LAS VEGAS – Casey Martin need this.
The steer wrestler from Sulpher, La., had seen paychecks slip out of his hands for three straight nights at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He changed that Monday night during the fifth go-round inside the Thomas & Mack Center when he posted a 4.1-second run to finish in a four-way tie for fourth place.
“Every time you win a check, I think it helps a lot, especially when things aren’t going your way a little bit,” said Martin, who is competing at ProRodeo’s grand finale for the fifth straight year. “It boosts everything.”
He and his partners also made a few significant changes. Under the urging of his traveling partner, Bray Armes, Martin switched from utilizing Armes as his hazer to Sean Mulligan, who has spent more time in the hazing box at the NFR.
“Bray thought it would be better,” Martin said. “It’s good to have ‘Mully’ over there. He’s one of the best in the game.”
That’s not the only thing that has changed in the Louisiana cowboy’s camp. After missing his steer during the third round, Martin knows he stands little to no shot at an average check for finishing among the top eight cowboys in the 10-round cumulative standings. That means if he’s going to make a run at that elusive world championship, he’s going to have to do it in the remaining five go-rounds.
“I’m just backing in there and going to try to win the go-round every night,” he said. “I’ve had some runners. The steer you draw isn’t a big deal until you look at things in a 10th of a second. I was 4.1, and 4.0 would’ve won a whole lot more money.”
By finishing in a tie for fourth, Martin earned $5,500. The two cowboys who were a 10th of a second faster, Trevor Knowles and Seth Brockman, earned more than $18,000.
“Going after the go-rounds wasn’t the way I was hoping to look at the NFR, but now it’s for sure,” Martin said. “I better get out there and win something. We want big checks from here on out.”
Martin sits 15th in the world standings with $89,541, but the race is still tight. He trails world standings leader Ty Erickson by nearly $68,000. He can make a serious move with first-place finishes in three of the five rounds that remain.
He’ll definitely make a run at it.