Change of Luck

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

That’s the great thing about rodeo. It all comes around. Whether it’s your time or not, rodeo damn sure lets you know.

by Chase Dougherty

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As I said in my earlier post, I’ve been unlucky over the Fourth. Up until this year, the most money I’ve ever won during Cowboy Christmas was $1,700. That was last year—from two amateur rodeos, so it didn’t even count toward my standings. I may have won a little day money at Red Lodge hanging onto the side of a bull, but that was only a couple hundred bucks.

I’ve pretty much hit rock bottom two years in a row. I’m not really sure why. It’s a hard, fast run. We get on a lot of bulls in a short time. You get banged up pretty quickly. Or maybe you just don’t draw good.

This year, I thought, I’m gonna try and not hit rock bottom again. That’s the great thing about rodeo. It all comes around. Whether it’s your time or not, rodeo damn sure lets you know.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

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To prepare for this year’s run, I got on a lot more practice bulls at the house. I worked out more and feel like I’m healthy and in better shape. I haven’t had as many big wins this year. I started this week ranked 22nd with just under $40,000 won.

I really needed to have a good Fourth.

On the Road

Our first stop was my hometown rodeo in Prineville, Oregon. Only one person in our rig fell off that day. Jordan Spears won it. I was second, with 88 points, and Ruger Piva was fourth. I won around $1,600 and broke my streak.

My luck continued. The next day, we went to Mountain Home, Idaho, and I placed third. Jordan won that one, too, and the other guy in our crew, Levi Gray, was fourth. At our next stop, Lehi, Utah, I won the rodeo with an 88, and Jordan was third. At the Cody Stampede Xtreme bulls, I was the only one in our rig who stayed on. I was 88 again and placed fourth.

Normally during the Fourth, I can’t stay on anything. For some reason, this year it seems like they can’t buck me off. I’ve won around $4,500 so far, and we still have the biggest rodeos coming up. I’m really happy, but I’m not taking anything for granted.

And I’ve been trying to have a good time, too.

On our way to Cody, Wyoming, from Lehi, we convoyed up through Idaho Falls and cut through West Yellowstone. We saw buffalo and a couple bull elk. A bunch of cars were stopped, and somebody said there was a bear, but we never saw it. Jordan has a high-dollar camera, and he’s been taking pictures. We really want to see a wolf.

Most of us had Monday off, so we went out to a bar in Cody on Sunday night and kind of cut loose. We woke up the next morning, ate some breakfast and bought a bunch of fishing lures and tackle and drove over to the Shoshone River to have some fun before it was time to get back to business.

Tonight, we’re up in Mandan, North Dakota. After that, me and Levi head back to Cody, and then we all drive west to St. Paul, Oregon.

Let’s hope the luck holds!

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