Days of 47 rodeo: Only reigning world champ manages to make the whistle in bull riding
WEST VALLEY CITY — Shane Proctor lived every cowboy's dream last year when he seemed to be able to ride every bull he drew.
The 27-year-old qualified for the Professional Bull Rider's national finals early in the season, so he decided to give PRCA competition a try. And in his first full season, he not only qualified for the National Finals Rodeo, he won the world championship.
He feels he's adjusted to life as a reigning world champion, but he admits living with the title took some getting used to.
"I had a little trouble trying to keep up with everybody's expectations," said Proctor, who was the only bull rider to make the whistle in Friday night's performance of the Days of '47 Rodeo. "Once I got back to being myself, things got better. That's how I got to the NFR in the first place."
Part of his trouble began at the end of last year's NFR in Las Vegas. He shattered his free arm near the end of the competition (which he led coming in and throughout the NFR). It required surgery to repair it, and the injury, in addition to new expectations, had some impact how the season started.
"But now I feel healthy," said Proctor, who earned 77 points for his work at the Maverick Center. "I feel great. But it took a while to get to normal."
He said he no longer feel pressure when announcers introduce him as the reigning world champion because he's grateful for the title.
"That's what you work for your whole life," he said with a slight smile.
Proctor said he was so focused on what he needed to do to make the whistle atop Phantom, that he didn't notice the fact that no other rider had earned a score.
"I didn't even know it," he said. "It was a good day for me. I was more worried about staying on my bull."
His score puts him in fourth place overall, but he did earn some money for winning Friday's competition.
"Every little bit helps," he said acknowledging that this time of year is when cowboys can make up a lot of ground. His goal this year is to get back to the NFR and win another world championship.
"I just want to get back there and do it again," he said.
Cowboys struggled in may of the other events, as well. Only one man managed to rope a calf in tie down roping — Spanish Fork's Clint Robinson, who did it in 11.3 seconds.
Most of the steer wrestlers missed, but when Seth Brockman's steer got out from under him, he didn't give up. The Wyoming native held onto the steer's horns until he could get his arms around him again and then he threw the steer down.
He said he knew he had no chance of earning any money when he decided to hold on. It took him 17.7 seconds to wrestle the steer to the ground in a competition that's usually won with times faster than four seconds.
"It's hard (to hold on to a running steer), but I've something's got to be going real bad for me to let go," he said. "It's just basic common courtesy. One of these guys is going to come back, maybe one of my traveling buddies will draw that steer, and it's not going to help him if I don't throw him down."
Heath Ford earned the night's highest score in bareback riding atop last year's bareback horse of the year, Desperado.
The Days of '47 Rodeo continues through Tuesday with performances nightly at 7 p.m. There is no rodeo on Sunday.
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