SALT LAKE CITY — Shane Proctor didn’t have the luxury of feeling bad about being tossed to the dirt at EnergySolutions Arena by an ornery horse named Crash Gate.
He had to prepare to climb aboard a nasty-looking bull they call Purple People Eater less than an hour later during the final performance of the Days of '47 Rodeo.
“That’s part of sports,” said the 28-year-old, who earned himself some money with an 84-point ride on the bull, which was Wednesday’s highest score in the event. “You have to have a short memory.”
And, he believes competing in two different events means he doesn't overthink the most dangerous of the two — bull riding.
"If you overthink things in bull riding, you'll fall behind," he said.
Proctor is well-known for his bull riding abilities as he’s qualified for the PRCA’s National Finals Rodeo twice and the Professional Bull Rider championships five times. But he competes in both saddle bronc and bull riding most nights.
“I haven’t had very good luck in the bronc riding lately,” he said. “But I like it. That’s just the way it goes sometimes.” His season started with great bronc riding and struggles on the bull. But lately that’s shifted and he’s currently ranked 12th in the world on bulls, although cowboys are making money every night in what is the heart of the rodeo season so that changes constantly. The top 15 cowboys qualify for the NFR.
His ultimate goal is to qualify for both events in the same season.
“I know I can do it,” he said after finishing his bull ride. “I just need to ride more consistently.”
He grew up watching his dad rope in rodeos, but he was drawn to the rough stock. Bronc and bull riders would come to his father to learn to rope, hoping to have success in all-around competitions.
"They'd paint his fence in exchange," said Proctor with a smile, "and I'd bug them to help me out."
Proctor has a degree in health and fitness from Montana State University, which has come in handy as he tries to stay fit for both events.
“I feel pretty good for being an older bull rider,” he said. “It all depends on how your body holds up. We’re professional athletes, and so I work hard to take care of my body.” That means knowing when to rest and when to ride, which Proctor’s learned as he’s dealt with injuries throughout his career.
He'll to South Dakota tomorrow, pick up his wife and then head to Wyoming, where he hopes to spend three days making more money in both events.
“I’ve been on a bull every night except two days since June 26,” he said. “I’ve been on a lot of animals. But it’s the time of year when you press on.”
Santaquin’s Wesley Silcox won the overall bull riding title with 89 points, but Proctor’s 84 was good enough to tie for third place with Matt Pojanowski. Only two other riders managed to make the whistle Wednesday night and neither earned high enough scores to make money. Morgan’s Hutch Haslam earned second place with his 86 points from two nights ago.
Canada’s Luke Butterfield tied for first overall with Wednesday’s best saddle bronc score of 89 points. Steve Dent also earned an 89 two nights ago. Jesse Bail had a nice ride aboard nine-time NFR horse Kool Toddy on Wednesday night to tie Milford’s Spencer Wright, who rode Monday, for second place with 86 points.
Like Proctor, Dent competes in two events, although he is both a bareback and saddle bronc rider. Each of them won an event, but Dent earned the No. 1 ranking in the all-around competition. Proctor was second, which means some additional money in the race to qualify for the NFR.
J.R. Vezain of Wyoming earned the top bareback score in Wednesday’s performance with an 84-point ride. That was only good enough to tie for fourth place as Ty Breuer’s 87-point ride made him the overall champion. Morgan’s Caleb Bennett was second with 82 points.
Three-time NFR champion and this year’s No. 1 ranked cowgirl Sherry Cervi earned the overall title in barrel racing with Tuesday’s fastest time with a 13.33-second ride. Wednesday’s quickest time was turned in by Britany Fleck of North Dakota, who navigated the course in 13.52 seconds.
Wednesday’s fastest steer wrestling time was earned by Josh Garner of California, who finished in 4.7 seconds, but he didn’t place in the top eight overall. The overall title belonged to Tyler Pearson, who wrestled two steer in a combined time of 7.8 seconds.
Jayce Johnson of Nevada earned the fastest time in the tie-down roping in Wednesday’s competition with a 9.3-second performance. That was not fast enough to place in the overall with Matt Shiozawa earning that title with a combined time (two tries) of 15.6 seconds.
Pete Jones and Ben Tibbits of Idaho earned Wednesday’s fastest team roping time of 6.1 seconds. Their combined time of 14 seconds meant fourth place overall. Jimmy Tanner and Shawn Harris earned the top overall spot with a combined time of 10 seconds.