LAS VEGAS – In his fourth trip to ProRodeo’s grand finale, steer wrestler Riley Duvall is officially having his best National Finals Rodeo.
He’s placed in four of seven nights, including a share of two go-round wins. His most recent came in Wednesday’s seventh round, when he dropped his steer in 3.9 seconds to finish fifth. That was worth $6,967.
More importantly, it pushed his NFR earnings to $81,411. He is now fourth in the world standings with $148,132.
“I didn’t like my last two steers, but I knew tonight’s was OK,” said Duvall of Checotah, Oklahoma. ‘They had been 4.2 and 4.5 on him. The goal was to hit the barrier and see how fast we could be. Anything you get on one you don’t like is a bonus.”
It’s been a great week. He’s made more money in a week than most people in Checotah make in a year. That helps make it even better.
“I’m having fun,” he said. “I’m taking it all in this year. Usually, I’m broke trying to pay off a bunch of debts. This year I’m having fun and taking at the moment like I never have before. It has made my attitude better.”
Like many cowboys, Duvall rodeos all year long to qualify for the NFR. He counts on the money earned in Las Vegas to help sustain things at home and pay for diapers. He has a 6-year-old daughter, Chaney, and a 7-month-old son, Cruze.
“I’m not going to complain about whatever I win,” Duvall said. “I would have liked to finish third, but fifth’s good. It puts money in the pocket and puts us closer to the goal. I want to come in here and win $100,000, so I have three rounds left to get $20,000.
“Last year was rough. I got in a bind financially. There were times this year I had to sell stuff and I had no idea how I was going to go, so coming in here I knew what I needed. I’m close to my goal. I’ve got some stuff paid off. Now we can have fun and enjoy it.”
He’s also been having fun with his longtime friend and traveling partner, Shane Frey, who is serving as Duvall’s hazer, working to keep the steer lined out. The men have a game plan for action every night, and they’re making it all work.
“The horses are working great, and Frey does really good,” Duvall said. “That bulldogging horse goes fast and runs to the right. Our plan is for Frey to just get out there, then get the heck out of the way and let the horse come. I just need him to block the steers and stay out of my way until Dr. Pepper gets them. It worked great tonight.”