Riding Floyd

 photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

Cade thinks of his horse as family. It means a lot that he trusts Floyd with me.

by Shane Hanchey
 
 

I came back to Greeley for the short round Tuesday night. I was splitting tenth and eleventh and had some catching up to do if I wanted to win any money.

I was going to be riding Floyd, Cade Swor’s good horse.

I’d say Floyd’s in the top three roping horses I’ve ever rode, and I’ve been on some awesome horses. Floyd’s easy for me. He’s always been easy, ever since the first time I swung a leg over him. Floyd’s good at everything. No holes. He does everything just right.

There was this one time, back in 2015, when I showed up at Omaha, Nebraska, on September 30—my birthday—for the last rodeo of the season. I hadn’t been in the top fifteen all year. Not once. I was huddled close all summer—twentieth, twenty-fifth, eighteenth. I couldn’t catch a break. I had just bought my horse, Si. We were winning, but we weren’t winning enough.

Cade and Floyd were cruising that year. I think he was in the top ten. So me and Cade were standing there at Omaha, the last rodeo of the season and my last chance to make the National Finals Rodeo.

“Hey, do you want to ride Floyd tonight?” Cade asked.

“Absolutely,” I said.

Cade was looking out for me one-hundred percent. He knew my situation. He also knew I’m not the kind of guy that’s gonna go, Hey, can I ride your horse? I was happy to accept his offer.

That night I won Omaha on Floyd. I added something like five grand to my total. Frick it was good! Enough to put me in the top fifteen for the first time that year. If it wasn’t for Cade and Floyd, I wouldn’t have made the NFR in 2015. That just goes to show you what kind of guy Cade is.

 

The Tables Turn

Last year, when Floyd was hurt and Cade was struggling, I was happy to return the favor. By then, my horse Si was shining—he was on his way to winning 2017 Horse of the Year. Cade won a lot of money mounting out on Si, which helped him qualify for the 2017 NFR. In fact, last year at Greeley, Cade rode Si, and I rode my horse Bam Bam, and we ended up splitting the title!

This year, Floyd’s back. He’s healthy. But my horse, Bam, is out with a suspensory ligament strain. Cade said I could ride Floyd at Reno and again at Greeley. And he asked if I would look after Floyd when he went up to rope in Canada. Cade hasn’t rodeoed in Canada in ten years, but he’s trying to win enough this summer so he doesn’t have to rodeo as hard this fall, when his wife, Sarah, is going to have their baby.

It was the first time Cade had ever left Floyd with anybody. As he went over what needed to happen as far as feed and supplements and medicine, I could tell he was legit worried. Floyd is Cade’s Reata, if you know anything about the horse that made me. I tried to reassure him by telling him about the first time I left Reata.

“I hated leaving him, too, but we gotta get to the next rodeo,” I said. “We gotta do what we gotta do.”

“You already know this,” Cade said, “but I’m just going to tell you again. The only things I love more than that horse is my wife and my baby boy that’s on the way.”

 

Back at Greeley

So on Tuesday, me and Cade met up again at Greeley. He was glad to be reunited with his horse. We both rode Floyd that night. We didn’t split the title again, but it was funny—we were both 9.3 on the first calf. I won good, splitting first and second in the short round and winning third in the average and adding nearly six thousand to my total.

People just don’t do those kind of things in other professional sports. You’d never see Tom Brady go to Drew Brees on the sidelines and say, Hey, what do you need me to do? That’s unheard of, especially in today’s competitive world.

But, to me, it’s the right thing to do. Why would you not help somebody when they needed help, even if they’re competing against you? It makes me feel a part of something bigger. I want to see Cade do good. I get just as nervous when Cade backs in the box as I do for me.

Keep up with all the action during the Fourth of July run HERE.

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