SITUATION: Winning run from the final-four round at the 2019 RFD-TV’s The American
TIME: 4.24 seconds
OUTCOME: Won the round, winning $433,333.33 a man
Heisman: He’s easy to get started fast. One thing he does so great is he gets to the left of the cow. No matter where the cow goes, he maintains his lane. In this picture, I’ve already thrown, I’ve gotten my slack and I’ve already started to dally. Heisman is stepping away from the cow, but his shoulders are up and he’s still moving forward down the pen. So much about going fast is keeping the run progressive through each step. I’m needing him to take that step a little wide to step away from the steer to get the rope tight from my saddle horn to the steer’s head. His shoulders are up and it’s easy to dally which allows me to be in control to start the turn.
When the steers go, you go. You can’t be late. If you’re late in those setups, bad things happen. I would rather have been leaving too early and pulling to get out, which is kind of what I did. I started a little early and I got a hold of my bridle reins a little bit and tried to throttle him through the start. When you’re throwing over the chute that’s kind of when it’s the easiest—when you can start them early and float.
Clay Tryan hung it on that one so fast in the eight-man round. The steer’s pattern was ideal for me. When you’re going that fast, it’s more difficult for me to make the adjustment of the steer stepping left. He had a good track record; he left sharp. As fast as the start was there, you want the steer to leave sharp because I’m going to anticipate it a little bit. He came together really fast. When I got it on the saddle horn and got him legal, he really put his feet together quick.
d) RYAN MOTES:
I love that I got it on the steer’s head and it looks like he’s starting to swing. You can tell Ryan is looking at the cow so that he can evaluate and make any split-second decisions. That’s where my point of communication with Ryan starts. If I have to make any last-minute adjustments, I’m going to do it with the steer’s head, whether I miss my wrap or if I’m a little early or late starting my turn. Once I put his hips on the end of the rope, it’s time to pull it. Our time to visit during our run is when I’m getting a hold of the steer’s head. He’s not trying to haze. He’s just trying to be a right fence out of the heel box and be in a spot where he can play on the steer. He came inside and took an extra swing to set it up because that’s all it required to take the lead. I knew if I did my job he was going to seal the deal.
I’ve run that steer in my barn alleyway a lot, and even in the barn I would get a little nervous. Getting to run one, potentially for $600,000—I was nervous. It was a little cold down there, so I had to hold onto one of those hot, hand pads to keep the feeling in my hand. I even called Jake Long before the final round. He said, ‘Hey, it’s just one more steer. It’s going fast—that’s what you like to do anyway. But whatever you do, do not back off. No matter what happens in front of you, stay aggressive the whole way.’ But what really gave me a lot of confidence was having a horse that I really believe in, a great partner and the right tools.
My eyes are on that target from the time I nod until the time I finish because as a header, everything we do is controlling that head of that steer. As much as we want to believe that we can put their feet together on the back end—the only thing that I control is that steer’s front end. I keep my eyes on him, and as I’m dallying and getting my wrap, that’s allowing me to see when I’m fixing to put the pressure on his head or when it’s going to be time to throttle down or speed up.