Coy Rahlmann had a great showing roping with Douglas Rich at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Teton Ridge in 2021. Tanner Tomlinson turned around and lit up the Thomas & Mack Center with a new NFR team roping earnings record heading for Patrick Smith at his first Finals in 2022. Coincidence that Coy and close friend Tanner both rode a big-boned, blue-roan horse they call Blue? The rodeo world thinks not, and the stats don’t lie.
Rahlmann and Rich won $74,227 a man at NFR 2021.
“It was a good first Finals,” said 21-year-old Rahlmann, who comes from Ellsinore, Missouri, and is roping with Jonathan Torres in 2023. “I thought it was really good until Tanner and Patrick went to Tanner’s first one, and won $200,000 ($199,726 per man, to be exact). A lot of guys go to smaller, shorter-strided horses at the Thomas & Mack, because it happens so fast in that building. But Blue does pretty good there, I would say.”
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Ya think? Blue might not be registered, but at 15.2 hands and 1,300 pounds, he’s all there. And this now 18-year-old grade gelding has been a game-changer for Rahlmann.
“I bought Blue in July 2021 from my good friend Jeremy Hemmann,” Coy said, noting that Blue’s sire, Blue Jeans Cowan, died in 2022. “I’d always known he was pretty good. I was roping at Jeremy’s, and ran one steer on him. I thought I could use him, so I bought him. But I had no idea Blue would turn into my #1.
“The next week was Sikeston (Missouri) and Lawton (Oklahoma). We (Rahlmann and Rich) won the first round and placed in the average at both rodeos. The week after that was Canby (Oregon), Billings (Montana) and Caldwell (Idaho). We won Canby and Billings, placed in the second round at Caldwell, and had a $10,000 week.”
The Blue Effect
The Blue Effect took hold in every possible arena setup, and Rahlmann earned his first NFR back number as a result.
“Blue had everything to do with me making my first NFR, and it’s crazy how fast this horse became part of the family,” Coy said. “Within a couple months, I knew he had his forever home.
“I’ve done good on Blue everywhere. I won Burwell (Nebraska) on him (in 2022) over a long score roping muleys, and the outdoor rodeos in Vernal (Utah) and Preston (Idaho). In 2021, when Salinas (California) was the Tour Finale, Colby (Lovell) and I rode Blue back-to-back in both the semifinals and finals, and won $30,000 between us.
“But you can be 3.7 on Blue at Spanish Fork (Utah) one day, and 9 on him at Salinas the next. I’ve done it, and when you take him inside to an indoor rodeo, he speaks for himself, too. Blue’s good everywhere.”
Blue let Tomlinson shout from the rooftop at the Thomas & Mack Center in December, despite suffering from strep throat during the first five rounds. Tanner and Patrick picked up seven go-round checks, and set the new NFR team roping standard on 10 steers of 53 flat, which included legs in Rounds 1 and 7. That $199,726 a man at the NFR resulted in a $307,095 season for Tomlinson and Smith, which made them second only to 2022 World Champs Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, who finished with $340,708 apiece.
Honest, Easy, Dependable
Tomlinson didn’t even have to ask Rahlmann to ride Blue in Vegas.
“Coy called and offered him to me,” Tanner said. “I tried him, and really like him and how much he reminds me of my sorrel mare, Ivy, that I rode forever. Blue’s so easy, and he just fit my style. He lets you do whatever you want. He scores unbelievable, and keeps steers’ heads really good and strong up the wall, which made things easier on Patrick.
“Blue is honest and free, and does the same thing every time. To work like that 10 nights in a row with no practicing on him was huge. He gave me the same routine every night, and it was a good one. He never tried to duck, and never got strong or weak. I couldn’t have asked for anything more.”
Like Coy, Tanner had dreamed of roping at the NFR all his life.
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“But in a million years, I didn’t dream my first Finals would go like it did,” Tomlinson said. “I knew if I got tapped off, it would go good. But I couldn’t have planned for it or had it go better than it did. It’s still a blur in my mind. For us to come so close to winning the world, and have it come down to the last steer—it’s going to be tough to top my first one.”
That Rahlmann offered his unicorn to his friend says so much.
“We were talking about what Tanner was going to ride,” said Coy, who started his 2022 season with Rich and finished it with Joseph Harrison. “We’ve been friends a long time, and I told him, ‘My first Finals was a blast, and I want it to be the same for you.’ If he’d help you, you’re more than welcome to Blue.
“I let Tanner take Blue for close to a month before the Finals. I knew I wasn’t going to Arizona, and was headed to Missouri to camp out for November and December. I was ready to go home and take a little break, so I’d have a fire lit under me for the new year.”
The Secret Weapon
Rahlmann’s 2022 season was darn sure decent, and he’s pumped to be back on Blue and heading for Torres in 2023.
“This last year had its ups and downs,” Coy said. “It felt like we won a lot to still not make it. It took more money won per rodeo to make the Finals in 2022. Doug and I won a lot, and Joseph and I did, too. I finished 25th (in the world with an impressive $66,878).”
In a word, Rahlmann describes his secret weapon also known as Blue as a “winner. When you practice on him, and sometimes even at the jackpots, he’s good. But when the money’s up at the rodeos, he’s just a winner. Blue’s a big-footed, heavy-made horse. He’s on your team, and thrives off of winning as much as I do. Blue scores, is really flat and tries really hard going to the cow. He’s strong pulling cows, and has a really good finish. And the more the summer goes on, the more he loves it.”
He’s also sound.
“Blue’s the soundest horse I own,” Coy said, knocking on a wooden fencepost in Torres’ arena.
There’s no way to put a price tag on a horse like this one.
“He’s priceless,” Rahlmann said. “I rode Blue at the Finals when he was 16, and Tanner rode him there when he was 17. He showed up for both of us. It’s not what they cost, but what you can win on them that counts.
“I’m pumped to be back on Blue and heading for Jonathan and Biggie in 2023. We’ve been getting after it. The Bs are after ’em.”