Bird and Eaves take aim at first NFR
for Tri-State Livestock News
It started with a two-minute phone call. Paul Eaves needed a partner back in June and he called Dustin Bird at his home in Cut Bank, MT, to see if he might be interested in hitting the road with him.
“We’d never roped together,” Eaves said. “I’d seen him around. I knew he was good, but I didn’t really know him all that well. I called because I’d heard he was without a partner, too, and I thought it might work out.”
How well it has all worked out was on display at the Aug. 3-6, Strathmore Stampede where Bird and his heeler, Eaves, won the team roping title in 4.6 seconds to move a step closer to the first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) qualification for both men.
Bird was ranked 23rd in the world standings when they joined forces and Eaves was 29th. They are now ranked sixth and seventh and surging after wins in Innisfail, Alberta; St. Paul, OR; Sidney, MT, and Strathmore.
“Why have we worked out so well? First off, Dustin ropes really well and he’s got an outstanding horse, Dolly – maybe the best horse going. Not taking anything away from his roping or mine, but Dolly’s great and having a horse like that in the team just makes things easier for everybody,” said Eaves.
“The other thing is, Dustin is a real aggressive partner. He tries to win something every time out and he’s real consistent at doing it. We don’t have a (dollar) number in mind that we think will get us to the (WNFR qualifying level). We’re not thinking that way. We just want to do what we’ve been doing. It’s gone well. There’s no reason to change our approach.”
They will be keeping up the pressure this week, going to all three Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeos – in Sikeston, MO; Lovington, NM, and Hermiston, OR, – along with PRCA rodeos in Missoula, MT, and Omak, WA. F
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As a routine management matter, the Teddy Roosevelt National Park plans to remove a few horses from its herd.