LAS VEGAS – With every run he made in the Thomas & Mack Center, Riley Duvall earned some valuable lessons.
That training paid off to the tune of $67,926 over 10 nights in the Nevada desert, where he placed in four Wrangler National Finals Rodeo go-rounds and moved up five spots to eighth in the world standings.
“I learned everything about the NFR this week,” said Duvall, 24, of Checotah, Okla. “With 10 head and it paying $26,000 a night, you can’t let yesterday bother you. It took me three or four rounds to forget about that and just go on to the next one.”
He earned at least a tie in two go-rounds, sharing the sixth-round victory with eventual world champion Tyler Waguespack and NFR veteran Billy Bugenig; he won the ninth round outright. He downed his steer in 4.2 seconds to finish in a four-way tie for third place Saturday on the final night of the season.
“I had a good steer,” he said of his run, which was worth $9,413. “I felt like I should’ve been faster. I rushed him on the ground, but I’ve gotten two checks in the last two rounds, so I have a little confidence heading into next year.”
“I guess I placed in four of the last six (rounds), so that was alright.”
It wasn’t the first time Duvall had backed into the timed-event box inside the Thomas & Mack, the home of the NFR since 1985. He has been a hazer – the mounted rider who helps keep the animal running in a straight line during steer wrestling – on two occasions.
“This was a lot different from hazing, but I’ve got some confidence going into next year,” Duvall said. “I finished strong, so I’m pumped.”
He should be.