LAS VEGAS – The most difficult-to-ride bareback riding horses in ProRodeo are always featured in the third round of the National Finals Rodeo.
Over the last two years, Clayton Biglow has struggled in the “Eliminator Pen” of bucking horses and hasn’t managed to get through Round 3 with a score. That changed Saturday night, as the Clements, California, bareback rider handled Calgary Stampede’s Soap Bubbles for 86 points to finish the night in fifth place.
“I finally made it through my third round,” he said with a laugh, knowing full well how tough the job is to not only stay on the rank bucking horses but also ride well enough to finish in the money. “That horse was a toad. Bareback riders … we call it a grunter, because I was grunting the entire time I was riding her.
“She is a big ol’ blue roan, and she is all that you want, a handful. I wish I would have ridden her better. Obviously, every time you get off, there is something you could have done better, but I’m glad I got her ridden and glad I got a good check out of the round.”
He did, and the $6,769 he pocketed Saturday night pushed his NFR earnings to $37,500. He remains No. 1 in the world standings with $219,452, but his lead has diminished a bit after the runner-up, Kaycee Feild, finished third. Biglow leads Feild, a four-time world champion, by less than $18,000.
“I have been having some struggles here and there,” said Biglow, now riding at the NFR for the fourth time in his career. “I feel like my spur rides haven’t been as good … well, the first round was good, but the last two nights are below average.”
Of course, the difficulty of the “E pen” might have something to do with it, too. He hopes to change that around Sunday, when the bareback riders will face “hoppers,” horses that are very rider friendly.
“I guarantee you that we are going to go out there and have a good one that’s going to let you have some fun,” he said. “I’m looking forward to then, forget about (Saturday) and don’t stress about it.”
He proposed to his fiancé two weeks ago, and that relationship has been a blessing, especially though the trials, tribulations and success that come through the NFR. Riding the best bareback horses in the world can take a toll on a cowboy’s body.
“She’s been taking care of me,” Biglow said of Annierose Marvel Seifert, his longtime girlfriend. “I go to the spa and relax and get my body warmed up. I get a little workout and stretch. My body feels fine. It is working on every cylinder.
“My confidence is high, and I’m ready to keep it rolling.”