LAS VEGAS – Chaney Duvall doesn’t really care if her father has had a good run or a bad one at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Chaney is the 13-month-old daughter of Riley Duvall, who is competing in ProRodeo’s grand championship for the first time in his career. After every run, the 24-year-old steer wrestler from Checotah, Okla., makes his way to Chaney and his wife, Megan; he hugs them and sits next to them and enjoys the moment.
On Sunday night, the trio had a moment to celebrate after Riley Duvall downed his steer in 4.5 seconds to finish the fourth round in a three-way tie for sixth place worth $1,410. It was a much-needed payday after missing out the opening three rounds.
“We got a start at least, so we’ve got something to feed off of now,” said Duvall, who pushed his season earnings to $72,588. “I wouldn’t say I’ve been frustrated, but it’s been an eye-opening three rounds. A guy gets here and expects to win every night.”
That’s the mentality of a competitor. He just missed the pay window in Rounds 1 and 3 and had to settle for a no-time on the second night. Now he has six rounds remaining in the ProRodeo season to cash in as much as possible.
“I think I’ve got things figured out,” he said. “The biggest key for me is the horse change. I got on Bray Armes’ horse, Ote, and I’ve got a lot of confidence on him for the next six rounds.”
Ote is a 14-year-old palomino gelding that has helped a number of cowboys earn a lot of money in Las Vegas. He first appeared at the NFR in 2012, then guided Armes to the average championship in 2013. After realizing some of his struggles came in horsepower, Duvall opted to ride Ote.
“I’ve run two steers on him in my life,” Duvall said. “I got on him before we came out here, and that was my second steer. He’s just so strong every time. When he leaves the corner, he gets you there in a hurry.”
It showed in the fourth round, and he’d like to take it a step or two higher for the remainder of the NFR.
“It’s good to just get a check and say I placed here,” he said. “Hopefully that can get the momentum going, and hopefully we can get some big checks the next few rounds.”
Go-round winners pocket $26,231 each night, so he has plenty of opportunities to pad his bank account. He’ll need it. He trails the world standings leader, Tyler Waguespack, by nearly $95,000. But there’s enough time for him to make up ground, and he has no problem keeping that vision in site.
“It pays so good a guy stays focused no matter what,” Duvall said. “Probably the best part for me is getting to hang out with Megan and Chaney every day. I love having them out here.”
How did they help him when he didn’t earn a check the opening three days?
“Megan keeps me sane and keeps me focused on the next round,” he said.
And Chaney smiles and jabbers and keeps everything else in perspective for the bulldogger. He comes from a steer wrestling family, so he understands the ups and downs that come with the game.
He also knows the joy he sees every time he looks into his daughter’s eyes. That’s worth every penny.