by ProRodeo.com | May 31, 2014
FORT SMITH, Ark. – Hunter Herrin is back to roping at an elite level, and it showed at the Old Fort Days Rodeo earlier in the week.
On May 27, the 29-year-old tie-down roper posted a blazing-fast time of 6.8 seconds to win the first round, and followed that with a run of 7.6 seconds in the second round. His average time of 14.4 seconds held up throughout the rest of the rodeo, giving him his second win of the 2014 season and earning him $3,824.
“It always feels good to know you made the best run that you could, whether it’s 8, 7 or 6.8 seconds,” said Herrin, a six-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier. “The start in Fort Smith was fast, and everyone told me that my first-round calf was really good. Once I got the calf on the ground, I went through the motions and didn’t try to go too fast (so as not to) make a mistake.”
Last season was only the third time in Herrin’s nine-year career that he didn’t qualify for the WNFR. In fact, statistically 2013 was the worst year of his career, although he still finished 30th in the world standings.
Herrin says much of his struggles last year are on him, but the fact that he was riding a new, green horse didn’t help matters. He began riding his current horse, Rambo, last season, and while the horse showed promise, there were growing pains.
“He was good last year, but it takes a little time for a horse to come into his own sometimes,” Herrin said of the 11-year-old Rambo. “It’s like having a rookie quarterback in football; no matter how good he is, you’re going to struggle a bit with him to begin with. He had a little trouble adjusting last year, but now he’s coming along this year and has been better than I could ask for.”
This circumstance is nothing new to Herrin. In 2010, he switched between riding an older horse and a younger, greener horse, and as a result missed the WNFR by one spot, finishing 16th.
The next two seasons following 2010, Herrin made it to Las Vegas, and he’s hoping to rebound just as well this year.
“It was the same type of scenario last year as 2010, and I had to sit at home and watch the Finals,” Herrin said. “Sitting at home and watching the NFR is one of the most devastating things you can go through as a cowboy. You can’t blame it on the draw, and usually when you don’t make the NFR, it means you beat yourself.”
Although this is only Herrin’s second win of the season – he won the YMBL Championship Rodeo in Beaumont, Texas – he still sits in good position. He was 15th in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings entering the weekend, and says he’s ready for things to pick up.
“The biggest key is to have everything lining up for the summer run,” he said. “The calves are harder to rope in the winter and spring. If you score well and give the calf a chance to be good, it can work out. But you always want to get the momentum going into Reno (June 20-28) and the Fourth of July. A good run then can change everything.”
Other winners at the $134,420 rodeo were bareback rider Bobby Mote (88 points on Pickett Pro Rodeo Company’s Top Flight), steer wrestlers Casey Martin and Clayton Hass (8.3 seconds on two head each), team ropers Manny Egusquiza Jr. and Brad Culpepper (10.4 seconds on two head), saddle bronc rider Heith DeMoss (85 points on J Bar J’s Julia), barrel racer Molly Childers (16.48 seconds), steer roper Vin Fisher Jr. (20.6 seconds on two head) and bull rider Cole Echols (91 points on Silver Creek Pro Rodeo’s Gypsy Rose).
Courtesy of PRCA