me to the left, so I was trying to ride him around my left leg as much as I could without staying too wide for that shot. If you’re too wide, then your horse will cut you off and you won’t really get a good throw. You also can’t be too far to the inside because it takes too long to get tight—there’s too much slack. I quit riding so hard when the head rope when on. I went to kind of playing defense as far as my riding. I was trying to keep him in the right spot to where we didn’t have too much momentum going to the cow when I threw.
Max—we raised him. He’s been with me for a very long time. I think he’s 12 now. He was my practice horse. I ran so many every day on him and he was good all day, every day. I learned how to catch on him, and I felt like I could catch every steer. I decided to get off my good horse and get on my practice horse at the rodeos. He just lets me win. He’s honest. He never tries to get me and get tight. He tries hard every time. Every time I unload him off the trailer, he gives 100% and he always fires. He may not be the best athlete in the world, but he’s not going to waste any steps and he’s not going to try to take your rope or anything like that.