By: Justin Felisko
December 01, 2016
PUEBLO, Colo. – The Western world stems far beyond the borders of the United States and a month after competing alongside bull riders from six different countries at the 2016 PBR Built Ford Tough World Finals, Shane Proctor will lend a helping hand to French bareback rider Yvan (Evan) Jane.
Jane is set to compete at the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, presented by Polaris RANGER, on Thursday night, and is unable to carry his nation’s flag during the NFR’s opening ceremonies because he has to get ready to compete in the bareback riding.
Therefore, Jane asked Proctor if he wouldn’t mind carrying the national flag of France each night.
“It is an honor to help him out like that,” Proctor said Thursday morning. “Evan couldn’t carry it because he’s in the first event. And they weren’t going to let him have a flag if he couldn’t get anyone to carry it, so he asked me.
“If you qualify, your nation should be represented.”
This year is Proctor’s fifth NFR appearance. Proctor, who doesn’t believe he has any French heritage, won the 2011 PRCA bull riding title and has qualified for the PBR World Finals eight times. His five NFR and eight World Finals qualifications is the most among active PBR riders.
“It is the NFR and the PBR World Finals, the two biggest bull riding associations we have in the world,” Proctor said. “For me, I take great pride in qualifying for both Finals. It is something that not many people have done and to do it as consistency as I have done over the years is something I take pride in.”
Proctor is $91,689.24 behind PRCA bull riding standings leader Sage Kimzey.
That may seem like too tall of an amount to overcome, yet with $329,576.93 – the max amount of money one rider can earn if he were to win every round (each round winner receives $26,230.77) plus the event average ($67,269.23) at the NFR – Proctor, as well as all 15 bull riding qualifiers is certainly alive in the race for a gold buckle.
“I was the last spot,” Proctor said in Nampa, Idaho, in October. “I made it by $6,000. I had a little bit of comfort room, but I was sitting ninth before Labor Day weekend and we started back up at the (BFTS) and some guys started catching me. There was nothing really I could do about it other than go to the rodeos during the week when I can.
“I know that is how it is going to be at the end of the year, every year, so I just have to do it.”
The PRCA crowns its bull riding champion based on total money earned throughout the year, while the PBR World Champion is the rider who accumulates the most world standings points in PBR-sanctioned events.
Riders placing first through sixth per round at the NFR earn money toward the standings, as well as riders placing first through seventh in the average.
“A lot of rodeo is going about consistency,” Proctor said. “You want to stay on a lot of bulls. You stay on a lot of bulls, you are going to win a lot of money. That is what it pretty much comes down to, but the Finals pay so well. They don’t have the PBR $1 million bonus, but you are riding against 14 guys and it is paying $26,000 a round, paying six holes. That is pretty superb. You can go and mess up and still have a good Finals.”
Winning the PBR World Finals event average awards a bull rider $250,000.
Every year, especially in the last two seasons when the PRCA increased the amount of money up for grabs at the NFR, Proctor knows he will either win or lose the PRCA title in Las Vegas.
Proctor spends the majority of his season at the PBR’s mandated Built Ford Tough Series events. During the middle of the week, and non-BFTS weekends, Proctor will pack up his gear bag and drive or fly to various rodeos across the United States in hopes of earning enough money to qualify for the NFR.
This year Proctor was 43-for-125 (34.4 percent) at all levels of competition.
He concluded the 2016 PBR season 11th in the world standings and won two events, including the PBR Major Iron Cowboy in March.
Proctor picked up rodeo victories at in Austin, Texas; Coeur D Alene, Idaho; Red Lodge, Montana; Harrison, Arkansas; Moses Lake, Washington; Burlington, Colorado; Lehi, Utah; and Sidney, Iowa.
“You do what you have to do to get the Finals and get where you need to go,” Proctor said. “That is where I am. It is a cowboy lifestyle. We have to go as much as possible when we can. When I am done and retired then I will stop to relax more. For now, it is just cowboy stuff.”
Four-time PRCA champion J.W. Harris, who began competing full time on the PBR circuit in 2014 is the only other active BFTS rider with a PRCA bull riding title and World Finals qualification on his resume.
Harris missed the majority of the 2016 season because of elbow/hip surgery and a June car crash. The 30-year-old had planned on focusing only on the PBR in 2016, but the Texas, bull rider expects to compete in both associations in 2017.
For now, he and Proctor are the only two riders that have been able to handle the rigors of competing in both associations.
No bull rider has won the PBR World Championship and the PRCA bull riding title in the same season.
Rookie Derek Kolbaba’s pursuit of qualifying for the NFR came up short this past season.
“Right now, I am the only one that really goes,” Proctor said. “Derek Kolbaba got to see how hard it is to do what I do. He rodeoed all summer and he rides dang good, and exceptionally good. Things didn’t fall into place like they needed to be.
“For us to make both Finals, it has to fall exactly into place. You have to get up at rodeos at the right time. You have to draw at the right time. When you show up, you have to know you can win at any given time because if you don’t and you get in a slump there goes your season. You are rodeoing as much as you can in three months’ time.”
Proctor has attempted over 100 bulls in eight of the last nine seasons.
The Grand Coulee, Washington, bull rider understands his body someday will not likely be able to handle the rigors of riding full time in both associations. Proctor missed the World Finals and the NFR in 2014 because of back-to-back shoulder surgeries.
At some point, the 31-year-old will likely have to decide which path he wants to continue down in the latter stages of his career.
“I have thought about taking it a little easier when I get older and I can’t make a choice,” Proctor said. “It would be nice to have my summers off because that is something I have never had, and it would be nice to have my winters off because that is something I never had. I want to keep riding when I am having fun, making money. When I start embarrassing myself a whole lot, because I can embarrass myself by going 22 buckoffs (on the BFTS) in a row, but I still think I can be competitive so I want to keep going.
“I want to see how many times I can make it to both.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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