LAS VEGAS – Coleman Proctor has done this dance before.
He and his partner, heeler Logan Medlin of Tatum, New Mexico, suffered no-times in the first two go-rounds of the National Finals Rodeo. It’s frustrating and disappointing, but it’s also part of the sport. They didn’t dwell on it.
In fact, they built off it. They posted a 3.7-second run to win the third round team roping, and each pocket $30,706. It was a much-needed night of success for the cowboys that are roping at their third straight NFR together.
“When you miss the first ones, the pressure’s definitely off,” said Proctor, an eight-time qualifier from Pryor, Oklahoma. “That’s absolutely not how we drew it up in our heads, but that’s how the cookie crumbles somethings. If you’re going to rodeo for a living, you’ve got to learn to be mentally tough.
“I told my wife this morning that I’m just going to lean on the fact that we’re as prepared as I’ve ever been coming here. The horses are better than they’ve ever been, and Logan and I are more mature and understand our run. I know that we’re going to get tapped off at this place. The Thomas & Mack can mount so much pressure on you.”
By bouncing back so fast, Proctor moved up to fourth in the heading world standings; he has earned $174,194 so far this season, and he has seven more rounds to capitalize on the world’s richest rodeo. He is less than $15,000 behind the No. 1 man on the money list, Nelson Wyatt.
“Your whole year is wrapped up into this week, and you don’t want to let anybody down,” he said. “You want to do a great job, and when it goes in the wrong direction, it’s easy to start searching for answers. I told my wife that I was going to be the definition of tenacious about staying with our plan. We’re ready. We practiced really hard for six weeks. We wanted to come out here and battle for a gold buckle, and it’s absolutely still in sight.”
Rodeo can test anyone’s mental fortitude, and it’s especially true in team roping. It’s the only event where cowboys must rely on a partner to succeed. They travel the rodeo trail together, and their relationships can be affected by that in a multitude of ways.
“Logan and I are always there for each other,” Proctor said. “Neither of us ever expects the other one to miss. It happens. Logan Medlin is the best heeler in the world, and he’s got the best horses. We’re a great team.”
Medlin isn’t the only one on the team that’s well-mounted. Proctor has a lot of faith in his horse Heisman, a 15-year-old bay gelding.
“Heisman’s been so great here about getting me out of the barrier with a chance to win some money,” Proctor said. “Every time I’ve rode him, I’ve always had a chance, and he does a great job of maneuvering the left wall, the tight conditions here. He gives my partner a chance to set his rope down fast. “Heisman is the big reason why I’m so successful in this building. I’m so excited to be getting to ride him for the next six days.”