LAS VEGAS – Bull rider Wesley Silcox qualified for the National Finals Rodeo six times in seven years from 2005-11.
He’s waited four years for his seventh trip to the Nevada desert for ProRodeo’s championship event; he then waited for five nights to reach the pay window in Las Vegas.
“It’s about time,” said Silcox, the 2007 world champion.
He matched moves with Bar T Rodeo’s Broken Arrow for 86 points to win Monday’s fifth go-round and collect his biggest one-day check over his NFR career, $26,231.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve been to the NFR, and I’m just happy to be back and feeling good,” he said. “I didn’t think I was riding bad but just had a little bad luck.”
It’s true. Monday marked the first time this week Silcox has made a qualifying eight-second ride, but he was close in the four previous rounds. Close doesn’t pay the bills nor help grab gold buckles – in rodeo, money not only covers expenses but also counts as championship points; the contestants with the most money earned at the conclusion of the NFR is crowned world champion.
“My confidence was still up,” Silcox said. “I wasn’t down at all. I knew that bull; I saw him a whole bunch but never got on him. I knew what he was going to do, and he tested me a little bit.
“It felt really good, and I passed the test.”
That was vital, especially after hitting the dirt hard on Sunday night. Silcox staggered out of the arena, but he was fine by the time he arrived at the Thomas & Mack Center a night later.
“That (fourth round) bull just left, and I didn’t leave with him,” he said, noting he was a little behind on the start of the ride. “He rocked me back and whipped me down on the ground hard. I got a slight concussion and a sore neck, but other than that, I feel pretty good.”
A big paycheck can help with any pain.
The victory pushed his earnings to a little more than $142,000, and he sits fourth in the world standings – Silcox sits more than $72,000 behind world standings leader and reigning world champion Sage Kimzey, but the Utah cowboy can close the gap in a hurry. He can move into the lead if he wins three of the final five rounds.
“You get one down, and that’s a good start,” he said. “You try to get the next ones down and get on a roll.”
Momentum starts somewhere, and Silcox’s began Monday night.