PRYOR, Okla. – Trying to find one word to describe Coleman Proctor is a bit perplexing.
He’s a husband, a father, a cowboy, a partner, a broadcaster and a podcaster. He’s also one of the greatest team roping headers of his generation, proven through multiple qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and his six top-10 finishes in the world standings.
Throw in a fence-fixer and a cattle-doctorer, it adds up to being a cowboy who not only is comfortable in about any situation, but one who thrives when others might just sulk away. In recent years, he’s added single steer roping to his repertoire, and he’s building something with it.
He finished the 2023 regular season 20th in the world standings and hopes to be among the top 15 to qualify for the Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping in the near future, all while expecting the best of himself across North America as a team roper. He will venture West in a few days for his eighth NFR in 10 years.
Leaning on his heeling partner, New Mexican Logan Medlin, Proctor will arrive in Las Vegas for the Dec 7-16 championship sixth in the world standings with $133,487. The duo had some important victories along the way, but none were bigger than their title at the Cinch Playoff Series Championship in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, on Sept. 30, the final day of the regular season.
Proctor and Medlin won the second round and advanced in the tournament-style event, then won the championship round. Each man collected a Governor’s Cup and pocketed $35,000 to surge up the standings. Proctor went from 14th to sixth in one weekend.
“The way it ended with the Governor’s Cup was pretty special,” Proctor told Steve Kenyon during Kenyon’s 8 Seconds Media podcast.
Proctor also credited Medlin and another key part of the team, his horse Heisman, a 15-year-old bay gelding.
“Heisman’s done such a great job,” he said of the horse he expects to ride in Las Vegas.
“He’s like driving a Ferrari on a short track. Heisman is so good every place I ride him in a short setup.
When I ride him at the National Finals, he’s the best horse there. He’s trying to win as hard as I am.”
That’s saying a lot, because Proctor is competitive. He’s won NFR go-rounds, the Calgary Stampede’s Rocky Mountain Team Roping and The American. He has his sights set on the Montana Silversmiths gold buckle awarded to the world champion, yet he knows its elusive for a reason; the competition at that level of team roping is unprecedented.
“The way the (NFR) field is set, there are going to be a lot of opportunities from top to bottom,” said Proctor, 38, who lives in Pryor, Oklahoma, with his wife, Stephanie, and their daughters Stella, 6, and Caymbree, 4; they’re also expecting another girl in April. “This (is) going to be a fun year at the National Finals, because the field is pretty spread.
“(Fellow header) Jake Clay comes in with $100,000 won, and he’s jut two go-rounds back.”
Georgian Kaleb Driggers leads the heading world standings with $160,145, and with go-round winners pocketing nearly $31,000 for 10 December nights, any deficit can be made up in a hurry.
“We’ve seen teams get hot,” Proctor said. “Even last year, Kaleb comes in with a huge lead and you think the world title is already gone, and it comes down to where he has to catch the last steer or Tanner Tomlinson is the new world champ.”
The door is definitely open, and the cowboy raised in the northeastern Oklahoma community of Miami is excited for the chance. Every night he and Medlin make a run in Las Vegas, they’ll be in the mix for $99,000 in prize money. Any time they can collect any of that is a chance to close in on that world title.
There are no guarantees in rodeo. Contestants must first pay a fee in order to compete, then they must beat most of the others in the field in order to get paid. That money not only covers business expenses and handles all the bills at home, but dollars equal championship points. The cowboys with the most money won in each event at the conclusion of the NFR will be crowned world champions.
“To be … any kind of NFR qualifier, you’ve got to give your whole life to it,” said Proctor, who credits part of his success to his sponsors, Lonestar Ropers, Justin Boots, Wrangler, Purina, CSI Saddlepads, Signature Equine, Coats Saddlery, SpeedRoping.com, Southern Welding, Classic Truck Sales, Community Coffee, Signature Quarters, Professionals Choice, Purina, Red Dirt Hat Co., Western Legacy Co., Compete Equine Performance and KK Branded. “We have the greatest fan base of any professional sport.
“Traveling all summer, it’s fun meeting fans of the Toter Tales,” he said of his podcast. “It’s great that they relate to you. It’s not always fun and games, and you don’t always win. (The podcast) is allowing them to be interwoven into your experiences through rodeoing, and I think that really resonates with people in the Western culture.”
Those closest to him understand his life and his lifestyle. They support him through every step. His father, Keith, who lives in Nevada, Missouri, is a big part of what led Proctor to rodeo. His mother, Melody, raised her kids around rodeo in Miami. His sisters are close, and he has those girls at home in Pryor that keep him hungry to provide for them while also chasing his gold buckle dreams.
While in the Nevada desert for the finale, they will all be part of the experience. Proctor leans on his wife, his mom and his mother-in-law, the ones who care for the kids so he can take care of the many business opportunities the NFR provides him.
“It takes a village of people,” he said, also noting that Tiffany Wagner handles everything with the horses so he can focus on roping and the other aspects of being in Las Vegas for two weeks. “All of them are there to help you.”
That village means the world to Proctor. It’s why he’s successful and roping at ProRodeo’s grand championship.
It’s why he’s again in contention for rodeo’s gold.