LAS VEGAS – It’s starting to look like Casey Colletti’s appearance at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo is not a fluke.
Colletti, a bareback rider from Pueblo, Colo., posted an 85.5-point ride on Classic Pro Rodeo’s Fancy Free to finish in a tie for third place in Friday’s second round, earning $9,087 in the process. He has placed in both opening go-rounds of the 10-night slugfest in the Nevada desert – he finished second on Thursday – and has pocketed $23,221 in two nights.
That works out to be $1,451 per second of work for his two eight-second qualifying rides.
“I feel like I’m riding really good,” said Colletti, whose father, Chuck, was a bareback rider. “We watched the ride again today at Cowboy Christmas, and he told me it looked even better on TV.”
Fancy Free is one of numerous great bareback horses from the Texas-based Classic Pro Rodeo, but Colletti knew only what he’d seen and what he heard.
“I’ve only seen her one time, and my traveling partner, Micky Downare, had her in Texarkana (Ark.) a few years ago and was 90 on her,” he said. “I knew I had a chance, but I was nervous.”
“She’s been here at the finals so many times the last several years, and they always win money on her,” Colletti said. “They’ve won the 10th round on her, and I knew all I had to do was take care of my end and I’d be OK. It’s a good feeling to draw great bucking horses like that.”
This is Colletti’s first qualification to ProRodeo’s grand finale, but he’s having the time of his life. Of course, it helps to have won so much money in just two nights of action, but that’s just gravy for the Colorado cowboy who attended Garden City (Kan.) Community College on a rodeo scholarship.
“I’m just going to take it one day at a time,” Colletti said. “We’re here, so we’re just keep having fun one day after another.”