LAS VEGAS – Coleman Proctor has waited a lifetime for his moment in ProRodeo.
He’s living it this week in Las Vegas, home of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, the sport’s grand finale. Roping with his longtime friend, Jake Long, Proctor found the City of Lights to his liking. That was most evident Monday night, when the team stopped the clock in 4.1 seconds to win the fifth go-round and a $19,000 check.
“I’ve got the best heeler in the world, and I’ve got to just turn steers for him,” said Proctor, a header from Pryor, Okla. “Jake’s made it here three times before. I was his biggest fan and talked to him every night. But I was at home watching it on the couch, because I didn’t want to come until I made it.
“He’s shown on paper how great he is in this building. He’s so awesome in here, and I just want to give him an opportunity to just go throw his rope.”
Now that he has arrived in the Nevada desert, the Oklahoma cowboy is taking advantage. After missing his first-round steer, the tandem had placed three of four nights – they posted a 4.5 to finish as runners-up in the second round, then finished tied for fifth in the third with a 4.3. At the halfway point of the 10-round championship, Proctor and Long have each earned more than $38,000. That’s an outstanding work week.
They have each earned more than $113,000 this season and sit fourth in their respective world standings and trail the leaders, Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill, by less than $26,000. They have five more rounds to add to their total.
“Jake is like my brother; he’s family,” Proctor said of Long, 30, of Coffeyville, Kan. “We’ve been roping together since our diaper days, when he was 3 and I was 2. To win my first go-round here with him is a dream come true.”
Their bond is a key component, not only to their success but also how they handle the day-to-day life of traveling the rodeo trail.
“I’ve had the privilege of experience this rodeo three other times, but to get to experience this with a guy who’s basically my brother and finally live it out is beyond words really,” Long said. “Coleman did a great job making that steer easier for me to heel by really softening him up in the turn. I told myself I was going to be more aggressive in my approach tonight. I decided to turn it up a notch, and it worked out really well.”