LAS VEGAS – None of the tie-down ropers at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo wanted the calf that Ryan Jarrett had drawn in the eighth round.
“She kicked the first time, and that’s the calf that took Shane Hanchey out of the average in the fifth round,” said Jarrett, a nine-time NFR qualifier from Comanche, Okla. “I’d pretty much drawn at the bottom of the herd.”
He proved Thursday night that he can handle the challenge, roping and tying the calf in 8.0 seconds to finish fifth in the round to earn $6,769.
“I knew if she didn’t jump at the gate or do something crazy that she’d try to outrun you,” he said. “I didn’t want to reach with my throw, but I wanted to get a little closer and not throw so much rope so I could get her off her feet on ground and use that momentum to flank her. She’s a stout calf.
“It dang sure wasn’t the best check available for the night, but for what I had drawn, I thought I made the situation work OK.”
He did better than OK, becoming the first roper to earn a paycheck on the tough calf. He now has pushed his NFR earnings to nearly $18,000.
Jarrett is 14th in the world standings with $113,736 in earnings this season. Still, he’s just $72,000 behind the leader, four-time and reigning world champion Tuf Cooper. While Jarrett doesn’t have a shot at winning the world championship – the most he could win over the final two nights is $52,462 – he knows there are opportunities to cash in.
“Nobody has just walked away with the money like in the years past,” Jarrett said. “It’s spread out amongst a lot of different people. Usually one or two guys are clicking it all in.”
While his NFR payout hasn’t been just what he’d like, he knows he can’t stray from his game plan. Just like he did on Thursday night, Jarrett will focus on doing the best job he can on the calves he is matched with in Rounds 9 and 10.
“You’ve just got to take advantage of those good calves when they come along,” said Jarrett, the 2005 all-around world champion. “You can definitely get caught up in all that’s going on out here and not take care of business.
“Hopefully I’ll get some good draws these last two rounds and can take advantage of them.”