LAS VEGAS – When Hunter Cure first watched his horse in action, Charlie was a hazing horse.
Cure purchased the 14-year-old gelding earlier this year and transitioned him to the other side of the timed-event chute, where, now as a steer wrestling mount, Charlie has guided Cure to $63,201 in just eight nights in Las Vegas.
“When I turned that horse around (in the chute), he hit the corner and was locked in,” said Cure, who won the eighth go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Thursday with a 3.8-second run. “I knew … he was going to leave flat and give me across the line in a good spot.”
Charlie did his job well.
“I knew that was a good steer, but I had to get a (good) start,” Cure said. “My horse is getting better (in the timed-event chute) as the week has gone on. He stood sharp tonight and let me get the start, and (the steer) was good after that.”
Thursday’s run marked Cure’s second go-round victory this week. He also won Monday’s fifth round, which featured the same pen of steers, considered the “strong” pen by the bulldoggers.
“It not only helps us financially, but mentally as well,” said Cure, who moved to fourth in the world standings with $128,208 – he’s only about $14,000 behind the leader, Reeves.
Cure, who also qualified for the NFR in 2009, is fourth in the average race with an eight-run cumulative time of 45.5 seconds, while Reeves sits seventh – he fell in the aggregate standings after suffering a no time Thursday.
“Having two go-round wins (after) not having won hardly any money in ’09, it’s certainly a confidence-builder,” he said. “I want to continue pushing for the next two rounds and see how well it turns out.”
What is different from four seasons ago?
“I feel like I’m physically a little bit stronger by working out,” he said. “I’m more mentally prepared coming into this one. I knew what to expect. The mistakes I might’ve made in preparation the first time, I didn’t want to make those again. I feel like this is the fruit for the labor.”
Cure’s work has paid off, but so has the effort produced by his hazer, Riley Duvall, who is compensated for his work by receiving a percentage of the bulldogger’s earnings. At this year’s NFR, Duvall has scored $7,900 from Cure.
“He’s earned every penny of it,” cure said. “I’ll get him paid before he leaves here. I’m so thankful for it.”