LAS VEGAS – The bareback riders at the National Finals Rodeo went from one extreme to another in 24 hours.
It’s just part of the Las Vegas experience, for most visitors, but these men are in town on a business venture. They tried their hands at the hardest-to-ride broncs in the sport Saturday night, then turned around and had the easiest buckers Sunday. That makes everything even and allows the winners to be the cowboys that show off their spur rides the best.
“You’ve really got to try to flash everything up and expose yourself in this pen,” said Cole Franks, who rode Outlawbuckers Rodeo’s Free Shipping for 87 points to finish in a tie for second place in the fourth round. “You’ve got to let go and let it all hang out more than you would on (Saturday) night’s pen or (Monday’s) pen.
“I’d seen that horse maybe once or twice, but I went and watched videos on him last night and was pretty excited about it. That horse is awesome.”
Franks also made Free Shipping look good and added $20,053 too his earnings. He has collected $37,670 in four nights in Las Vegas and pushed his season earnings to more than $154,000.
Of course, it was a much different feeling around the bareback riders locker room from Round 3 to Round 4.
“It is a lot more energetic,” said Franks, 21, of Clarendon, Texas. “It’s a lot more fun. Everyone’s chit-chatting, everyone is laughing and everyone is cracking jokes. (Saturday) night was very tense. Everyone was kind of quiet.
“For the ones we got on (Saturday), you have to almost crave that kind of horse. The ones we had tonight are the ones you want at your house to get on every day.”