LAS VEGAS – Nothing has really changed in Casey Colletti’s mind about how to approach his first qualification to rodeo’s biggest event, the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Through five go-rounds, Colletti, 25, of Pueblo, Colo., has place three times and earned $24,663; he’s had fun doing it, too.
“That’s not a bad week’s work,” he said. “I just feel like I could never come back here, so I’m just going to enjoy it as much as I can.”
Colletti rode the Big Stone Moreno & Growney bareback horse for 86 points to split sixth place in Monday’s fifth go-round, earning $1,442 in the process.
“To be 86 points and to split last hole in the round, that shows you just how good things are here,” said Colletti, who attended Garden City (Kan.) Community College on a rodeo scholarship. “You win rodeos with 86 points, but not in Las Vegas.”
The second-generation bareback rider placed second on opening night, then followed that with a tie for third place in the second go-round. He failed to mark scores in the top six in the third and fourth rounds, actually suffering a mild concussion on the third night of competition.
“I think I’m riding well, but things have to go your way,” he said. “The horse I had (in the fourth round) Sunday wasn’t very good. That’s just part of it.”
Colletti hadn’t ridden Tar Baby before Monday night, and he seen that horse buck just twice.
“I saw Caleb Bennett get on her at Walla Walla (Wash.), and she two-jumped him,” he said, referring to a quick buck-off. “Kaycee Field was 90 on her, but that’s all I knew. I knew she was pretty good.”
They key for the final five nights of ProRodeo’s championship event is to maintain that same focus and same game plan.
“There’s no reason to change it,” Colletti said. “It worked for Prescott (Ariz.), Cheyenne (Wyo.) and Fort Madison (Iowa); those rodeos I ended up winning, but I didn’t change anything.
“I’m just going to live it up, experience everything, that way when I go home at the end, I don’t want to look back and wish I would’ve done something different.”
That philosophy is working quite well so far.