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LAS VEGAS â€“ Steer wrestler Bray Armes has a way of turning a negative into a positive.
He made it pay off Sunday night with a 3.5-second run to finish runner-up in the fourth go-round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo â€“ the run was worth $14,724 and pushed the Ponder, Texas, cowboy up to 12th in the world standings.
â€śI got a great start, and Ote put me right up his back,â€ť Armes said, referring to the horse he rides. â€śI had a good steer, and I was just lucky to get him on his side.â€ť
It was fortunate, and it was a reversal of fortunes. In the third round, Armes made a beautiful run, but as he went to put the finishing touches to stop the clock in one of the fastest times of the NFR, his left arm just missed the steerâ€™s nose. The result was a 4.0-second run, just one-tenth out of the money.
â€śI had a little anger with myself built up,â€ť said Armes, who was raised in Gruver, Texas. â€śI was not going to miss the nose on that steer.
â€śI typically have a 15-minute rule to think about a run, and I exceeded that one and went a little over it. I was just angry with myself that I let one slip away. Weâ€™re not perfect. We only can control what we can. God is going to take care of the rest. Weâ€™ve just always got to remember Heâ€™s got it already laid out, so weâ€™ve just got to worry about our job.â€ť
Human nature doesnâ€™t always work that way, but Armes is a man of strong faith. He also has faith in himself and the rest of his team, Ote and his hazer, Riley Duvall.
â€śI feel good,â€ť Armes said. â€śThere are definitely things I wish Iâ€™d done a little better at. The main thing the first two rounds was that I wasnâ€™t getting my start, and the start sets everything up. Iâ€™ve got Ote locked in. Heâ€™s doing great and getting me where I need to be.
â€śRileyâ€™s getting everything lined out great. Iâ€™m just going to be backing in every night trying to win first, so weâ€™ll see what happens.â€ť
In addition to his earnings, Armes has a four-round cumulative time of 17.6 seconds, which puts him No. 3 in the aggregate standings. Should he remain in that spot through the conclusion of the NFR, he would add $30,649 â€“ the average champion will win nearly $48,000.
â€śThat average is a great check, but for what Iâ€™m here to do, I need go-rounds,â€ť said Armes, who finished fourth in the NFR average a year ago. â€śIâ€™ll just go for go-rounds, and hopefully the average will take care of itself again.â€ť
LAS VEGAS â€“ What is it about saddle bronc riding thatâ€™s so interesting to Tyler Corrington of Hastings, Minn.?
â€śItâ€™s mostly about the fact that the horse is trying to kick your butt, and youâ€™re trying to kick his butt,â€ť Corrington said, referring to the heavyweight bout that takes place in any eight-second ride.
Heâ€™s right. Itâ€™s a slugfest, especially at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, where the top cowboys in the game test their skills on the greatest bucking beasts. On Sunday night, Corrington matched moves with J Bar J Rodeoâ€™s Tipped Off for 82.5 points, which earned him a third-place finish and a check worth $11,118.
â€śThat was a really good horse,â€ť he said. â€śI got on him as a reride at San Antonio, so Iâ€™d been on him before. It felt good to have him.â€ť
Having a good horse is just half the equation. Corrington still needs to have a solid performance each night if he plans to do well. Heâ€™s holding up his end of the bargain, having collected $25,841 through four nights of ProRodeoâ€™s grand finale. Most importantly, he has moved up one spot to third in the world standings and trails leader Cody Wright by $11,245. Finishing first or second in a go-round can move the Minnesota cowboy into the No. 1 spot on the money list.
â€śIâ€™m feeling good, and my riding feels good,â€ť he said. â€śIâ€™ve been drawing good horses and have been having fun. I try not to worry about anything; Iâ€™m just showing up at the arena and having fun.â€ť
Heâ€™ll try to maintain his momentum in Mondayâ€™s fifth round, where heâ€™s matched with Big Bend Rodeoâ€™s Kool Toddy. He loves the idea of competing on those type horses for 10 December nights.
â€śThese are the best bucking horses in the world,â€ť Corrington said. â€śYouâ€™ve got a pretty good chance every night, and theyâ€™re going to try to buck you off. Youâ€™ve just got to do your job, have fun and try to go with it.
â€śThe fifth and 10 rounds feature the best pen of bucking horses there is. These are the horses that when you see your name by then all year long, you get a smile on your face when you show up to that rodeo.â€ť
Corrington definitely is smiling.