Nick Sartain - Growing up around horses serves him well
Susan Kanode
For Cactus Ropes 

                Nick Sartain’s roping career started at the All-American Quarter Horse Congress in Columbus, Ohio.

                That’s kind of unusual for someone from Yukon, Okla. It would be easy to assume that the newly crowned world champion header in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) grew up in the rodeo arena. Sartain did grow up around horses and that experience has served him well.

                His family showed American Quarter Horses and that took them to the Congress. Nick, an only child saw some other kids roping a dummy. He thought it looked like fun and asked his dad for a rope. A few years later when he was 11-12, he was roping off of a horse.

                He was encouraged to play football, basketball and other sports in high school, but that would take time away from his roping and that’s where his focus was and has remained since then. When he really got serious, he started roping with Shannon Frascht from  Alva, Okla., and that was really what started Sartain on his path to a championship.

                Sartain moved to Alva so they could practice. Frascht thought if he was making the move he might as well get some education out of it, so Sartain started college at Northwestern Oklahoma State University. He qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo both years that he was there, and continued to practice and rope with Frascht.

                Sartain won the PRCA rookie of the year in 2000. He used his college experience and time in Alva to continue to learn his craft.

                “Shannon is a great horseman,” Sartain said. “I was learning something from him every day. For the eight years that we roped together, he was a great mentor. A lot of people don’t realize what a great horseman that guy is. He’s as good a horseman as I know.”

                Obligations outside of the rodeo arena kept Frascht from competing full-time. The duo would be gone for a couple of weeks then home for a few. They did make the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (WNFR) together in 2006 where they placed in five of 10 rounds, tying for first in the fifth and winning the seventh.

                “We practiced a lot and I was improving the whole time,” Sartain said. “I would have been a fool to rope with somebody else when I still felt like I had a lot to learn.”

                That learning experience continued through 2007. In 2008, he didn’t have a horse he could be competitive on and hadn’t planned to go to any rodeos when he got a call from Rhen Richard from Roosevelt, Utah.  Richard wanted to make a run for Rookie of the Year and needed a partner. Sartain was building his horse herd and didn’t have a mount. No problem, Richard’s brother had a head horse.

                They started roping together just before the Reno Rodeo where they won the coveted championship spurs. They continued their winning ways through the Fourth of July and each took home over $25,000. Richard won the rookie title and Sartain finished 22nd in the world standings.

                Now with a horse herd together it was time to start the 2009 season. Frascht wasn’t ready to hit the road and once again gave Sartain invaluable advice when he suggested that he team up with Kollin Von Ahn. And, once again horsemanship was a factor.

                “Kollin is a real good horseman,” Sartain said. “I’ve always been confident, especially when I’ve got a good partner and a good horse.”

                The horses that Sartain rode on his way to the gold buckle are both about 13 years old, and are Quarter Horse geldings. The one he rode the most this year is a dun that he calls Champ. The horse that he rode at the finals, Buddy T, was a new purchase last summer.

                “Champ isn’t great in the buildings, he’d more of an outside horse,” Sartain said. “I needed something dependable inside. I rode Buddy T at Omaha and he did pretty good so I decided he’d be the first one I’d get on in Vegas.”   

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  Sartain admitted to being nervous the first night because Buddy T had never experienced the crowds or electricity of the WNFR and wasn’t sure how the horse would react. He had been working perfect in the practice pen, but having him work perfect in the Thomas and Mack Center was questionable.

                After the first round the question was answered when Buddy T reacted just as he had in the practice pen. While they had a 9.3-second run, including a penalty, they now had the confidence in themselves, their horses and their equipment to go make the consistent practice runs that it takes to win averages.

                “My plan never changed,” Sartain said. “I feel comfortable roping aggressive and being able to catch 10 steers. Last time I was there, I went too fast. This year I roped smarter and more consistent.”

                That paid off as Sartain and Von Ahn each earned $106,292. They were the only team to have times on all 10 runs thanks in part to two-loop rule that was imposed at this year’s WNFR.

                 “I knew the two-loop rule could play into our favor,” Sartain said. “I thought winning the world was pretty much out of reach, but I sure felt like we could win the average. I would never have dreamed that it would turn out the way it did. Misfortune for the guys ahead of me turned into my fortune.”

                The first two rounds of the WNFR, Sartain used the Xplosion from Cactus, but by the third round had switched back to his favorite rope the Whistler.

                “The Whistler is light and fast and it suits me,” he said. “I like the Xplosion too, but it is a heavier rope. It works for me if we are outside. I’ll use either one depending on what the conditions are and what the steers are like.”

                Sartain moved all the way from the eighth place spot to number one and Von Ahn came from 9th. They are now making plans for 2010 and while they are both excited about the new buckles, they will be back to the basics of making good consistent runs hoping to continue their success.

                “It’s a dream come true,” Sartain said. “It hadn’t really sunk in, but now my phone won’t stop ringing so I know it’s real 

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