LAS VEGAS – Reese Martin got the perfect gift for her 10th birthday on Friday night at National Finals Rodeo.
Her daddy, Casey, won the ninth round in steer wrestling, scoring a 3.5-second run to collect $26,231, his biggest NFR go-round check in his five trips to Sin City. Not only is it the idea present for Martin’s oldest child, it was much needed. It was just his fourth payday since the 10-day competition began last week.
“I’ve got six kids and a wife at home, and we all have to eat and we have a baby on the way,” Martin said.
He was having just a mediocre NFR before Friday. That changed in a hurry. He now improved his Las Vegas earnings to $56,269 and moved up five spots to eighth in the world standings. His 2015 bank account has reached $131,425.
He and hazer Sean Mulligan had a game plan for the steer once they saw the draw.
“I liked him; they were 4.1 on him earlier in the week,” Martin said. “We had talked about it before. I told ‘Mully’ that the steer wants to keep his head high and to get him shoved to me where I can get his head down and make him wear it. It worked.”
He also got a solid start, riding Ote, which is owned by traveling partner Bray Armes. The key is to be on the barrier that sits at the front of the timed-event box, which is there to allow the steer the appropriate head start. Breaking through that roped barrier costs the contestant a 10-second penalty and takes the cowboy out of the money.
“I missed (in the third round), and I’ve been trying to be on (the barrier) that much every night,” Martin said. “The horse … that’s probably the most important part. These are the best in the world, so we all know how to do our jobs, but the faster you can get your feet on the ground and get everything lined out, that’s the most important part of it.”
It worked out well on Friday. He’d love for it to happen again Saturday during the final night of the ProRodeo season.
It would add a fine bow to Reese’s present.