LAS VEGAS – Even bad experiences come with great lessons.
Those lessons have come in handy for team roping header Coleman Proctor of Pryor, Okla., who has been helping partner Jake Long with the care of Long’s top horse, Colonel.
“Jake’s good horse has an abscess, and I’ve had quite a bit of experience with that,” Proctor said. “Jake had to use his backup horse (Friday) night, but he got Colonel back” for the third round.
“Carmen, my good horse, has had some abscess problems, so I’m helping Jake with caring for Colonel. We’re packing his foot every night and giving him the best care we can. We rely on our horses, so you have to do all you can to take care of them.”
It helped the dynamic team that has been roping together since they were youngsters. Proctor and Long stopped the clock in 4.6 seconds on Saturday night to finish third in Round 3, collecting $15,654. That pushed Proctor’s season earnings to $95,783; he is now ninth place on the heading money list with seven rounds remaining in ProRodeo’s year-end championship.
“It’s huge, because we broke the ice,” he said. “We’ve caught all our steers, so it’s been a good start. We won $15,000, and we still have time to go after them. Now it’s time to go get that gold buckle.”
In rodeo, money not only pays bills and expenses for competition, dollars equal points. The contestants in each discipline with the most money at the conclusion of the Wrangler NFR will be crowned world champions and will be awarded the prestigious Montana Silversmiths gold buckle.
But the 10-day finale features only the very best in each event, so the competition is stiff. Proctor and Long finished one-tenth of a second out of the money in the opening round, then they suffered a five-second penalty on Friday night by catching just one of two hind feet.
“The first round, I took an extra swing, and that cost us from getting a check,” said Proctor, who attended Northwestern Oklahoma State University on a rodeo scholarship. “In the second round, the rope popped off my saddle horn. I was hoping to set the table a little better for Jake.
“Jake had to pull off a heck of a heel shot to allow us to get a time.”
That’s what teammates do. In fact, Proctor has enlisted the help of another teammate, Tiffany Wagner, who is in Las Vegas to help take care of Proctor’s horses.
“Jake had told me that I needed to have someone to take care of my horses,” he said. “She came out last year and helped me, and we had a good finals. It helped calm my nerves to have somebody out here who had been here before. I’m really excited she came back to help.”
It all adds up to a winning combination.
“My horse is working great, and I’m very confident in where we are,” Proctor said. “I have the best partner in the world and a great horse. Good things are fixing to come.”