FIVE FLAT: Erich Rogers talks building a rodeo run
with Erich Rogers
BUILDING A RODEO RUN
Erich Rogers has helped set himself and partner Cory Petska up for their fifth consecutive trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo as a team before the summer run even gets underway. They’ve capitalized on opportunities from Odessa, Texas’ Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo to Kissimmee, Florida’s Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, using a formula for a straight and fast run that they’ve honed together in Petska’s practice pen in Marana, Ariz., over the last five years. Although Rogers can reach with the best of them, he sticks to taking a higher-percentage shot running to the steer, while Petska fires on the corner. Here, Rogers breaks down how their trademark run has put them near the top of the PRCA world standings.
STOP THE CLOCK FIVE FLAT
We did well to start the year off with this steer at Odessa. We tied for third in the round with a 4.5 (pictured), and ended up second in the average. Since Cory and I have been going there, we’ve won it twice and won second twice, and one year we didn’t make it. You’ve got to score them out there a little bit, and a guy can be fast if you draw one who runs straight. A lot of our success this year has come from drawing the right steers, and Odessa was no exception. If I give Cory a good corner, then he can whip it down there as fast as anyone going. The bigger steers there are his set up, and it showed again this year.
Our strategy is to make really honest runs with the steers we draw. I try to keep them straight so Cory can really get a good corner and heel them on the first hop. Fort Worth was a good example of that over three steers. We were able to make a good run on our first steer to keep us in the mix, and our second steer was the best we’ve drawn all year maybe. He was pretty dang good, so good I don’t know how I got out on him. Luckily, Hotshot, the 12-year-old gelding I bought from Kari Rivera in California, did his job there and really scored. He ran straight and Cory heeled him on the first hop for us to make a 4.4-second run. We won second in the round worth $4,038 each. The short round steer was stronger, and he tried more than most did. He was still a good one to have in the short round, though, because we knew what he was going to do. I was off the barrier a little bit, so we went and caught and tried to make no mistakes. It was pretty easy for us just to go ahead and make a good solid run. We were 6.3 to take the lead, and ended up second in the short round and won the average, for another $8,030 each.
Our deal at San Angelo was to go for the day money. It was the same set in the short round as San Antonio, so our goal was to go as fast as we could with what we had. We were 3.8 on the first one (pictured) and won $3,506 each for first in the first round. The setup there is really small, so we had to keep our steer going straight. Our whole run is based on keeping the steer straight. Some of that has to do with the heel horse Cory has. Chumly is one of the best he’s got. He scores good and has so much speed it makes things easy for him. Our run is faster going straight. I’ve got to go to the cow a little more. You see some guys with horses hanging a little bit in small buildings at the winter rodeos, but if I can keep mine free and going to the cow, it keeps our run freed up and Chumly will come around the corner and be ready faster than a lot of other heel horses.
I had just bought a new horse, Boogieman, from Shane Pascal, so I rode him in the slack at Tucson, which is now one round and a short round. The steer tried a little bit, and he was really straight or maybe just a little to the right. Cory is up there a little bit, so he can see everything coming together. I had a great start—the kind where was either going to break the barrier or I’d get out great. I took a couple swings and reached, and I floated just a little bit. I roped him, and I turned him off and my horse was pretty dang free there. He’s pretty honest and scored really well, but he wasn’t rodeo savvy and that made him fun to rope on there. He works on his butt and sets up steers pretty good. He gave Cory a good go further down the arena. Cory heeled him down to be 6.2. We split second and third, and after the run I told Cory good job and he chuckled at me and said something about floating my rope—he didn’t think my rope would ever get there. We both make fun of each other when we do something different or out of the ordinary. He saw it coming from the corner of his eye, way back before I even threw. I guess that’s what happens when you rope together as long as we have. We won the short round with a 6.5-second run and ended up taking home $9,545 each. This is our second steer. We had a leg on the first one. The second round was a little soft, with the guys good on their first one just trying to stay in it and the guys going at ’em messing up just a little bit. Our steer stayed straight, but was a little wild on the end of it. I knew I had a pretty good start, and in this picture I was making sure I was getting up over my horse and riding him. I like to make sure my first swing is up and level and that my left hand is down and driving to the steer. I like to be up over the top of him coming out of the box, getting ready to really ride him. If you ride this horse aggressively the first couple strides, he’s usually pretty free rolling. We won the second round here with a 4.7-second run worth $6,254 and placed in the average for another $1,327 each. With the circuit finals counting toward the world standings this year, it will be interesting to see how different things look come Cheyenne. It’s great to give the circuit guys a chance, and I’ll be excited to see how it all works out.
2 Southwestern Exposition and Livestock Show, Fort Worth, Texas
Sandhills Stock Show and Rodeo, Odessa, Texas 1
3 San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo, San Angelo, Texas
4 La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, Tucson, Ariz.
5 Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, Kissimmee, Fla.