LAS VEGAS – Coleman Proctor had a message for his supporters after closing out his seventh qualification to the National Finals Rodeo.
“Enjoy not being stressed on this 10th round, because it’s not going to be that way next year,” he said, pointing to his goal of being in the world-championship hunt for 2022. “This year did give me a lot of confidence from the finals. To be able to go that fast and not feel like I was trying to go that fast is absolutely big. I felt comfortable being able to go that fast.”
It showed for six nights. He placed that many times, including at least a share of two go-round wins. He and his heeler, Logan Medlin, failed to secure a time in four rounds but more than made up for it the other nights inside the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas.
They won the fifth round outright, the third time in his career that Proctor earned the title on Pink Night, when the cowboy culture wears pink at the NFR in order to raise money and awareness for cancer research. He and longtime friend and heeler Jake Long did it in 2014 and ’15, and it was the last time Proctor had a round win until this year’s run.
He and Medlin also earned a share of the ninth-round victory, stopping the clock in an event-best 3.5 seconds. In all, the Pryor, Oklahoma, team roper collected $106,231 over 10 nights in the Nevada desert. He ended the season with $198,986, good enough for eighth in the world standings. His last payday came with a 4.3-second run to finish in a tie for third place in Saturday’s final round.
“We had a great finals,” said Proctor of Pryor, Oklahoma. “You can look at it that we went 0-4 in some rounds, or you could look at it that 60 percent of the time it worked every time.”
It proved that the partnership between him and Medlin is solid. They didn’t let the no-times slow them down, and they built on the good runs.
“Our chemistry is everything when we practice our run, because it fits in the Thomas & Mack really good,” he said. “We can bring a lot of consistency moving forward. This is his first trip to the Thomas & Mack. It’s a different go for a heeler. The last quarter of the NFR was like our season; in the fourth quarter, we came back strong.”
By finishing among the top 10, he and Medlin have secured their spots in big rodeos that begin the 2022 calendar year, including The American, a rodeo Proctor won in 2019 with then-partner Ryan Motes. It offers a $100,000 payout to the winners of each event, half of which will count toward the PRCA world standings.
“If you’re not winning the world, you’ve got The American accomplished,” he said. “This is the most money I’ve won in the go-rounds; I won about the same amount before, but we finished second in the average. We didn’t get an average check. To win $106,000 in the rounds, you find a lot to build off of. I think the toughest thing for a team roper is how to be fast enough. When you’re trying to beat the other guys, it’s a significant question.”
That’s the case inside the Thomas & Mack Center, where the arena is about the size of a hockey rink. The slowest winning time was 4.2 seconds, which is lightning fast considering all that goes into team roping. There are two horses, one steer and two ropers, and it all has to come together flawlessly.
“The gold buckle is always on the table,” Proctor said. “That’s what I told my partner (Saturday) night. We shook hands and agreed that a lot of positives came out of this week. Logan is that kind fo heeler; he not only excites me about roping and team roping, but he’s a special guy with a special talent and a really special horse. It makes it a lot easier to grind through the season with that.
“It feels like we’ve got a pretty sweet mix.”
The last 10 nights have proven that.