LAS VEGAS – The pounding a steer wrestler’s body takes is incredible.
These giant men leap off running horses onto a sprinting steer, then slam their feet into the ground, twist their own bodies in order to lay the animal flat on its side. At the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, it’s done in a quick fashion in a tiny arena with considerable money on the line.
Bray Armes of Ponder, Texas, has experienced the good and the bad of the NFR in this year’s championship. On Sunday night, he strained his lower back and continues to compete. On Tuesday night during the sixth go-round, the powerful bulldogger grappled his steer to the turf in 4.2 seconds, adding $4,904 for finishing fifth.
With four nights remaining on the season, he has cashed nearly $16,000 at the NFR and has pushed his season earnings to more than $85,000. But this isn’t the championship he had envisioned. He suffered a no-time on Saturday night when the steer escaped his grasp. He failed to place in the fourth and fifth rounds, primarily because of his back pain. But he continues to battle, which is just what many would expect out of the man who grew up in the Texas Panhandle community of Gruver.
Including this year’s pay, the talented bulldogger has earned more than $200,000 over the last three seasons at the NFR alone. He knows the City of Lights can be magnificent, but it has its downside, too.
Armes plans to make that move to regain his status near the top. He sits eighth in the world standings and has four more chances to cash in.
It definitely will be exciting.