SD Rookie competes in Canadian Finals
December 4, 2012
PRCA and Canadian Pro Rodeo Association (CPRA) steer wrestler Chason Floyd, 23, Ludlow, SD, didn't have a bad year. He will spend Nov. 7-11, 2012, at Rexall Place in Edmonton, AB, competing for big money – even in U.S. dollars – at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
He tells that he had a slump this year but it's hard to believe it lasted very long. Floyd was not only named the CPRA Steer Wrestling Rookie of the Year, he also came in as the runner-up PRCA Rookie of the Year, only about $3,000 behind Dakota Eldridge of Elko, NV. Maybe it helped that he was riding the Canadian Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, Pistol, a black gelding owned by Clayton Moore, Pouce Coupe, BC, the same horse they will both be riding this week at the finals. Pistol's registered name is Sonitas Gasahol – he is a son of Gasohol, a well-known running horse who hails from the country north.
"I rode that horse pretty much all year so this week won't be a change or anything. He gave me a lot of good shots this year and I think I can get on him without missing a beat," said Floyd.
"We're pretty laid back and so are the horses," said Floyd, who traveled with Moore to U.S. and Canadian rodeos a good share of the year. "Clayton hazed for me most of the time, he hauls a haze horse and two bulldogging horses – Pistol and Tiger." According to Floyd, the horses – both raised and trained by Moore – are good buddies and don't want to be split up. Pistol is prone to ulcers, possibly the result of a finicky taste for chlorinated water, so the cowboys watched him close and would be sure to supplement him when needed. "He's never colicked, thank goodness, but we try to keep a close eye on him." Tiger is spending the winter on the Floyd ranch near Ludlow, SD, because Chason recently bought a half interest in the horse.
"You look at the different bulldogging horses at these rodeos and it is easy to see how much difference it makes to have a good horse versus an average horse. It really affects how it sets your run up, how they get to cattle and how they run through. And speed is so important. At this level, a tenth of a second can really help you – there are 80 or 90 really good bulldoggers going against each other at most of these rodeos – those great horses ridden by Todd Suhn, Jason Miller and others really do make a difference."
Floyd says he learned a lot about the sport in his rookie year. "Always before, I had entered rodeos on the weekends and then I'd come home and work all week. I learned that things really are different when you are going all the time. You can't take a mental break to recover from a slump. When I was out on the road and would get down in the dumps, it was kind of hard to figure out if I was just having bad luck, if there was something I needed to change, or if something else was going on. Floyd would call home for some encouragement from his brother or his dad. "They'd always tell me to just keep with it, don't give up." Fellow steer wrestlers also lent support. "It was neat because I got to know a lot of the bulldoggers I had watched on TV and looked up to. Throughout the year we would stay with different bulldoggers depending on which part of the country we were in, and we'd practice at their places. They are a close-knit group." Floyd says another thing he has learned is which rodeos he would like to enter next year. "I got to see a lot of country this year, especially for a rookie, I got a pretty good feel for which rodeos suit me, and which part of the country I want to travel in. I'm looking forward to next year now that I've gotten some experience with some of these factors."
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Floyd (who has worked as a truck driver and a roustabouter in the oilfield, as well as working on his family ranch) also learned he had to put on a lot of miles to keep pace with the pros. "I've never traveled that long of distances for that long and learning how to travel and rest – the actual bulldogging is a pretty small part of it, but making the calls, getting your airplane tickets booked … it all takes a lot of concentration and organization."
He appreciates support he's gotten from his family as well as current and past steer wrestlers from home, Casey Olson, Doug Doll, Jeremy Stadheim, his brother Colt Floyd and the late Garrett Clarkson. "They all encouraged me and told me I was capable of doing this. They helped teach me the basics, and that is what matters. It isn't just about this year, it has taken me years to get here."
Floyd would encourage a youngster thinking about going hard to "wait until you know you're ready and you can stay out on the road because a dry spell is going to come. It's not a matter of 'if' it's a matter of 'when' and you have to have someone you can call for support. Also, get in with someone who knows the business end of rodeo right away because it's a different ball game when you are doing it full time."
Floyd's winnings in the U.S. did not count toward the Canadian Finals, and he goes into the event in fourth place out of twelve competitors, with over $16,000 won already. The six-night Canadian finals could certainly prove profitable enough, with over $10,000 up for grabs each night and the same for the average payout. "It's probably the second biggest finals a guy can qualify for, after the National Finals Rodeo," said Floyd. Floyd is one of four U.S. steer wrestlers to qualify for the event.
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