LAS VEGAS – Riley Duvall knew he had to take a chance Tuesday night.
It paid off with a 3.6-second steer wrestling run, which helped the Checotah, Okla., man share the Round 6 victory with two other cowboys at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“Tonight was wild,” said Duvall, who tied Tyler Waguespack and Billy Bugenig. “That steer let up a little the first time. I knew I wanted to take a crazy start, and that yellow horse worked so nice. I caught up a little faster than I thought, and I thought I broke the barrier. They told me that’s the way it’s supposed to feel.”
The yellow horse is Ote, a 14-year-old palomino gelding owned by Bray Armes that has guided fellow bulldogger Matt Reeves to nearly $80,000 over the last six days. Duvall got on Ote the first time in Round 4 and promptly placed, then followed it up with another big run Tuesday. The latter was worth $20,872 and pushed his NFR earnings to $32,282.
“Ote has been outstanding,” he said. “He’s leaving that corner so sharp and hunting those steers down. He feels great, and I’m very lucky Bray and Matt have let me on him. I’m pumped for these next four rounds.”
He should be. He has earned $93,460 this season and sits ninth in the world standings. More importantly, there is a lot of money up for grabs on the final four nights of the season. In fact, he has the potential of earning more than $100,000 if everything goes his way.
This NFR has been somewhat of a dream come true. Though he’s only placed two nights, it comes after earning his first qualification to sport’s premier championship. He follows in the footsteps of his father, Sam, who is serving as Riley’s hazer this week.
“My dad is riding Matt Reeves’ hazing horse, Beamer, and it’s always been a goal of mine to have my dad haze for me,” Duvall said. “Matt was nice enough to let that happen.
“In 1987, my dad was 23 and at his first finals, and his dad, Bill, hazed for him here.”
So the family tradition continues. That custom includes winning – Riley Duvall is the third generation and fifth member of his family to compete at the NFR. His great uncle, Roy, is a three-time world champion, so winning is a big part of who Riley Duvall is and what he needs to do the rest of this week.
“This gives me some confidence that I can compete out here,” he said. “It had been slow, and I hadn’t been doing that good. But by getting that win, I’m ready to roll now.”
Just in time.