The facts were simple: Ryan Jarrett was not having any good fortune for the first four rounds of the National Finals Rodeo.
Lady Luck found him Monday, and it finally paid off. He roped and tied his calf in 7.5 seconds to finish in a three-way tie for first place in the fifth round. That was worth $20,872.
“The biggest change was my mindset more than anything,” said Jarrett, a 12-time NFR qualifier from Comanche, Okla., and the 2005 all-around world champion. “I felt like I was prepared for the first couple of rounds, but I couldn’t get the ball rolling.”
He suffered three straight no-times to kick off ProRodeo’s grand finale. He finally secured qualified time on Sunday night but was way out of the money. Going the first four rounds without a paycheck was tough on the Georgia-born cowboy.
“I drew one or two calves that I should have won money on an didn’t,” he said. “The calf I ran (Monday), they actually two-looped him and got no money. I just felt like the calf was a chance though.”
Having a good draw is important. While the pens are set up to be as even as possible, every animal is different; without being matched with a decent calf via the random draw for half the first four rounds, Jarrett’s job was different.
Still, he said, there were missed opportunities.
“I did what I know how to do: I roped him and tied him down and got some of the prize money,” Jarrett said. “It gets a little frustrating, just thinking, ‘Do I really deserve to be here?’ and ‘Can I rope with these guys?’ Obviously, all of us are in the top 15 in the world or we wouldn’t be here.”
So, he worked through the issues and figured out the hitch in his step in time to cash in. Now he’ll try to do more of that over the final five nights of this year’s NFR.
“You get some things weighing on your shoulders when you’re not having luck,” he said. “When one thing doesn’t go right, 10 others follow suit. You got to get headed in the right direction.
“Hopefully I can still come out of here with a good chunk of change to go back home with.”
Contributing author: Ted Harbin