LAS VEGAS – As an avid University of Oklahoma sports fan, Coleman Proctor knows a thing or two about the football team’s Heisman history.
Since the 1950s, the Sooners have had seven winners of college football’s most cherished individual prize. From Billy Vessels in 1952 through Billy Sims in 1978 to Kyler Murray in 2018, Heisman winners are a big part of why Oklahoma has a such a great football legacy.
Proctor, a team roping header competing at the National Finals Rodeo for the seventh time in his career, has his own Heisman legacy in a 14-year-old bay gelding that he’s riding in Las Vegas. While roping with partner Logan Medlin, they stopped the clock in 3.8 seconds Monday night to share the fifth-round victory with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill.
Proctor, of Pryor, Oklahoma, was quick to hand out praise to his prized mount with the trophy name.
“Heisman has been doing a great job,” he said. “I’ve got to give a lot of my success of what’s happening to him. In the first round when I bobbled the start, he did a great job of putting me in position to catch the steer. Since then, he’s been flawless.”
There’s a great deal riding on every go-round for the Oklahoma cowboy, so he needs to be riding a mount that can handle the pressure and the atmosphere with 17,000 fans packed on top of the arena that’s about the size of a hockey rink.
“He has been a little excited in the (timed-event) box, but that’s kind of him; I’m excited, too, so one of us has to keep our nerves,” said Proctor, who earned $25,882 Monday and pushed his NFR earnings to $48,629.
“Somebody asked me the other day, ‘I see you talking to yourself.’ I’m like, well, I’m trying to keep us both calm, and there’s nobody else in the box to talk to. Heisman has been getting me great starts all week. He is letting me set the steer up like I want to now, and he really finished sharp.”
With the run, Proctor has earned at least a share of the victory four times during Round 5, which is pink night in support of cancer awareness. He won it in 2014 and ’15 with Jake Long, and he and Medlin have won it the past two NFRs.
“Ever since I came out here, this has been one of the rounds that has been really good to me,” he said. “I guess it’s that pink is my daughter’s favorite color, and it is my lucky color. I drew steer 13, and that’s my favorite number.”
He and Medlin are second in the average with a cumulative time of 31.8 seconds on five runs. They are 4.5 seconds behind the leaders, Tanner Tomlinson and Patrick Smith, but there are five rounds remaining on the 2022 ProRodeo season.
“I’ve really got to give big props to Tiffany Wagner,” Proctor said. “She brought him in here today and worked him a little bit in the corner. I got him to facing him bad and mis-cuing, but she got that corrected for me, and I stepped on him tonight and it went phenomenal.”