LAS VEGAS – When nickels are mixed with dimes, they eventually add up to dollars.
That seems to be how Cole Franks is playing his game in Sin City this week during his second appearance at the National Finals Rodeo. He’s placed five out of six nights, so that’s good. He even finished in a tie for second in Round 4. That was his biggest paycheck of the week at $20,000.
Beyond that, he’s added just he’s earned just shy of $26,000, which is a significant payday for four days’ work. Alas, go-round winners earn more than that every night, so it’s sub-par in the eyes of the men who are competing at the biggest rodeo all year.
Besides Round 4, his biggest payday came in Tuesday’s sixth go-round, when he rode J Bar J Rodeo’s Yum Bugs for 87 points to finish fourth, worth $12,125.
“I’m happy with it,” said Franks, 21, of Clarendon, Texas. “I got on that horse in this round last year. That horse is awesome and so much fun to get on. I feel like I made a couple bobbles there at the end. It could have been better, but it could have been a lot worse. It was still fun either way.”
He sits ninth in the world standings with $172,284. He is also tied for fourth in the average race with 507.5 cumulative points on six rides. By placing in the aggregate at the end of the NFR, he would be able to add a significant bonus to his earnings.
Of course, having the right horses makes a big difference in how things go.
“The horses we had tonight were the kind that everybody wants to get on,” he said. “Anywhere you’d go, you’d want these by your name. There were a lot of thee horses that were out tonight that could be in the TV pen; they are just a step down from the TV pen.”
The animals are separated into five pens, and the bareback riders are the ones making the selections (in order of Round 1-5, the Rounds 6-10): souped-up hoppers, semi-eliminators, eliminators, hoppers and TV pen. That means the toughest-to-ride horses are featured in Rounds 3 and 8, and the flashiest horses are in Round 5 and 10, designated TV pen in a look back to when the NFR was only broadcast during the final round of the 10-round championship.
“These horses that were out tonight were versatile,” Franks said. “If you put them in anybody’s pen, you’d be able to win most of the time.
“Things started out slow for what I was hoping for, but it is still good. I’m ready for it to pick up more. I’m trying to set the bar higher and keeping going for the round every time. If it don’t happen, then it don’t happen, but I’m going to be swinging for it.”