LAS VEGAS – For most people, earning nearly $51,000 in nine nights would be an incredible payoff.
Coleman Proctor is a bit nit-picky.
“I don’t feel like I’ve roped as good as I can,” said Proctor, a header from Pryor, Okla., competing for the first time at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “I’m not very happy with my performance.”
With partner Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kan., Proctor has placed in six of nine go-rounds. He is fifth in the world standings with $126,587, while Long is fourth on the heading money list – he earned $1,000 more roping with another header, Charly Crawford, at a Wrangler Champions Challenge event.
“I understand that I’m fortunate for everything, and we’re blessed for any money we’ve won already,” Proctor said. “Whether we win another dime, it’s been a great experience and a lot of fun, and it’s been everything I hoped it would be.
“But I’m a competitor. I want to be a world champion. I don’t want to just make the finals. However many opportunities I feel like I can do better, I want to keep pushing myself.”
On Friday night, he and Long stopped the clock in 4.6 seconds to finish fifth, adding another $4,904.
“I have learned a lot and look forward to getting back here next year with Jake,” said Proctor, 29, who first began roping with Long when they were children. “My game plan was to really let Jake throw his rope a lot.”
The duo has suffered two no-times but remain fourth in the average championship with a cumulative time of 43.4 seconds on seven qualified times. If they remain in that position, the tandem will add nearly $23,000 to their earnings Saturday night. But anything can – and has – happened in team roping. Only the reigning world champs, Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill, have had times in all nine go-rounds so far.
“You can’t get too up and too down on one steer,” Proctor said. “When bad runs happen, you have to pull your bad mistakes out of it and let it go.”
It’s worked so far.
“That’s what I try to do, and we went from fifth in the average when we walked in and are now fourth again,” he said. “It’s a roller coaster.”
It’s been a great ride so far.