LAS VEGAS – Through three go-rounds, Stockton Graves has stayed away from the limelight on the biggest stage in ProRodeo.
On Saturday night, Graves secured his third straight paycheck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, scoring a 4.6-second run. That was good enough for sixth place in the third round and a check worth $2,885. That moved his NFR earnings to $12,692. Not only that, but Graves also is fifth in the all-important average race with a three-run total of 12.8 seconds.
Graves, who two weeks ago was announced as rodeo coach at his alma mater, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, is competing on ProRodeo’s grandest stage for the seventh time in his career. He missed last season, finishing the 2010 season 22nd in the final world standings – only the top 15 on the money list in each event at the conclusion of the regular season qualify for the NFR.
Now the Newkirk, Okla., cowboy is hoping to make up for lost ground in 2011. That might just happen if he can remain consistent and keep his nerves as calm as possible.
“You see guys go, and they’re way too excited and make mistakes,” Graves said. “I’ve been too pumped and went too fast. I just came in and tried to just be relaxed and do what I need to do to win.”