Freak of Nature

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

Tonight, riding Craig at Midnight, I have the opportunity to get my NFR started.

by Tim O'Connell

God’s with me. He’s put these horses in front of me for a reason. That’s why he gave me Craig tonight. I’m pretty dang excited. I need a horse of his caliber to make up the points that were lost during the first two rounds of this NFR.

I’ve been on Craig at Midnight three times in my career and have had a lot of success on him. They were all dogfights for sure. The judges really like Craig. The fans like him. But he makes you nervous from the time you crawl on him till the time you get out of the arena. He’s a freak of nature. You don’t understand the sheer size of that animal until you step next to him. Honestly, he’s amazing.


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Craig’s got so much athleticism. He’s a very smart animal. He doesn’t like to be spurred, and he’s gonna do whatever he can to get you off his back. He’s 1,700 pounds doing it, too! You have to be on point when you’re riding him. You have to be ready to rock, ready to get into a fight.

During the first two rounds, I didn’t win any money. Weird stuff happened. My first horse had a rough start leaving. Last night I had a re-ride, and that horse was one I’ve never gotten along with. I made the best of the situation. Tonight I have the opportunity to get my NFR started.

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