Welcome to the 2006 OFR... now watch me splash...
Monday, 13 November 2006 13:53
This past weekend I announced the 2006 Ontario Finals Rodeo (OFR for short), and competed in Tiedown Roping and Team Roping.

It was a Krazy finals... so many highlights, rides, wrecks, thrills, spills...
I can break it down, though.

Announcing

In 2004, I was selected to announce the finals, and the board of directors made a concession that I could compete in Tiedown Roping in "Slack"... meaning, I would rope outside of the shows. Sweet stuff. I think I grabbed 3rd in the aggregate that year.

2005, selected again, and Tiedown Roped in "Slack"... just me... lost the finals by .6. Won some cash, it was all good.

The membership then decided that they didn't want this to carry on, and have other people doing the same thing...and made a rule so that I couldn't have my own slack. I was perturbed, but "whatcha gonna do".

Now comes the end of the 2006 season, and I qualifed 6th in Tiedown, 2nd in Team Roping.

My first instinct was to just not "do" the finals, and compete. But, then, I also wanted to be the "3-time OFR MC"... and help everyone out... so, I hired a sound guy, a co-announcer, myself, all for a great price. Nyce.

My Sound Guy... Scotty "Too Hotty"... after a crash course on the music computer, he diligently unplugged it from the main sound system and rehearsed the opening, events, and got used to the keyboard inputs. As I normally announce, do stats, and play the music silmutaneously by myself, it's set-up with "shortcuts in mind"... but ones that really only work in my mind.

I play an "intro song" as a rider prepares to ride, and a "ride song" at full volume as the gate opens. It cycles through the play list... you hit "B" to load a new "Bed Song" which is an "Intro Song" which really is side "A", etc... He kicked @$$ by show time, and though had a few hitches, no one noticed but me, and he rocked out all 3 perfs.

My co-announcer... was a college buddy. Go-round number 1 of the OFR was the second rodeo he'd ever watched. But he was stoked, and researched online, and I provided him with a printed out version of my "sheets" which show contestant stats, arena records, etc. In the first perf, he went off on something that made me laugh so hard, I forgot what event we were in. It was wild... the first time I fully co-announced with someone... and we did it the right way... I did a ride, he did a ride, etc. Prior to each perf, we did a 10 minute tee-up of the events, and it was a blast, and came off extremely pro. In the 3rd go, he "out-stat'd me" on something and impressed the heck out of me. He did phenominally well, and we made a great team.

It was an intense finals. A junior steer went out in the first go and was looking for the bull fighters, and went into an insane spin like I've never seen a junior STEER do before. All the bareback bronc riders covered their horses. There were blazing runs in the roping. The crowd, though very "rodeo oriented", ie. a lot of families and friends, were into it. The clown was on fire with some new material.

The second go... was filled with wrecks. Hangups, lawn-dart buck-offs.

The third go... was filled with match-ups... which let the stats computer shine. In like 4 of the 10 events... it came down to the last two riders to go head for head on their run/ride for the Year-end. It was Krazy. Intense.

I walked out of the building stoked... I think it was my best finals ever announcing. I had picked up a lot from Joe Braniff, the 6-time CPRA announcer of the year at our PBR events, and incorporated it into my "deal"... and the crowd ate it up.

Competing

The reserve champ of the '05 OFR, I was determined to win. I practiced for 2.5 weeks... my last practice night had me pushing the limits on my Tiedown runs, and 5's and 6's on my Team Roping runs... and I went 19/19 on my steers. My heading horse, which had been laid off all season, and came out just in time for my practicing was good to go...my tiedown horse was shorting me... they said I was "cue-ing" him... but I disagreed. Horsepower: Heading good, Tiedown... potential problem.

No time to warm-up, my "team" warmed up the horses. As I leave the announcer stand and walk to the roping box for the start of team roping... they tell me, "your horse is hot... be careful". Never worried about hot horses, I get ready to shine... back in... horsey does a high-ho silver and just about lands on the barrier judge. Not missing a beat, and still not worried, I back in again...wait for the barrier, turn him, he rears and jumps out. Now I freak. They're going to 3-chances / no-time me. I back in, have him quartered to the on-deck steer's hip. Nod...horse blows at steer, I throw and steer slows, horse speeds, I missed. 2nd loop, catch... heeler missed. I'm now angry.

Back to announcing... being happy... then down for tiedown roping.

Get on the horse... I'm worried about him shorting me. I try and stay perfectly centred, throw... miss. Chase the calf in circles by the bucking chutes... 2nd loop, catch... horse is stuck in corner, get calf down... it strains... 39.3 seconds or something ridiculous like that. I'm now rank. Back to announcing... be happy.

2nd go... use a different horse for team roping. Needs spurs, the guy says. Hold him in, he says. I do both. Give the horse his head, touch him with spurs, we fire out, I throw, horse bumps steer, steer stops, leg in the rope. dally, will it come off? No, of course not. Why would it. I'm now red-eyed angry. Back to announcing... be happy. Down for Tiedown Roping. Everyone had caught save one guy. I was the longest with my 39. The next guy was 12. I didn't carry a second rope. Then as the go goes on, miss, miss, miss, miss... I didn't have time to go for my second rope. I think, "dude, you're just going to use it as a crutch". A competitor's dad was behind the box talking to me as I came in.

"it's a great calf... it's the draw one... see him out... then go to him...he's perfect on the ground... you have him...this is yours". I was so stoked... I was ready to be 6.0. I was thinking, man, if I go to the NFR, this guy's coming with me. even in hindsight, I knew he was legitimately pumping me up and wanted me to do a 6... his boy had missed. I can't even remember what happened... but I missed too. I'm now a little more than frustrated. Back to announcing... be happy. Ha-yee, Scully mofo. You can't rope, but you can certainly talk about out... go announce.. . urrrgh.

