DER­RICK AND I BE­ING IN THE ERA IN 2016 STRIPPED US OF EV­ERY­THING FOR 2017. WE WERE BA­SI­CALLY LIKE ROOKIES START­ING OVER.

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Ropers -

you’re in the rop­ing busi­ness and it’s what you do for a liv­ing, that’s a goal you need to achieve. Same goes for a lower-num­bered roper who deems it nec­es­sary to go to the World Se­ries Fi­nale, USTRC Fi­nals, ACTRA Fi­nals, or an­other re­gional or am­a­teur rodeo fi­nals to call it a good year. You set that big, #1 goal, then fig­ure out what it’s go­ing to take to achieve it.

When I look back on 2017, Der­rick (Be­gay) and I were be­hind from the start. I’d spent four years climb­ing to the top, and had the lux­ury of be­ing qual­i­fied for all the win­ter rodeos, and in a po­si­tion to be in the Cham­pi­ons Chal­lenges. The top 10 also get to go to The Amer­i­can ev­ery year. You’re set up for the new year based on your last year’s per­for­mance.

Der­rick and I be­ing in the ERA in 2016 stripped us of ev­ery­thing for 2017. We were ba­si­cally like rookies start­ing over. We couldn’t en­ter Den­ver. We couldn’t en­ter Fort Worth with each other, so we had to have other guys (Matt Sher­wood and Joel Bach) bring us in. We couldn’t en­ter San An­to­nio or Austin. We couldn’t go to a lot of the events that count now, like our cir­cuit fi­nals.

Then, mid-sum­mer, Der­rick’s #1 horse got hurt. Then his se­cond horse got hurt. My horse kept get­ting sore, too. It was just a real strug­gle. On the bright side, we did qual­ify for the build­ings this com­ing win­ter. But my horse is 21 now, so I can prob­a­bly only ride him at the good rodeos. Der­rick’s in the same boat, and is try­ing horses, too.

We’ll do ev­ery­thing we can to give us the best shot at suc­cess this year. Then all we can do is take it one day at a time, and do our best.

COM­ING OFF OF A TOUGH YEAR IN 2017, DER­RICK BE­GAY AND CLAY O’BRIEN COOPER HAVE REGROUPED FOR 2018.

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