FIVE FLAT: Erich Rogers talks build­ing a rodeo run

with Erich Rogers

Spin to Win Rodeo - - News - As told to Chelsea Toy

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.

RIC AN­DER­SEN PHOTO

JAMES PHIFER PHO­TOS

2 South­west­ern Ex­po­si­tion and Live­stock Show, Fort Worth, Texas

DUD­LEY BARKER PHOTO

Sand­hills Stock Show and Rodeo, Odessa, Texas 1

RIC AN­DER­SEN PHOTO

3 San An­gelo Stock Show and Rodeo, San An­gelo, Texas

DAN HUBBELL PHOTO

4 La Fi­esta de los Va­que­ros, Tuc­son, Ariz.

RIC AN­DER­SEN PHOTO

5 Ram Na­tional Cir­cuit Fi­nals Rodeo, Kis­sim­mee, Fla.

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