LAS VEGAS – By Ted Harbin – The National Finals Rodeo is no different than any of the numerous trips across the country for tie-down roper Tyson Durfey.
Along the way, a cowboy will experience the highs and lows – the trips to the peaks of the mountaintops followed by the ever-braking skids to the valleys with those rides along the plateaus. That describes Durfey’s NFR to a tee. He roped and tied down eight of 10 calves in a qualified time but placed just three times. In all, he earned a shade more than $19,000 in Las Vegas.
Still, he moved up one spot to 14th in the world standings, and earning almost $20,000 in 10 days is an outstanding paycheck for most.
Durfey, though, expects better. He knows what it takes to win go-rounds, much less just place in them. He’s placed as high as third in the average standings, that coming in 2009. He has finished the season among the top five in the world standings.
“To me, rodeoing is all about keeping your mind centrally located, trying not to let your emotions take over,” said Durfey, who grew up near Savannah, Mo., still claims Colbert, Wash., as home and spends a good portion of his time in Weatherford, Texas.
That worked for the most part.
Durfey placed in the second go-round, then just missed the pay window in Rounds 3-4. He returned to the top in the sixth go-round before suffering back-to-back no-times. A 10-second broken barrier in the ninth round could’ve derailed everything, but he bounced back quite well on the final night of the 2014 season, Saturday, Dec. 13.
Durfey roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds to finish in a tie for third place with Reese Reimer. How fast was the final round? That same time would’ve won four other go-rounds.
“Rodeo is such a funny sport, but I couldn’t do this without my sponsors,” he said, noting his agreements with Next IT Corp., Zoetis Animal Health, Pro Vision Equine Digital Surveillance, Cinch, Corral Boots, Logan Coach Horse Trailers, Willbros Group Inc., Swift Transportation, HR Workplace Services, Priefert and Silver Lining Herbs.
“There are so many variables in roping that you just have to take what you get.”