LAS VEGAS – Tim Bingham likes it when his mind is clear on the back of a bucking bull.
It showed Thursday night during the first round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where he matched moves with Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Backup for 85.5 points to finish in a tie for third place. He earned $13,367.
“I went back to the old, natural muscle memory, and everything worked out,” said Bingham, 26, of Honeyville, Utah. “Last year it took me to Round 9 before I placed, so I was starting to tell myself, ‘You’re running out of bulls.’ To get on the first bull, place and get it out of the way, it just kind of frees up your week.”
Bingham has pushed his season earnings to nearly $130,000 on the season. He sits eighth in the world standings, but the key is having that momentum rolling into the final five nights of the ProRodeo season. He was quite happy to catch a paycheck on the opening night of the 10-round championship … all while riding through the discomfort of a bone contusion he suffered late in the rodeo season.
“I wasn’t necessarily questioning how it would go,” he said. “I felt completely confident. I was prepared and ready to get on, but I haven’t been on hardly anything or any practice bulls like I usually do. I just kept riding all year long and stayed tuned up for the finals.
“This year, with this leg being so sore, I had to go more at it like recovery, take a break and freshen up for reparation. Mentally-wise, both rounds are great, so when I came here, I was just confident that my head was right as long as I could toughen it out and try to forget about the leg pain while I was riding.”
Before the rodeo, he receive a cortisone injection to help alleviate pain. That seemed to work, and he found himself at the pay window for just the fifth time through 21 rides at the NFR.
“Today it felt like it was back before it was sore,” Bingham said. “That probably gave me a little bit of confidence. Just the fact that when I jumped on that bull and couldn’t feel any pain, I was like, “OK, well, it has gotten to be a little bit better, so I must be good to go.”
At least he was on Thursday night.