By: Justin Felisko
PUEBLO, Colo. – Team South Point General Manager Colby Yates was excited on Monday morning when he looked down at his iPhone to see he had an incoming call from 2012 PRCA champion Cody Teel.
Yates had wanted to discuss some strategies with his team captain after the RidePass analyst had worked the first two weekends of the Monster Energy Team Challenge, presented by U.S. Border Patrol, in Las Vegas.
Yates’ excitement, though, turned into exasperation when Teel told him he had some bad news.
Teel had aggravated his ongoing right knee injury in the practice pen last week, and he could not get the swelling to go down.
Teel, who thinks he only needs a few weeks off, and Yates eventually decided with Division B action getting underway on Friday, and the regular season only lasting two weekends, that it was best to find a replacement.
“I didn’t see this happening,” an exhausted Yates told PBR.com Monday afternoon. “I have had the worst luck with my team so far. The only person I have on my team that is an original player is Boudreaux Campbell. I have been scrambling plenty of times these past few weeks.”
Yates had gotten so used to scouring the free agent wire that he discovered a potential wild card last month when he first had to replace Jordan Hansen and Parker McCown. After naming Ty Wallace and Cody Nance to his team, Yates made sure to reach out to one more rider.
The General Manager was well aware that Nance has not competed all season long because of nerve damage in his right shoulder, so Yates wanted to make sure he had a potential backup option if Nance wound up being out.
The ace in Yates’s pocket is 2011 PRCA champion and nine-time PBR World Finals qualifier Shane Proctor.
With another unexpected twist to his team, Yates knew that was the call he had to make Monday.
“Shane Proctor knew he was on the radar for me,” Yates said. “I told him, ‘Hey, I need you to come to Vegas.’”
Proctor had retired from PBR competition two years ago to compete in multiple roughstock events full time in the PRCA, but he is more than happy to accept the invitation to team up with Nance, Wallace and Campbell.
“When you have guys like Colby Yates call you and say they need you to show up, you show up,” Proctor said. “That is what it is. He needed me and I told him I would be there for him. Hopefully I am going to ride really well and kick some butt and be there to lead my team.
“Colby just traded one PRCA World Champion for another PRCA World Champion, so it works out pretty well.”
In a corresponding roster announcement, Yates has named Nance the new captain for Team South Point.
It has been a whirlwind few weeks for Nance, too.
The 11-time PBR World Finals qualifier had called the PBR office to inquire about the team competition once he knew he was going to be cleared to return to competition in the middle of May, but he had missed the initial draft by a few days.
“Going from not having a spot, to being a captain. How about that?” Nance said with a laugh Monday. “I am never afraid to step up to a challenge. I don’t mind stepping up, I told Colby that. I hate that Cody is not going to be a part of the team. That blows.”
The Monster Energy Team Challenge is Nance’s first event of 2020. Nance did get on four practice bulls a while back and was admittedly rusty, but he is hopeful he can quickly round into fighting shape in Las Vegas.
“I am tickled to be back, and I am tickled to be back in this environment,” he said. “I love the team format. I am really excited. I wanted to be a part of the team, and whenever I called to my put myself on the eligibility list, they told me the teams were already picked and drafted and they were set in stone. I said, ‘Well, I will wait, and you never know what could happen.’”
Nance helped lead Team USA to the inaugural Global Cup championship three years ago in Edmonton, and the Paris, Tennessee, bull rider is one of the grittiest competitors on the Unleash The Beast.
The 2009 Rookie of the Year has never missed the PBR World Finals, and Yates knows he will get everything Nance has, whether he is inside the arena competing or on the back of the chutes cheering on his opponents.
“Out of my whole team now, he is the leader,” Yates said. “He is the warrior. He is the guy that is going to push these guys, whether he is riding or on the bench. I was contemplating moving him on and off the bench with Ty Wallace as (Team Cooper Tires GM Cody) Lambert did with Keyshawn (Whitehorse) and Stetson (Lawrence).
“It may still go like that, which is going to look a little funny that my captain isn’t always in. I imagine we will start with him and see what he looks like. That is my instinct, because he is coming off an injury and I know he is going to freaking fight his guts out and try his hardest. He is going to be a leader for his team and push the guys. Whether he is riding or not, he will be all in.”
Nance, 32, and Proctor, 35, give Team South Point the oldest dynamic duo among the Division B teams.
They have 537 rides combined on the PBR’s premier series, have won 18 events at the PBR’s highest level and qualified for the PBR World Finals a total of 20 times.
“Shane is the right person,” Yates said. “Look, I got two guys that are up there in age. They are veterans of the sport, but I like Shane Proctor because he is like Nance. He is going to fight and he will try until his head hits the ground. The other thing I like about it is he can ride bulls both ways equally as good. It doesn’t matter what direction they go.”
Nance loves the addition of Proctor.
“Instead of taking another young guy, Colby said lets go ahead and try a veteran and asked, ‘What do you think about Shane Proctor?’” Nance said. “I said, ‘Well, Shane Proctor can really ride. He has proven himself on both levels of competition and has been tearing it up lately, so why not? He deserves this spot as much as anybody. We have seen him shine out there when he won the Iron Cowboy, and he knows what the big stage is like. He has been No. 1 in the PBR multiple times.”
Proctor finished in eighth place most recently at the Coleman, Texas, PRCA event, and the Grand Coulee, Washington, bull rider said his body feels ready to rock inside the Pendleton Whisky Let ‘Er Buck Saloon at the South Point Arena.
Team South Point is slated to begin Division B competition on Friday night vs. Team Pendleton Whisky at 9 p.m. ET live on CBS Sports Network and RidePass.
“That is the thing about being away from the PBR. It does make you crave the competition,” Proctor said. “I am looking forward to being part of it again. I love what I do. I have been content with my decision to retire from the PBR. I still had seven guaranteed events when I did retire, so I am just collecting them now.”
The Top 3 teams in the final Division B standings on June 28 will join the Top 3 teams from Division A – Team Cooper Tires, Team Las Vegas and Team Can-Am – in Sioux Falls, South Dakota, for Championship Weekend on July 10-12.
“I am excited for this new team aspect,” Proctor said. “I think it can really go big, especially with the format they have. I watched it a little bit the last couple of weeks. I think it is a really exciting atmosphere, and with the team effort behind it, I think we have a good shot of doing well.”
Follow Justin Felisko on Twitter @jfelisko
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