LAS VEGAS – Now in his seventh trip to the National Finals Rodeo, team roping header Coleman Proctor has learned to trust himself and those special things around him.
It showed during Saturday’s third go-round, when he and his heeler, Logan Medlin, stopped the clock in 4.3 seconds to finish in a tie for fourth place, worth $8,083. It was the second time in three nights the tandem has placed in Las Vegas.
“After Round 1, I got the start good (Friday) night, and I got the start again tonight,” said Proctor, 37, of Pryor, Oklahoma. “It feels comfortable. When you get a good roll and you get your timing out here, it gets to feeling a lot better.”
A key is in the animal underneath him. Heisman is a talented bay with a great deal of speed, and Proctor’s horsepower is a major factor in why he is in the City of Lights for the seventh time.
“I think he is the best horse for the set-up out here,” he said. “He definitely fits me the best. He has done a great job. He was awesome last year (at the NFR). He really contributes to how Logan and I’s run can shape up so fast, because I’m not as fast as Tanner Tomlinson or Lightning Aguilera; those kids can throw so fast.
“My horse makes a lot of that up for me. I just need to stay the way that everything comes together, especially out here with these big steers that are so strong. Our steer didn’t handle very good, but my horse can set him on the end (of the rope) and open him up so my guy can have a chance (to rope the back legs).”
It’s working early. Two paydays in three nights is a good step, but neither round paid out much to Proctor and Medlin. They have ach earned $12,747, plus have the $10,000 bonus for being an NFR qualifier that counts toward the world standings.
But they’re doing the little things right, and that could pay off big in the long run. They have roped three steers in a cumulative time of 18.8 seconds and sit third in the average race. With seven nights remaining on the ProRodeo season, it’s way too early to look at that. There are only a few chances to catch the big checks – go-round winners earn just shy of $29,000 a night.
“Our run is something we have really worked at and developed,” Proctor said of he and Medlin. “He comes to my house, and we’ve got some great folks right there by the ranch that have let us use their indoor arena and set up the pen just like the Thomas & Mack. I’ve got a lot of fresh steers; we break them in, and we go at them.
“We rope 70 to 80 a day there for about three days in a row, and then it’s time for Logan to leave because my old, slightly not-as-athletic body is worn out by then. He will come back a couple weeks later, and we can rejuvenate.”
It helps with the technical aspects of roping, but it does something even more for the team.
“Our chemistry is much better,” he said. “Not only does he rope two feet – all heelers rope two feet out here – but our run fits together really well; he makes me fast enough to compete at this level.
“Our run is going to be fast enough, and I have the confidence this year to put more of those runs together.”