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Slow start doesn’t deter team of Rogers, Eaves

Slow start doesn’t deter team of Rogers, Eaves

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – It took six rounds for Erich Rogers and Paul Eaves to earn a check at this year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

The pair posted three no-times in those five early rounds, and they just missed earning a check in the second round with a 5.1 run.

Despite those early woes, the pair never lost themselves or their confidence.

“I don’t think there was no trouble at all at the beginning,” said Rogers, who made a return trip to the NFR after missing last season. “We didn’t make no changes in how we rope, we just kept doing what we were doing.”

The 12-time NFR qualifier added that during the rodeo season, they’ve turned in some bad runs and nobody took notice of it. But at the NFR things get amplified.

“We’ve had runs like that all year long but when it comes to here everybody knows about it,” Rogers said. “That’s just the way it is here. The way you have to go about it is, think of it as just another rodeo, another run. You’ll have hiccups here and there, so you just have to go onto your next run.”

Their luck changed in a big way as the pair won the sixth round with a 3.5 run that was held on the morning of Dec. 13 before a somewhat vacant Thomas & Mack Arena. That’s because the NFR opted to postpone the opening round on Dec. 7 due to the mass shooting that took place on the UNLV campus the day before.

And although there were no tickets sold for the Wednesday morning slack performance on Dec. 13, Rogers insisted that the event was just as energetic as the nightly performances.

“It wasn’t necessarily empty,” Rogers said of the Thomas & Mack Center. “I mean, they still played music and the whole bottom section was almost filled.

“There were still quite a few fans there,” he added. “We had our families there, and most of the first responders and the people from UNLV got to watch the rodeo. They enjoyed the rodeo, so it was a good show for everybody.”

The sixth-round win didn’t come easy for the Rogers/Eaves duo as they edged a pair of second-place finishers. With identical 3.6 runs, the team of Dustin Egusquiza/Levi Lord and Andrew Ward/Buddy Hawkins Jr., made the sixth round that much more interesting.

“We took full advantage of the morning slack here today,” Rogers told the PRCA. “The steer that we drew was really good. The guys that made a run on him before us in Round 3 had a good run, too. We just capitalized on him, and Paul did an outstanding job today finishing the run.”

Eaves was equally ecstatic to pull off the win.

“It felt great. The steer was awesome, and we approached him with a clear mind,” Eaves said. “It’s a new steer. Forget the past and we won.”

When asked if he’s ever had such a slow start in his previous NFR qualifications, Rogers’ response was this:

“I’ve never kept track of that. I mean, every year you just try to do the best job as you can. Sometimes you win some, and sometimes you lose some.

“But a win is a win,” he added. “I’m grateful that we got that win. I’m just thankful that we drew good that day.”

The pair added a fourth place run of 4.4 seconds in the eighth round as they finished eighth in the aggregate race by roping seven draws in 39.7 seconds.

Collectively, the duo won $68,936 each at this year’s finals as both cowboys finished 10th in the world. In the header’s position, Rogers finished the year-end standings at $188,590, while Eaves collected $188,941 as a heeler.

“I had a good finals,” Rogers said when asked to sum up this year’s event. “I got a go-round win, and I got a little bit of money so I can’t complain.

“This is a good rodeo, and I’m just glad to be back,” he added.


About The Author

Quentin Jodie

Quentin Jodie is the Sports Editor for the Navajo Times. He started working for the Navajo Times in February 2010 and was promoted to the Sports Editor position at the end of summer in 2012. Previously, he wrote for the Gallup Independent. Reach him at qjodie@navajotimes.com

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