3rd go. I need a psychologist. I've got two personalities. An announcer "owning the finals"... loving life, happy, polished, and "game-on". And a roper who is experiencing the worst finals of his life that is ready to snap...

Team Roping. Score nice... hit the guy who's horse it is with my rope. take an extra swing, boom. crank the steer. heeler doesn't throw. we meet the fence. lose a stride. heeler throws. catches front foot. as I face, I think about physics. the steer was almost stopped when the heeler threw. with the momentum he used... had we been at full velocity... fulcrum, polarity... he would have heeled the heading horse... I'm now ready to be institutionalized. Back to announcing... grin, smile and be happy.

I'm announcing and buying my own hype. Here's the deal. There is no chance for the aggregate. Time to just have "fun". No pressure. What's the worst that's going to happen? There's only a few hundred bucks that's left to be won. Either win it, or you have nothing. It's no big deal. You've got bad luck on your side... fawgeddabout it. Go rope. Win. Lose. Whatever. Make it happen Cowboy. Down I go. I mount up. I'm stoked again. I back in the box. Everything feels peeeeerrrrrrrfect. I'm NOT GOING FAR. I'm NOT SITTING IN THIS SADDLE. I'M NOT LETTING GO OF MY SLACK.

The 2006 was my best season ever for getting off with my slack. Time to end with a bang.

Nod. Score sweet. Throw at the barrier line. It's on. Nyce. Slack Tight. Back to pocket, I'm already launching myself off the horse. He does his super-send... he's stoked too. Atta boy, bandit (horse's name). I love him, he's always amazing when it counts... I'm now just leaving the right stirrup...my toe is just sliding out... and I look at the calf. I hadn't looked to see who had him... I didn't even really look at him in the chute. I realize... this is one big calf. He looks rank. It's now show time. WHAM... I feel popping on my shoulder as all 295 pounds of this calf begins to pull on the slack... but my feet are now making contact with the ground... wow did I get off quick... then... just as fast as you see your life flash before your eyes...I feel my feet stick, and I begin to fall. Not letting go of the slack, I feel my body do a 360 spin... like a frisbee horizontally... not a ballerina vertically, and then BAM, on the ground... on my back. I get up, and run to the monster that I've snagged. Like the trout fisherman that reels in a shark... it's now about defence... the calf runs a circle around me... and my horse has run out of arena... without the aid of the horse pulling on the rope, I flank the calf... I go to "string him" in the air... and he begins to kick. I tactfully put on the string, and go to bring up his feet... he strained. I try a second time... not going to happen.

So... now. It's over. Everything has bottled up to this. I stand up. holding the calf's leg still... so he' can't get up and run around until the bullfighters get him on the ground, and I remount the horse, etc., I reach for my rope knife and cut the rope. Snap. Done. I turn around, and let the calf run free. Petting him. I turn to the horse. I point at him, gesturing for someone to get on him...and I climb out of the arena. Instead of walking in front of the crowd along the grandstands...I walk out of the building. Slammed through the door. Knowing everyone was watching me storm out of the building. I know sense how some of the PBR guys do walking down the hall to the locker room with the cameras in their face.

I don't know what to do...I want to scream...but I have to announce bull riding.

I want to start laughing. and laughing. and laughing. I'm so unorthodox. Who cuts their rope and doesn't even get back on their horse? I guess... me.

Back to announcing... and I'm happy. I don't care. It's over. I had bad luck from run #1. I tried to improve it... but whatever. I owned the final event. I may have been a bad roper, but that's the way it went.

Synopsis

Announcing and competing. I'm good at it. I did well enough the past 3 seasons to Announce Shows, compete in slack and qualify for the finals. However... announcing and competing in the show... not my thing.

People said, You have too much on your mind....

No, I didn't. My first run, I backed in...knowing that the music, the announcing, the show, was all in good hands.

Competing and Announcing?... Not sooo good. I was winded after my crash and wrestle, and didn't have my wind until the 2nd bull. But still decent.

Where I lost was with the Horse in Go-round 1. If I had time to warm him up myself, I think I could have had him focused, and we wouldn't have had an issue on that first team roping run. I would have been focused on him as opposed to the tiedown horse, which then wouldn't have had me riding in a different style and missing there; then I wouldn't have been so hot in the 2nd go, and would have done better there... etc., etc.

I mean... Slack is for announcers. Justin McKee... PRCA Announcer and of course the Commentator for the PBR on VS. / OLN announced Cheyenne Frontier Days and set an Arena Record for Steer Roping in the Slack. I don't think he went in the Short-go in the Show on the Sunday... I can't remember, but I know he didn't place in it if he did... so, I mean, if someone like that can't make it happen... why was I thinking I could?

Perhaps if the horse was on my side? Perhaps if I had been able to throw some loops at a bale during the intermission? Perhaps if I could have chilled out with the ropers during barrel racing? Perhaps...who knows. I think in the PRCA they made a rule so that no one could do what I did... there was a bullfighter who steer wrestled a few years ago...but I mean there's something there.

So... what's in store for next year? Definitely not a repeat of both. I will have to weigh out what means more to me... being a 4-time Finals Announcer, or going for the chance to win my first OFR. I like saying it, though. I do have to redeem myself...who knows. Only another 363 days to make that decision.

Prologue

If you read this far... you deserve to see this... here's the pic.

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