LAS VEGAS – Garrett Shadbolt was the odd man out during the bareback riding at the National Finals Rodeo.
He placed five times, all in Rounds 2, 4, 6, 8 and 10.
“Every other round, I’d win a check, then I’d win nothing, then win a check, then nothing,” said Shadbolt, 25, of Merriman, Nebraska. “It was an up-and-down roller coaster, but at the same time, I was consistent. I’d say the Shadbolt brand of riding bareback horses is consistency, don’t let off and finish every ride.”
He proved that method works, riding Macza’s Stevie Nicks for 87.5 points to finish fourth in Saturday’s 10th round of the National Finals Rodeo. That was worth $11,321. He also finished sixth in the aggregate race, worth a bonus of $16,982 and left Las Vegas with $96,906. He finished his season fifth in the world standings with $192,919.
Not only that, but he learned many lessons over the 10-day championship.
“I’m happy with how it went this year,” he said. “I want to improve my riding. Getting on 10 head in a row is a whole different ballpark. It is a different mentality. I think I’ve got some things I’m going to be able to do next year that’s going to improve my riding.
“Stevie Nicks was really the one I wanted out of this pen. There are probably some stronger buckers in this pen, but I’ve seen her before. I always wanted to be there, and I was excited to get on her tonight. She was a little more than I expected. It is a ride I am happy to hang my hat on and finish the finals out with.”
The goal every year for every cowboy that makes a living on the rodeo trail is to end the season as the world champion. Finishing among the top five is a fantastic feat, especially for the Nebraska cowboy making his first appearance in Las Vegas. Collecting as much cash as he did in the Nevada desert is a fantastic bonus, but rodeo is different than most sports: dollars equal points, and the person who finishes each year with the most money will be crowned world champions in each event.
“I had a couple of goals coming into the finals,” Shadbolt said. “I wanted to finish in the top 10, and I wanted to ride everything I go on. Well, by golly, this was a lot better than I thought. That is a lot of money; the money is not really real right now, because I haven’t seen it.
“I’ve just been pedaling down. There are a lot of things I can use that for. I have two little ones to take care of. I’ve been rodeoing out of a Dodge Grand Caravan, but I think I’m going to try to find a rodeo rig.”
With an extra 100 grand in his pocket, he can get something nice.