ESTES PARK, Colo. – There were 13 National Finals Rodeo qualifiers and four world champions who own a combined eight gold buckles that competed in Friday’s third performance of Rooftop Rodeo.
That was just in team roping, and the leaderboard changed in a hurry. The fastest run of the first round came with the tandem of header Coleman Proctor and heeler Logan Medlin, who stopped the clock in 4.3 seconds.
“I didn’t score great, which put me behind,” said Proctor, a six-time NFR qualifier from Pryor, Oklahoma. “I knew I had to let go of (the rope) pretty quick. Luckily it went on; I don’t know how. Then (the steer) tee’d up at the end of it, and Logan shut him down … our typical run. I just turn them, and he waxes them down, and that lets us be fast.”
After Eric Martin and Ryon Tittel set the bar Thursday night with a 5.0-second run, a slate of teams chased it down. By the time Friday’s runs were done, Martin and Tittle were pushed to seventh place. In front of them stood 12 men, and 10 of them have all played the game at ProRodeo’s grand finale.
“Coleman does a good job,” said Medlin, a two-time NFR qualifier from Tatum, New Mexico. “I think team roping is 80 percent of the header; I can only do so much. He does a good job of setting (the steers) on the end of (the rope) and pulling them where I think they’re going to go, and I’m just trying to catch them by two feet.”
It’s working. Proctor sits seventh among headers in the world standings, and Medlin is the No. 8-ranked heeler.
“Any time you’re making good runs consecutively, it feels like it’s easier to stay in the groove,” Proctor said. “It’s a good time of year to have our horses working and firing. We couldn’t do it without them. I’m so fortunate to have Admiral back (from injury), and Jesse James is back in the herd.
“We’ve got the horse of the year on the heel side. Having some good equine athletes helps us stay in the groove. Momentum is a sweet thing. If you can keep it going, a lot of magical things can happen, especially in July.”
Medlin’s, Drago, was named the 2021 PRCA Heeling Horse of the Year and has been big for the team’s successes.
“This is a good time of year to be catching steers,” Medlin said. “They’re giving a lot of money away. We get to go to a bunch of rodeos. Any time you can leave a rodeo with a time, you can build off it, and we’re trying to ride that momentum right now.”
Doing so in the Rocky Mountains is also a plus during a long summer run. Both men left their homes a few weeks ago and may not see their families for weeks to come, so finding comfort on the rodeo trail is important.
“I love this rodeo,” Proctor said. “It takes awhile to get through that canyon, but it’s always worth getting here and getting to hang out for a day or two.”
Of course, finding success helps, too.
“It’s one we always like to come to,” Medlin said. “The committee always does a good job of giving us a place to stay. The hospitality is great, and it’s a good place for horses. We always have Estes Park on our to-do list.”
Bareback riding: 1. Bill Tutor, 87 points on Cervi Brothers’ Jelly Bean; 2. Chad Rutherford, 84; 3. (tie) Tyler Griffin and Waylon Bourgeois, 83.5; 5. Luke Thrash, 80; 6. Will Lowe, 79; 7. Casey Colletti, 78; 8. Mark Kreder, 73.5.
Steer wrestling: 1. Jace Logan, 4.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Cody Pratt and Walt Arnold, 5.0; 4. Chisum Docheff, 5.2; 5. (tie) Hadley Jackson and Riley Westhaver, 5.7.
Team roping: 1. Coleman Proctor/Logan Medlin, 4.3 seconds; 2. Brenten Hall/Chase Tryan, 4.6; 3. Kolton Schmidt/Cole Davison, 4.7; 4. (tie) Payden Emmett/Lucas Falconer, Luke Brown/Hunter Koch and Cody Snow/Wesley Thorp 4.8; 7. Eric Martin/Ryon Tittel, 5.0; 8. (tie) Kellan Johnson/Carson Johnson and J.C. Yeahquo/L.J. Yeahquo, 5.3.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Ross Griffin, 85 points on Cervi’s Two Cookies; 2. Statler Wright, 84.5; 3. Houston Brown, 83; 4. Jake Watson, 82.5; 5. Spencer Wright, 82; 6. (tie) Brody Cress and Will Pollock, 81; 8. Ben Anderson, 80.5.
Tie-down roping: 1. Ryan Thibodeaux, 9.4 seconds; 2. Brody Stallard, 10.4; 3. Seth Hall, 10.9; 4. Kaiai Nobriga, 11.2; 5. Zaine Mikita, 11.3; 6. (tie) Pryce Harris and Colby Anders, 11.4; 8. Gavin Liggett, 11.5.
Barrel racing: 1. Josey Owens, 16.49 seconds; 2. Carly Cervi, 16.57; 3. Kathryn Varian, 16.62; 4. Elizabeth Ellis, 16.67; 5. Kaycee Willbanks Colletti, 16.70; 6. Wendy Hoefer, 16.74; 7. Leslie Smalygo, 16.85; 8. Peyton Stepanoff, 16.86; 9. Acey Pinkston, 16.87; 10. (tie) Chris Gibson and Shawnee Williams, 16.93.
Bull riding: 1. Jesse Flores, 87 points on Cervi’s Skim Walker; 2. Brody Yeary, 85.5; 3. Robbie James Taylor, 84.5; 4. J.R. Stratford, 84; 5. Koby Radley, 82; 6. Jackson Ward, 79; 7. Jeff Askey, 78.5; 8. Corye Daily, 70.