LAS VEGAS – Just a few days after making his final team-roping run of the 2023 ProRodeo season, Coleman Proctor was doing the things Coleman Proctor does.
He was practicing and taking care of his daughters, Stella and Caymbree, while his wife, Stephanie, was working. When the horses and steers were put away, the three ventured to a movie; they had earned a break, and it was the perfect time for daddy-daughters bonding.
In just a few months, the girls will welcome a little sister, so any time they get with Dad is special and important. It’s just as big for Proctor, one of team roping’s elite headers who has eight qualifications to the National Finals Rodeo. He had just wrapped the richest 10 rounds of the year in Las Vegas, and his mind and body were ready for some down time.
“My poor wife,” he said, reflecting on the moments the family shared in the Nevada desert. “We just get home, and she has to go back to work, so I’ve been Mr. Mom and just hanging out with the girls. They’ve been wanting to watch the new Wish movie by Disney. I figured they give up so much and go out to Vegas with us.
“They listen and do a pretty dang good job of minding, so I try to reward them when we get home. They got to go to the practice pen with me while I worked on my steer tripping for a little bit, and now we’re just having a lot of fun, daddy-daughter time.”
It’s the perfect setting for the cowboy who stays busy most of the time he’s in Sin City. When he’s not competing, he’s often making appearances around town and also hosts the pregame show on the Purina Stage at the steps of the Thomas & Mack Center, the NFR’s home since 1985.
Proctor and his heeling partner, Logan Medlin, had moderate success at ProRodeo’s grand championship. They placed in just two performances, but one of those was the Round 3 victory, worth $30,706 a man. All told, they left town with $53,583; $10,000 of that came via a bonus that all qualifiers earned.
“When you look at that money, it gets stilted because the money has gotten so good,” said Proctor, originally from Miami, Oklahoma, but now living in Pryor, Oklahoma, with his family. “Las Vegas Events and all the sponsors that make the finals happen has helped make the money so incredible. When you’re out there, it’s just like poker chips; you don’t really put value to them, then you get home and realize it’s sure going to help buy some more Christmas presents.
“We didn’t quite have the finals we wanted or the one you imagine when you’re roping the dummy in the barn alleyway, but I thought it was a great finals. My horses felt great, and I had a lot of opportunities. I was disappointed that I missed the 10th steer, because I went out there to spin all 10 for my partner.”
Those things happen. They recorded times on five of their 10 runs and were part of a controversy when Medlin was called for a crossfire by the official flagger during the fifth round. Many fans and fellow ropers disagreed with the call, but Proctor took his medicine and moved on, handling the situation with humor and his distinct personality. He realized nothing he was going to say could change the outcome.
“I love our team, and I think our team is on the rise,” he said. “We got a lot of confidence, and there were a lot of ifs and maybes during the week. You’ve got 10 days back to back, pressure for all that money each night. You start wondering if you could have done better at this or a little better at that.
“Then, at the end of the day, we were as prepared as we’ve ever been. We felt better about it than we’ve ever felt. It just didn’t come our way the way we wanted. So you dust yourself off, enjoy the holidays with family, and then we get ready for how we’re going to start the new year.”
Sulking won’t do anybody and good, and Proctor isn’t the kind of person to do that anyway. World champions Tyler Wade and Wesley Thorp earned their gold buckles by having a phenomenal run of things in Las Vegas. They each earned $100,000 more than Proctor and Medlin.
“By the time we bought our (NFR) tickets, I probably left there with $45,000,” Proctor said. “That’s not too bad.
“It’ll get us started back to the winter rodeos and get going again. Honestly, it wasn’t that long ago that I was just hoping to make the finals once.”
He earned his first NFR qualification a decade ago and has only missed the championship twice since then. Both times, Proctor was among the top 20 headers when only the top 15 play on the sport’s biggest stage. It’s the only rodeo in which he can compete that he can walk away with that much money and not consider it a success.
“It was such a fun year, and we got to go to some pretty cool places and see a lot of great people,” he said. “We got to win some really cool rodeos, like Calgary (Alberta) and Sioux Falls (South Dakota).
“My confidence has gotten higher, and I think our team is getting better. I think we’re ascending I think it’s our time to win, and that’s exciting and motivates you.”
Christmas has come at a good time. Proctor and his family need a break from the pressures that come with rodeo, especially the NFR. While in Las Vegas, he had plenty of support and a crew of folks around to him compete and help keep his daughters entertained. He makes sure each person knows how much they are appreciated.
“There are a lot of people that give up their time,” Proctor said. “I’ve learned as I get older how much more valuable time is than money, and they give up a lot of their time to help us live this dream. It’s a job I’m very passionate about. Like Tim Tebow said, ‘Passion means you’re willing to suffer for it.’
“If this is as bad as we’ve got to suffer to be one of the greatest in the world, then I’m willing to do it.”