Proctor/Long Triumphant in Claremore Mud

By Ted Harbin/for the Will Rogers Stampede PRCA Rodeo

CLAREMORE, Okla. – The locals found the good and the bad that comes with a soggy rodeo May 24 during the final performance of the Will Rogers Stampede.

While steer ropers Brodie Poppino and Brady Garten suffered no-times, team ropers Coleman Proctor and Jake Long pulled off the fastest time of the week to claim the championship.

“It was sure enough wet out there,” said Proctor, a header from Pryor, Okla., just 20 miles east of Claremore. “The good Lord blessed us with a lot of rain in this country, but it is dang sure wet and nasty. Steers were having heck getting through the mud, but we always seem to work decent in the mud.”

Proctor and Long have roped together most of their lives and are coming off a fantastic 2014 season in which both cowboys finished among the top five in the world standings. On Sunday night, the tandem downed their steer in 5.3 seconds to win their first Claremore title; they each pocketed $1,469.

“I feel more like a cowboy to win one in the mud,” Proctor said. “There were still a lot of people in the stands, the die-hards who came out and sat through those conditions to see a great rodeo. It was a great experience. Anytime you can win in the PRCA against this caliber of guys, it’s real special.”

Sunday night wasn’t so special for Poppino, a Clem McSpadden National Finals Steer Roping qualifier from Big Cabin, Okla., just northeast of Claremore. He and Garten, a two-time NFSR qualifier from Claremore, suffered no-times.

“The conditions are so tough, and the cattle don’t take it very good,” Poppino said. “You have some horsepower issues, too, but that’s part of the draw. That’s rodeo. Everybody gets their time to run in the mud; sometimes it works, and sometimes it doesn’t.”

Still, a good portion of the crowd on hand was there to support the locals.

“If you’re going to rodeo all year, you’re going to have to compete in that stuff more than once,” Garten said. “Last year I was in the same performance and won the average, so it worked out in my favor last year and not this year.”

Despite the conditions, Proctor and Long were among three event champions who competed Sunday night. They were joined by bareback rider Richmond Champion of The Woodlands, Texas (83 points on Lancaster & Pickett’s Peppermint), and bull rider Guthrie Murray of Miami, Okla. (88 points on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s Medicine Show), who posted the top scores on the final night.

The other winners in this $67,281 rodeo were steer wrestler Laine Herl (4.1 seconds), tie-down roper Dillon Holder (8.2 seconds), steer roper Rocky Patterson (35.2 seconds on three head), barrel racer Michele McLeod (17.41 seconds) and saddle bronc rider Nat Stratton (85 points on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s The Darkness).

Courtesy of PRCA