To the Very Last Steer

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

I know what it’s like to see guys come up the ranks behind you and take your spot at the last minute.

by Rhen Richard

This year, it all came down to Stephenville, TX, the last rodeo of the 2018 season on the last day of the season, Sunday. I wouldn’t know if I made the National Finals Rodeo in the team roping until the day was done.

I thought I had a spot locked in the night before, based on how things turned out in Poway, CA. I didn’t know that Coleman Proctor had a chance to catch me. That is, until everyone decided to tell me! If Coleman places fourth or better, you’re out. If that happened, once again, I would miss my chance at team roping in the Thomas & Mack.

I know what it’s like to see guys come up the ranks behind you and take your spot at the last minute. It happens more often than you’d think.

At Stephenville, Coleman and his partner, Ryan Motes, were among the first teams up. They were clean: 4.7.

When Quinn and I backed into the box, I should have been nervous, but I didn’t feel anything. Then we went out, and I missed our steer, and my spirits sank. I felt defeated, felt the NFR slipping through my fingers like it had so many times before. I was convinced Coleman had me beat.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

Follow Cowboy Journal

As the rodeo progressed, the team-roping times got faster and faster: 4.1, 4.0, 3.9. As the times got faster, I could feel my adrenaline surge. When the event was done, Coleman and Ryan had slipped to ninth. I was safe!

I had dropped from fourteenth to fifteenth in the world standings, but I was going to the NFR. It literally came down to the last steer at the last rodeo.

Not to sound arrogant, but I feel like I was good enough this year. I sure put in the work. I guess it was time for it to happen!

These past weeks, Quinn was fighting for a spot, too. During the final days, he jumped from sixteenth to fifteenth. Like I said, it happens.

To be honest, I hadn’t even thought about having to get a new heeler. I just kept hoping he’d make it, and I’m sure glad he did. It would’ve been tough without him.

All in all, I feel like we had a good season. It’s kind of hard when you don’t have any big wins, and we never really did. We caught a lot of steers and won a lot of fifteen-hundred and two-thousand-dollar checks. Let me tell you, it’s hard to make it that way.

In tie-down roping, I finished in thirteenth place, so I’ll be competing in that event in Las Vegas, too. I plan on giving my horses and myself a break. I hauled my head horse, Festus, all season, and he really needs some time off. My calf horse, Patron, needs a couple weeks off and a workup with the vet. Our circuit finals are the first weekend in November. That will be their next out.

It’s been a fun ride this season. I plan on going into the NFR with an open mind. I just want to take it all in and enjoy it no matter what happens. I’m sure there will be a moment when it really sinks in that I’m not just a spectator, I’m a competitor. I can’t wait for it!

Read more about the other CINCH JEANS and Classic Equine athletes fighting to make the NFR. Follow #theCjHASE

Sign up for the latest news & updates.

More from THE CHASE: On the Bubble

Latest Stories