Riley Minor on Going up the Fence

Q: Dear Riley,
It seems like more and more you guys are roping in small setups, especially during the winter in the buildings. How do you create a good handle for your heeler and still be fast in that situation? How do you know when that left fence is coming up? How do you get a good face when you’re up against the wall? I know I’ll probably never be roping at the Thomas and Mack, but I’m curious how you guys do it.

Todd, Moses Lake, Wash.

A: I had never ridden that horse before. It’s Jay Adams’s Geronimo. I ran five steers on him that morning, actually, and he’s got to be one of the best horses I’ve rode, if not the best. He scores and can fly. He’s fast.

We were doing so good all year and then we had a slow summer. What we did at Puyallup is what made us the Finals, starting on this steer and finishing the rest of them. (Riley and Brady Minor were 5.6 on this steer and went on to be reserve champs at the Puyallup Pro Rodeo stop on the Ariat Playoffs).

I got the steer’s head back and I’m getting ahold of Geronimo. I want to get his head bent before I duck away. Once I get the head, I’m going to go with him.

I’m just trying to get him squared up as quick as I can so he doesn’t crossfire. The steers are pretty old and dead, but this horse wants to be a little freer, so you really have to get a hold of him to make him come back, and that’s what I’m trying to do here.

I’d say Brady’s in pretty good position. He could be a little further around the steer, but that’s hard with the wall right there to get clear around the steer. He’s a little to the inside and he’ll have to rope him over the hip. It’s not bad position, he’s a little further back, but you don’t want to haze them left when the run starts, so he was probably a little late entering the corner, which made him get to the inside of the steer a little bit.

Right there, I hadn’t quite switched the steer,but if I was really ducking, his back legs would be kicked out way worse.

I’m trying to duck the horse off a little bit because that steer is dead, so I’m trying to get some momentum up. I can’t just hold up and slow him down a lot there, because we’ve got to be moving-especially with the wall there.

I’m starting to come up the wall when the steer gets real heavy and I’m trying to hustle up and I’m trying to go as far as I can up the fence and hope Brady can rope him. He’s got to really rope him over the hip right there because we’re going straight back.

That horse, you really have to drive him back up the wall. He can pull them, even though he’s little he’s got a lot of heart.

Probably right here is going to be legal because his feet are back.

I probably shouldn’t take my eyes off the steer, but I knew I was near the left wall and had the steer in tow, and the pen is so small, I had to look up to see where I was going. I knew I needed to keep kicking so I could get a good finish and face good. To do that, you need to keep the momentum up and be aggressive and drive

the horse up the fence. That’s what I’m doing right here, is driving the horse up the fence

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