LAS VEGAS – Everyone deserves a vacation, and steer wrestler Casey Martin finally gets his.
He’s not booking a flight overseas or planning a ski trip. He’s not looking to sit on a beach. No, after a rugged 2015 Pro Rodeo season, Martin is ready to return to southeastern Louisiana. After 10 days in the Nevada desert for the National Finals Rodeo, he’s ready to return to the humidity and comforts of home.
“The biggest break I need is to spend time at home with the family,” Martin said. “That’s all I’ll do on my break.”
He travels tens of thousands of miles a year and many hours behind the wheel as he hit the circuit, commuting from one rodeo to another chasing his rodeo dreams. He put them to bed for the year on Saturday night during the NFR’s 10th round, grappling his steer to the turf in 4.0 seconds to finish in a three-way tie for fourth place, worth, $7,333.
“I had a steer that they ran to the back of the gate damn near all week,” he said, referring to the track record the steer wrestlers had compiled through the previous rounds that steer had been run in Vegas. “All three times they ran him way down there. I knew he’d handle fast if I could get the start I needed and get my feet on the ground fast.”
Riding a talented palomino gelding named Ote, Martin got the start he needed. He also relied on hazer Sean Mulligan to place the steer in perfect position for a fast time. Ote, owned by good friend and traveling partner Bray Armes, was one of the guiding forces behind Martin’s NFR run.
In all, the Louisiana cowboy placed in five go-rounds – including a victory in Friday’s ninth round – to earn $63,603 in Sin City. He moved up four spots to 10th in the final world standings with $138,759.
He began ProRodeo’s grand finale with a bang, sharing fourth in the opening round on Dec. 3. He concluded it the same way Saturday night, but there was plenty of drama along the way. After the fourth round and three straight runs of not placing, Armes pulled himself as Martin’s hazer and pushed veteran Sean Mulligan into the starting role.
“I fired myself,” Armes said, saying Martin would never have fired him. He added that Martin deserved every opportunity to cash in, and Mulligan gave the bulldogger a better chance.
It worked. In his fifth straight NFR qualification, Martin placed in four of the last six go-rounds. He was just shy of placing in the average, a post-finale bonus that rewards cowboys that do the best in the fastest 10-round cumulative time.
“I could look back and critique every run,” he said. “There’s not much point to it now.”
No, now is the time to reflect on another strong season and top-10 finish. Now is the time to put his boots away and relax with those closest to him. Now is the time to focus on priorities.
That’s the perfect vacation for Martin.