LAS VEGAS – Every step forward is positive for bareback rider Clayton Biglow.
He proved that again Wednesday night, riding Frontier Rodeo’s Short Night for 86.5 points to collect his fourth paycheck of this year’s National Finals Rodeo, this one worth $8,885.
“I feel pretty good,” said Biglow, 23, of Clements, Calif. “I’ve had to work on a few things since I’ve been here. I was hoping I wouldn’t have to work on anything and just have fun. But I feel like I’m riding good. My body is holding up really nice, and I feel strong.
“I’m ready for the next three rounds and just build off what I’ve done so far.”
What he’s done has been fantastic. Through seven nights in Sin City, he has pocketed more than $66,000 and pushed his 2018 earnings to beyond the $200,000 threshold. He is now $39,000 behind the leader, Caleb Bennett, with three nights remaining on the ProRodeo season.
“That horse was Short Night, and she’s a pretty good horse,” he said. “She turned out backwards and went around to the right pretty good. I think I rode her pretty good. When her butt came out first, she kind of missed a couple seconds, but she was pretty good across the arena.”
Short night was the perfect precursor to Thursday’s eighth round, which will feature the top cowboys against the hardest-to-ride horses in bareback riding. The first time the “eliminator” pen was out last Saturday, only 11 of the 15 cowboys earned qualified rides.
“You have to grit your teeth every time and get it rode,” Biglow said, noting that bareback riding is hard on each cowboy’s body because their hands are wedged into a riggin’ that is strapped tightly to the animal’s back. “(Thursday) night separates the boys from the men, and I’m ready to be a man about it. I’ve been no scores two years in a row, and I don’t like it.
“I crave those horses. When you are bareback rider, those are the ones that are going to define how good you really want to be. That’s how I look at it, and everyone else should, because those are the ones that test you and are the ones you have to ride the best.”
He’s ridden rank ones before. Though he bucked off Beutler & Son’s Killer Bee the last time the eliminators were out, but he rode another rank horse, two-time Bareback Horse of the Year Virgil from C5 Rodeo, for an arena-record 93 points on Monday night.
“I feel like I rode Killer Bee really good for six seconds, but you have to ride them for eight,” he said with a smile. “Those are the rules. I feel good. I know I can ride them. I’ve done it before, but I just haven’t completed here twice. My first year here, I won the round with the semi-eliminator pen.
“I like riding those horses.”