DUNCAN, Okla. – Yance Day’s life has changed considerably since he first started riding bareback horses.
It’s about to change again.
Day and his girlfriend are due to have a baby girl in November. He’ll need to keep padding his pocketbook in anticipation for her arrival, and he’ll have his chance to do so at the Chisholm Trail Ram Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, set for 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 13-Saturday, Oct. 15, at the Stephens County Arena in Duncan.
“Getting ready to have a baby has given me a whole new perspective on things,” said Day, 32, of Tahlequah, Oklahoma. “I’m really excited about everything that’s coming my way and everything that’s happened. It makes me realize it’s not about me. I’ve got people that are counting on me.”
As a rodeo cowboy, life has always been about what he can do on the back of a bucking horse. With a family in his future, his talents pave the way for how he pays for formula, baby food and diapers. He sits No. 2 in the Prairie Circuit’s bareback riding standings, but that comes with a bonus caveat: The leader, Nebraskan Garrett Shadbolt, has been focused on returning to the National Finals Rodeo and didn’t get to his minimum of circuit rodeos; that means Shadbolt is ineligible to win the year-end title.
“I’d love to win the circuit,” Day said. “If I could do that, I could go to the national circuit finals (now called the NFR Open). I’d really like to win that, too.”
This isn’t his first trip to Duncan, which has hosted the circuit finals every year since 2012. He just wants it to be his most memorable. Wisdom comes from age and experience, and he has that. With the bigger picture in front of him, he’s more focused on what he wants and how to achieve it.
“In most of the years I’ve been to the circuit finals, I didn’t take care of business like I needed to,” he said. “I was just riding for myself.”
He not only rides for a family, he has figured out every way he can care for others in his life, too. When he’s not riding bucking horses, he is driving a dump truck for his brother’s business. That, combined with success in the rodeo arena, has provided some financial rewards, and he’s not looking back now.
The Prairie Circuit is made up of rodeos and contestants primarily from the Oklahoma-Kansas-Nebraska region. He won four titles at events in Manhattan, Kansas; Haysville, Kansas; Cheyenne, Oklahoma; Durant, Oklahoma; and an event in Wichita Falls, Texas, that also was co-sanctioned in the Prairie Circuit.
“My plan this year was to stick around the circuit, make the circuit finals and get my qualifications up,” Day said, referring to being among the top 50 in the world standings so he can compete in big, indoor rodeos through the winter. “I wasn’t getting into any of those last year.
“I’ve got my qualifications up, so I’m going to go to those big Texas rodeos in the winter and see what happens. If I hit a good lick over there, then I’m going to be chasing the NFR (qualification) hard. I’m looking forward to it; I’m hungry for it.”