LAS VEGAS – During Monday’s fifth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Clayton Biglow scored 86.5 points.
It’s a winning score, for sure, but it didn’t earn the Clements, Calif., bareback rider any money. He finished seventh; only the top six earn money at the NFR. That’s how tough things are inside the Thomas & Mack Center this week.
“The bareback riding has been outstanding, and it’s tough to win money here,” said Biglow, who earned a share of the sixth-round victory after matching moves with Frontier Rodeo’s Night Fist for 88 points. “To be here is a huge accomplishment.”
That’s true. Only the top 15 in the world standings at the end of the regular season get to play for the biggest pay in the game this week in Las Vegas. But each man wants is fair share of the $8 million purse, and until Tuesday, Biglow hadn’t earned a dime more than the $10,000 bonus he received for qualifying.
That changed to the tune of $23,481. He shared the round win with Wyoming cowboy J.R. Vezain. Most importantly, it gets things rolling for Biglow, who pushed is earnings to $161,633. He sits sixth in the world standings.
“This rodeo adds so much money, and there’s so much to be up every night,” he said. “You can’t beat yourself up when things aren’t going right. I’m not upset about how I’m riding. A couple of times, I didn’t have a very good horse.
“I come in each night with a fresh mind and want to win each and every time. You just have to let the chips fall where they may. God has a plan for everyone. Just keep doing what you’re doing and don’t worry about it.”
The “one game at a time” philosophy works in rodeo, and Biglow proved it. He has maintained his focus through each tough round. That big wind that blew through the Nevada desert Tuesday was his sigh of relief.
A key factor was having Night Fist.
“It felt great,” Biglow said. “I’ve actually been on that horse before. Orin (Larsen) won second in the first round this year. I knew it was a great shot to win money; I just had to do my job. Tonight, she had an outstanding trip.”
Now he hopes it continues.
“This isn’t over,” he said. “There’s still a lot of money left to get.”
Biglow has four more nights to get it.