11/6 Drew Horner: Uncoiled. NFR Set-Up0
I have dreamed about this! The day that I would get to set my arena up to the same dimensions as the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nevada!!! I am pretty pumped. Yesterday, I went and grabbed our panels, measured off the distances from the chute to the left wall, and set my panels up for my practice this month.
I didn’t put a back wall on the arena for a couple reasons. One, its not that important. The length of the arena is 152’ feet, so the back wall comes fast, but, we most likely won’t run a steer that far down the arena anyway for it to be a factor. Two, it helps keep the practice running smoothly. Without a back wall, my steers will run to the same catch gate every time, without running all over the arena lost. Three, its easier to drag the arena and keep the dirt maintained. We don’t have to break down panels every time we need to drag the arena. The last few reasons we didn’t put a back wall up is so that the steers will keep running to the end of the arena, and I can have an area to let my horse slow down and free up a little bit if I need to, and not have them come back as hard down the wall when they are handling.
Here is what I did. I put panels up that measured 54’ feet from the center of the chute to the left fence, that measured about 150’ feet in length down the arena, so that no matter where I went in the run, I would develop a better awareness of the left wall, my horses would get used to the left wall, and also be able to practice my handles and facing with a left wall as best I can. My right fence is permanent and it measures about 25’ feet to the right from the center of the chute, which is about 9’ feet less than the NFR arena that is 34’ feet to the right. That’s what my arena is set up like.
My practice plan is pretty simple. I am focusing on a few different objectives, but nothing too out of the ordinary. I am going to make a bunch of runs for myself on some practice horses, keeping myself maintained physically for my roping and also putting myself in as many situations I think I will face during those ten days.
My two horses I am taking out there are Slick and my new Horse Tex. Kaleb Driggers rode Tex there last year, and I rode Slick there a few years ago when I ran the extra steers for the team roping. Slick and Tex are both great short score horses and are both able to face really well in the left wall, so I feel pretty confident in their abilities out there.
Things I need to focus on for myself are, keeping my tip up a little bit, keeping my posture strong and a little bit more upright, and sticking to the basics in my roping. Thinking about these few things helps me just relax and have fun in competition. I can push myself now in practice, then when I get out there, just slow myself down mentally and let my reactions take over. I seem to rope better when I just slow down and react, and I also get to enjoy the moments a little more. I get to take in where I am at and what I am getting to do. Going to the NFR is one thing I probably will always remember. Although it is really not that important in the whole scheme of things, I want to enjoy the ten days in Vegas. It is a blessing to be there!
I am excited about going to Vegas! I hope y’all are doing well and looking forward to the Finals also. Whether or not your going or watching it on TV at home, I am sure it’ll be fun watching. Those of you that have contacted me on my Facebook Fan Page and ask questions, thank you! Any of you that have not yet, feel free to ask away and get in touch with me! I like hearing from you all. Here’s an idea; if you have any blog ideas or anything you’d like to discuss, message me on my Fan Page and maybe we can put on here! Hope to hear from you all soon! DH