Stay­ing Hooked

Spin to Win Rodeo - - Competitive Edge - with Ju­nior Nogueira

Steers aren’t al­ways great—some­times they run up the rope, some­times they drag, some­times they fight their head and go down—and I’ve had to learn to catch the bad ones just as well as the good ones. In the pho­tos on th­ese next few pages, this steer was go­ing down the arena per­fectly, and Kaleb 'rig­gers and I were try­ing to make a rodeo run on him, but then he went down right in front of my horse, just as I was ready to de­liver fast. I had to kick over him and stay in time with him and my horse to fin­ish the run, like you’ve some­times got to do in a jack­pot or rodeo sit­u­a­tion to stay in the av­er­age.

1

Kaleb roped this steer re­ally fast. I didn’t want to push my horse so high, but I wanted to get pre­pared for a faster shot. I was get­ting pre­pared to throw fast by watch­ing the steer, pick­ing up my rope, and get­ting ready to throw. I was get­ting *reen &ard in range so I could have a lit­tle bit of con­tact and be ready to throw.

2

Kaleb had him tight, and he’s start­ing to lower his head. I’m ask­ing *reen &ard to come back and go in­side, and I’m watch­ing the feet al­ready so I’m pre­pared to throw fast. I’m push­ing my horse to po­si­tion, kick­ing, and sTuee]ing for­ward, and ev­ery­thing is per­fect for a fast shot. I’m in a re­ally good spot to throw fast. *reen &ard is locked in. I’m right in the mid­dle of my horse. 0y plan was to throw on the next hop.

3

7hat steer is start­ing to go down here, right as I was plan­ning to throw. (very body in that sit­u­a­tion gets pan­icked, and it’s hard not to. %ut it helps a lot to keep fol­low­ing the steer, no mat­ter what. I start ed kick­ing my horse be­cause I knew that steer would go down and then come back up. I wanted to keep swing­ing and keep fol­low­ing him. I tried to keep my swing very steady and not change any­thing. If I didn’t change any­thing, I should stay in time with him and keep it all the same.

4

+e’s come up and, since I didn’t change my swing or my po­si­tion, he’s ready to be heeled on the next hop. I try to train my­self to do ev­ery­thing the steer does. I try not to think about it—just re­act. I have to think be­fore the run but, dur­ing the run, I don’t think—like rid­ing a bull. If I’d have stopped, I’d have needed to re­gather ev­ery­thing and go back to him and be be­hind when he gets back up, and the run would have lost all of its tim­ing. So I want to keep swing­ing and keep rid­ing, no mat­ter what.

5

5ight here, I’m pulling my slack. It’s im­por­tant to have a good slack to make it easy to dally. I like to make sure my rope is tight on the feet be­fore I come to the saddle horn. $ lot of peo­ple can rope two feet, but it’s easy to slip a lot of legs. %ut the best guys don’t. :hen I got here, -ake %arnes told me a lot of peo­ple can rope re­ally good, but not a lot of guys can keep the feet and not many can rope trot­ters. So that’s some­thing I’ve re­ally worked on. +ere, I’m pulling my slack and I’m sit­ting sTuare and my feet are sTuare. I’ve got both hands up, and I’m hold­ing my left hand sTuare to help *reen &ard fin­ish his stop and stand up. I don’t want him low on the front end, which makes it harder to dally, too.

Nogueira, rop­ing with Drig­gers again this year, picked up wins at Ed­mon­ton, Al­berta; Span­ish Fork, Utah; and Pe­cos, Texas, to stay in the top three the PRCA world stand­ings head­ing into rodeo’s fourth quar­ter.

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