Gitty Up's Best Posts

Monday, August 1, 2011

True Grit: Champions show determination to win at the "Daddy of 'em All"

True Grit: Champions show determination to win at the "Daddy of 'em All"

CHEYENNE -- Two fingers were the difference between Shane Proctor riding two bulls or just one. Two late buck offs were the difference between Proctor going home a winner or just a placer.

Proctor, the No. 1 bull rider in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association standings, capped a strong week of competition by posting an 88 on his final ride to win the Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo bull riding title. For his efforts, Proctor pocketed $12,014.19.

After finishing No. 3 in the first two go-rounds, Proctor notched his 88 then had to watch as Brent Menz and Wesley Silcox, the two riders with better scores for the week, took their rides. Both riders were bucked off sealing the title.

"It was a lot of luck this week, that's what it comes down to. It's been going like that all year," Proctor said. "Had some key guys buck off in the short round that were really good riders and it just worked out. I'd like to say I ride good but a lot of luck is what's going for us."

Earlier in the week, the Grand Coulee, Wash., rider survived a tense situation when his rope and hand broke loose during a ride. He clung with two fingers to the bull just long enough to go 8 seconds and get an 84.

His luck was far from over.

In the first group of riders on Sunday, none of the cowboys who posted two scores during the week finished a third ride. If not for Chandler Bownds' 89, none of the first 10 riders would have scored in the third go.

Three riders before Proctor notched scores with Bobby Welsh and Tater Hins earning scores of 86. L.J. Jenkins posted an 80.

Needing a 78 or better just to tie Hins, Proctor showed them all up with an 88 to take a 10-point advantage. Even before the score was announced, Proctor bolted for the chute and began pumping his fists in the air to celebrate.

"They write songs about this place so it's really special just to win this place. This is the one that everybody watches when they're younger and dreams about winning. This is the one a lot of world champs have won. There's a lot of history in this arena," Proctor said. "It just means the world to me to get the buckle here. I'll just be able to look at it and check it out and wear it around a little bit."

Proctor's journey to the title was far from easy, both in the arena and on the road.

On Saturday, Proctor and a couple of friends were down in Thackerville, Okla., for a Professional Bull Rider event. Thanks to some understanding buddies, Proctor was able to rest up for Sunday's championship round.

The extra rest proved to be vital.

"We were in Thackerville, Okla., last night and they split the driving between the three of them," Proctor said. "We pulled in about an hour before the rodeo. They let me lay back and sleep and it worked out for the best."

With his lead over J.W. Harris in the standings continuing to grow, Proctor now has an opportunity no other bull rider before him has ever had. He not only leads the PRCA standings, but the PBR standings as well.

If his luck continues, Proctor could become the first cowboy to ever win both world bull riding titles in the same year.

It will be far from easy but Proctor wouldn't have it any other way.

"That'd be something that nobody else has ever done. It'd be something that's always been a goal of mine. It's going to be a fight to end," Proctor said.

Bareback riding

VH1 might want to contact Casey Colletti because he might just be having the best week ever.

The last 10 days have been extremely kind to the Pueblo, Colo., cowboy. On Sunday, his streak hit its highest point.

Colletti capped an improbable Cheyenne Frontier Days Rodeo by notching a short go score of 89 to easily win the bareback riding title with a final score of 258. He bested Royce Ford by 10 points en route to the title.

"This is literally the most phenomenal week I've ever had. I went to Eagle, Colo., I was 86, won third there. I won Rock Springs and I won Burlington. And I can't forget I won Cheyenne," Colletti said with a laugh.

Winning is one thing. Changing an entire season is another.

Colletti entered CFD $3 short of $19,000 in earnings for the year. He cashed in all four possible categories, leaving him $259 short of matching his total for the season in Cheyenne alone.

All told, Colletti walked away with $18,738.

The money will most likely vault him from No. 32 in the PRCA standings to the top 15, depending on what other riders earned over the last few days.

It also will change his approach to the rest of the year.

"I rodeo hard but I'm going to try to go everywhere now. I'm going to enter every rodeo in America to try and make the (National Rodeo Finals)," Colletti said. "It bumped me up there a long ways but there's still two months of rodeo left. Lots and lots of money to be won. I'm going to hit every single rodeo I can."

Colletti's ride to the big money was not an easy one.

All but one of the 12 bareback riders who reached Sunday's finals posted a score with six of them going for 80 or better.

After putting up a first go of 85 and a second go of 84, Colletti earned the right to be the last cowboy out of the chute. He drew a horse called Full Baggage which came with a lot of baggage.

In the end, Colletti's streak proved to be the winner.

"I knew that horse goes to the eliminator pen every year in the NFR. They marked him the rankest horse of the NFR last year in that round," Colletti said. "I just went in with the attitude I'm either going to ride him or not. I try not to let the pressure get to bad on me that way I don't choke. He bucked hard and I felt like I did what I could do to ride him. It definitely worked out for the best."

With a renewed focus, Colletti is setting his sights on making the NFR a goal he describes as "like making the Super Bowl."

While he still has work to do, Colletti was still trying soak up the reality of his recent accomplishments.

"It's hard to even imagine a check for $18,000. ... It's crazy," Colletti said.

Saddle bronc

Jesse Bail needed to save his best for last. Mission accomplished.

Bail entered Sunday's championship round at CFD tied for the third best total for the week with 159 points. Using an 86 on the back of Special Time, Bail upended his competition with the second-highest score of the day to win the title with a final total of 245.

"I came in and it was all really tight. I knew I had a good shot to win it. I just knew I had to go out there and make the best ride I could. That's all you can do," Bail said. "I was just tickled pink to have a great horse like that. And shoot, everything worked out good. It was awesome."

With only six points separating the No. 12 rider in the event from the No. 1 rider, the entire go left little margin for error.

Bradley Harter posted the highest score of the round with an 87 but just five of the riders were able to notch a score higher than 80. The Camp Crook, S.D., cowboy left no doubt he could contend for the title with his monster ride.

"Everybody I talked to said (the horse) was really good and that's what they'd want so I knew he was really good. And he actually bucked harder that I thought he was going," Bail said. "He jumped out of there, had some moves, ducked and dang near bucked me off a couple times. I just kept gassing it, laid back in my saddle and everything turned out good."

Clinging to a small lead, Bail watched as Jacobs Crawley posted an 80, J.J. Elshere was bucked and Samuel Kelts could only manage a 79. His two-point win over Harter helped Bail earn $9,711.76 for the week.

That total will also help him vault up the PRCA standings. Bail entered CFD ranked No. 9 in the standings and could crack the top five before all is finished. That would put him one step closer to a 12th NFR appearance.

While all those things still have to play out, Bail was just excited about winning Cheyenne for the first time in his career.

Injury and a little bad luck at the "Daddy of 'em All" have prevented him from a buckle in the past.

Not anymore.

"I've been here a bunch of times and I've had a little heck and things didn't go my way. Heck, this year everything just fell into place and everything just went my way it seemed like. It was awesome," Bail said.

No comments:

Post a Comment