LAS VEGAS – They call it a speed trap.
In the world of steer wrestling, the fastest man each night of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo wins the most money. The key, though, is to react quickly but move purposefully. True athletes are quicker when everything is done in a quiet rhythm.
Bray Armes knows it very well. It’s what has guided the Ponder, Texas, cowboy to three straight NFR qualifications. It’s what propelled him to the 2013 NFR average title for having the fastest cumulative time over the 10-round championship.
It didn’t help him all that much Thursday night during the first go-round of the 2014 finale. Armes twisted his steer to the ground in 4.2 seconds; that’s a solid time, but it wasn’t nearly as quick as he would’ve liked.
“That was a pretty ugly run,” said Armes, who grew up near the Texas Panhandle community of Gruver. “I just need to slow down to be fast.”
Armes showed a classic smile that, while disguising his frustration, is proof that he remains focused on the task at hand. His first-night run was still strong enough for sixth place in the round, worth $3,065. That pushes Armes’ 2014 earnings to $72,281.
More importantly, he has nine more nights to cash in.
“I have to build off it,” he said. “I rushed. I just need to slow down.”
While it sounds easy, the rush of the moment and the atmosphere of the sold-out Thomas & Mack Center can push the adrenaline a little.
“It’s easy,” Armes said. “You’ve just got to do it.”