ARLINGTON, Texas – For a young man in the middle of a world-title race, Wyatt Casper isn’t too concerned about the things outside of his control.
He’s handling it like a veteran, and that’s a good thing.
“Toward the beginning of the week, I had been staying focused on the standings, looking at the money, looking at it all,” said Casper, who rode Calgary Stampede’s Y U R Friskey for 85.5 points to finish in a tie for sixth place in Wednesday’s seventh go-round of the National Finals Rodeo.
“I hadn’t had very good luck the last couple nights, so I stopped looking at that. I’m just going to stick to having fun. If it goes our way, it goes our way. There’s not a whole lot I can do about it if I don’t draw the best horses.”
While he collected cash – $2,115 for sharing the same score with the No. 2 man, Ryder Wright – it wasn’t what he was hoping for with the Canadian bucking horse.
“I’ve been on it at Fort Worth (Texas) this year, and I was 88.5,” Casper said. “It didn’t go quite as good, but he felt a little stronger than what he did the last time. I was pretty lucky to get by him. He kind of got me bucked off by the fourth jump. I got sat back down, and it felt good.”
That’s the nature of saddle bronc riding. There’s nothing but stirrups and a rein that holds a cowboy down on the animal as it jumps, bucks and kicks, and matching that with the spurring motion the cowboy tries to make in rhythm with the horse can allow for some wild experiences. Lifting on the rein can help the cowboy more than anything.
Another piece of the puzzle is the bronc, which receives half the score. When animals don’t perform up to par, then scores get dropped. Casper was just 82.5 points Tuesday night and finished a few spots out of the money.
Still, he’s ridden six of seven horses he’s mounted and sits third in the average race with 520 cumulative points. The men above him in the aggregate have ridden all seven horses.
“I felt like that horse (Tuesday) night was probably at the bottom of the pen,” he said regarding the random draw out of the 15 horses that were bucked in the round. “We’re just trying to keep getting horses down. It will fall where it falls.
“I feel like I’m riding at the top of my game. We just hope we start running some really good horses under us and pick up a couple more first-place checks.”
Casper has earned nearly $91,000 in seven nights of riding at Globe Life Field. He’s still No. 1 in the world standings with $235,946, but Wright has gained ground; Wright is less than $13,000 behind and sits first in the average.
“I’m just going to stay focused,” said Casper of Miami, Texas. “I’m going to take it night by night and just stick to the game plan of riding them all as good as I can.”