Vezain ends victory drought in Loveland
Winning rodeos is something bareback rider J.R. Vezain expects to do.
The Cowley, Wyo., cowboy, however, spent the last several months in an unfamiliar place as he had won just one rodeo since March, until claiming two in a five-day span.
Vezain broke his victory drought by winning the Larimer County Fair & Rodeo in Loveland, Colo., on Aug. 5, then rode for 89 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarlet’s Web Aug. 9 at the Lea County Fair and Rodeo.
“That was a great horse I knew I had coming in here,” Vezain said of his win in Lovington. “To cap off the weekend like that was really awesome.”
The win couldn’t have come at a better time for Vezain. He was 15th in the Aug. 4 Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings, on the bubble for a berth in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He moved to 12th in the Aug. 11 standings.
“This was a huge win,” said Vezain, who pocketed $4,450 for the victory. “It’s a blessing to have it come at this time.”
Vezain, who was the 2011 PRCA Resistol Bareback Riding Rookie of the Year, had been on Scarlet’s Web as a rookie at the San Antonio Stock Show & Rodeo, scoring 85 points in the short round.
“(Saturday night) was so much better,” said Vezain, 22. “I switched the style of my rigging last week, and it’s been going really good since then. This is a good time to get hot and hopefully it will keep rolling, God willing. I just want to keep on keeping on.”
In addition to winning in Lovington, Vezain earned $3,444 for sharing second place at the Farm-City ProRodeo in Hermiston, Ore., another $821 for finishing in a tie for fourth at the Cache County Fair and Rodeo (Aug. 7-9) in Logan, Utah, and $473 for placing in a three-way tie for fifth at the Summit County Fair & Rodeo (Aug. 8-9) in Coalville, Utah.
Vezain admitted staying upbeat when he couldn’t win a rodeo was difficult.
“It’s tough,” Vezain said about trying to keep his confidence up. “My whole career I’ve never been in one (a slump). It tested me, and your traveling partners are a big key. They help you stay positive and you try to stay positive and think the best. You don’t want to ever start second-guessing yourself. You just have to get back to the basics and work a little bit harder at it.”
Vezain’s traveling partners are Caleb Bennett, Clint Laye and R.C. Landingham.
The past two years, Vezain has qualified for the Wrangler NFR. He finished fourth in the world in 2012, and seventh last year.
“I’m shooting for a gold buckle,” Vezain said. “Aim for the stars and if you land in the clouds you are still doing all right.”
Other winners at the $239,043 rodeo were all-around cowboy Tuf Cooper, ($7,421 in steer roping and tie-down roping), steer wrestler Ty Erickson (8.1 seconds on two head), tie-down roper Tuf Cooper (16.2 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss, (86 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Bully Dog), team ropers Chase Wiley and Ace Pearce (9.7 seconds on two head), steer roper Trevor Brazile (43.3 seconds on three head), barrel racer Rebecca Hughes (17.24 seconds on one run) and bull rider J.W. Harris (91 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Thunder Cat).