LAS VEGAS – Chuck Colletti rode bareback horses for years.
In the City of Lights, he’s a spectator, watching his 25-year-old son, Casey, compete at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time. He’s pretty pleased with what he’s seeing.
Casey Colletti has placed in five of seven go-rounds so far and has earned $44,567 during his week of work in the Nevada desert.
“I think he loves it more than I do,” Colletti said of his father. “He didn’t get to rodeo as hard as I did, because he decided to take care of his family and stay at home.
“I guess he’s living through me through the NFR. I wore his chaps one round, and Mom said he was pretty choked up when I did it.”
Chuck Colletti is pretty tickled to see his young son compete in ProRodeo’s championship event. His pride has blossomed in Las Vegas, where Casey Colletti has excelled. On Wednesday night, the Colorado cowboy spurred a Colorado bucking horse for 84 points to finish in a tie for second place in the seventh round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, earning $12,404 in the process.
You see, Dusty Dan, a bucking mare from Avondale-based Harry Vold Rodeo Co. has been one of the best horses in bareback riding. Colletti has dreamed of matching moves with the athletic animal in a setting like the NFR
“When I come out of the arena, Kirsten Vold was sitting right there close, and I climbed up (onto the bucking chutes,” said Colletti, who attended Garden City (Kan.) Community College on a rodeo scholarship. “She was teary-eyed and she said that was the last time she was ever going to buck Dusty Dan.
“Kirsten lives 10 miles down the road form my house, so it was pretty neat to be able to get on Dusty Dan for the last time she’s ever going to be bucked.”
It paid off in a big way. Colletti sits No. 4 in the average with a cumulative total of 575 points on seven rides. The NFR offers the biggest prize pool in rodeo, $6 million, and Colletti plans to take his fair share back to Pueblo, Colo. It helps to have been matched with one of the best bucking horses in the business. It was the second time the two have worked together in the arena. This one worked out better for Colletti.
“I had her one time in Prescott, Ariz., four years ago,” he said. “She blew me out the back door and knocked me out. I took a dirt nap.”
Yeah, an 84 is considerably better. So is the paycheck Colletti earned Wednesday.