LAS VEGAS – Finishing second isn’t all that bad, especially at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett did that Wednesday night during the third round, roping and tying his calf in 7.5 seconds to finish in a tie for second place with reigning world champion Caleb Smidt. Both cowboys earned $18,192.
“Every dollar you win is looked forward to,” said Jarrett, a nine-time NFR qualifier from Comanche, Okla. “It makes things easier starting next year for sure.”
He hasn’t had the finale he had hoped. His run Wednesday marked just the second time he has placed in Las Vegas, but he has earned $34,962 anyway. While he has dropped to 13th in the world standings, he has three rounds remaining in the 2016 season. He has an opportunity to earn more than $75,000 if things go his way.
“It’s hard to have that kind if finals, especially when you run at this kind of money,” said Jarrett, who was raised in Summerville, Ga., before moving to southern Oklahoma with his wife, Shy-Anne. “This is our salary for the year. You just tell yourself, ‘Let’s pull it together; we are better than this, and we need to do our part, step up and rope the correct way. We need to do what we did to get here.’ ”
Through the regular season, Jarrett had roped in $73,400 to advance to ProRodeo’s grand championship. But Lady Luck hasn’t been on his side in Sin City. From tough calves to a couple of mistakes, it’s all part of the competition. Throw in the pressure of competing in rodeo’s Super Bowl, and that further complicates matters.
The one thing he hasn’t been concerned about has been his horsepower. He has leaned on T.J., a 13-year-old gray gelding owned by Canadian Logan Bird.
“The horse has been good,” he said. “I’ve had some I had to track down to be quick, and I got kicked once, but, hey, life goes on.
“I’ll take another (second-place tie) for the next three nights.”
It would be a great way to close out this year’s NFR. Still, Jarrett will always critique himself, even when he has a solid time.
“I could have had a better run on the ground,” Jarrett said. “I’m just glad we have three more to go. Hopefully I can salvage the 2016 NFR.”
That’s not what he had envisioned when he arrived in Las Vegas two weeks ago, but he has learned to fit his future into what has happened in the past. Looking forward means striving for better, and he has his sights set on more prizes ahead.