LAS VEGAS – Coleman Proctor needed to change some things up.
He and his heeler, Billie Jack Saebens, have been just out of the money three times through the first five nights of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and had one no-time, so Proctor made a horse change.
“Waiting on Round 5 to win something is now how we want it,” said Proctor, a four-time NFR qualifier from Pryor, Okla. “It’s now how we drew it up, but we’ve been pecking away.
“It’s funny how a guy can get tapped off and rolling in the right direction or he’s in the whole. I made the horse change tonight; I’m on my little bay horse, Heisman. I thought he did an outstanding job.”
He and Saebens stopped the clock in 4.0 seconds to finish the fifth round in a tie for third place, worth $13,327. It was important for the tandem to finally earn some Vegas money.
“Billie ropes great,” Proctor said. “The steer he missed was tough to heel. He made a great run on him tonight. That sucker tricked us; he came up the rope and was hard to heel. He usually ropes every thing else by two feet. I feel like we have had just a few little bad breaks.
“He’s roping great, the horses are working great and I feel like it is coming our way. I’m grateful for a check tonight, and I’m looking forward to many more the rest of the week.”
The NFR is a tricky championship. Saebens and Proctor are just one of the top 15 teams that are competing for the world championship. Just like Las Vegas, Lady Luck can be a negative piece of the puzzle inside the Thomas & Mack Center.
So maybe changing to Heisman changed his luck, or maybe it just gave him and Saebens a different opportunity.
“He let me get off the back (of the timed-event box) a little quicker,” Proctor said of the horse. “You’ve got to get out of there a lot sooner. I was just missing the barrier on the sorrel. We would catch and make a good run, but we weren’t winning anything.
“Sometimes it’s like a heavy-weight fight; you’ve just got to make your way through the meat of the rounds, and finally it will come your way.”
Now he can enjoy his time with his baby, Stella Rein Lèon Proctor, who was born in late October. She won’t remember anything about this NFR, but she’ll have a nice scrapbook he will provide.
“Having her here is great,” he said. “We go back to the room every night. We watch Longmire on Netflix, and she goes right to sleep. It’s been an awesome routine this week, and we have enjoyed it.”