Two from Pampa head to NFR ranked No. 1 in the world
Pampa will be well-represented come Dec. 3-12 when the National Finals Rodeo is held in Arlington.
Steer Wrestler Matt Reeves and Saddle-Bronc Rider Wyatt Casper head into the annual event ranked No. 1 in the World.
Casper has wins at The American (Arlington), World’s Oldest (Prescott, Ariz.) and Kit Carson County Pro Rodeo (Burlington, Colo.).
“It’s a really good feeling going in there on top, but it’s not really going to change anything to how I would do it,” Casper said. “I’m going to come in there focused on what I can get done.”
Casper, who is from Pampa but lives in Miami, has competed in 60 rodeos this year and said the pandemic shutting rodeos down earlier this year actually did him a favor.
“This year we could only make it to 60 rodeos. I guess the pandemic kind of helped me in a way because back in March I broke my neck (stress fracture in T-1 and swelled up my T-2) in Houston,” Casper said.
“The next day they canceled Houston because of COVID-19. During the months we were off I got to stay home and get my neck healthy. Nobody else ran any rodeos while I was hurt and I was able to compete in the rodeos when they started back up and was healthy.”
Reeves 2020 highlights includes wins at The American (Arlington), Texas Circuit Finals (Waco), San Angelo Rodeo and Cave Creek (Ariz.) Rodeo Days.
Reeves, who was also injured when a horse fell on him earlier this year, said 2020 has been a roller-coaster year for him.
“The highs of this year have been some of the highest highs I’ve ever had,” Reeves said. “But the lows have been some of the lowest lows. Which is odd. I’m usually consistent and ease along.”
One of the lows for Reeves, who is also from Pampa but currently lives in Cross Plains, Texas, was the death of his horse, Rattle.
“She was the youngest horse at the NFR last year. It was kind of unexpected,” Reeves said. “She had just gotten over being sick. She looked as good as she had ever looked in her life. There’s not really a reason why it happened. Just bad luck.”
This year Reeves will take his horse, Red, who is 12-years-old to the NFR.
“I rode him the first four rounds last year,” Reeves said. “We were on him kind of in the winter, too. I hadn’t had to run on him. I haven’t had to ride him a lot, I’ve rode her (Rattle) everywhere I’ve been.”
Reeves will be competing in a rodeo at Waco before going to NFR. Casper will compete at Waco and in Denton.
While 2020 has changed the landscape for many sports in regards to fans, Casper said it’s the same ol’ rodeo.
“They have all of that (the pandemic precautions) in place at the rodeos but there’s not a lot of people going by the rules at those events,” Casper said.
“Rodeos have pretty much stay the same. A lot of them still have big crowds and it’s pretty awesome to see rodeos going on. Rodeos wouldn’t be the same without fans.”
Reeves echoed that sentiment, stating the crowds have been outstanding.
“Once we got started back it wasn’t that big of a deal,” Reeves said. “We had to wear masks for the first bit but the places that have had rodeos had them and moved on. Crowds have been outstanding in most places. There’s been a lot of rodeos that set records for the attendance. That’s been huge.”
This year the NFR is held in Arlington at Globe Life Field, as opposed to it’s normal venue in Las Vegas.
“I think it’s going to be good,” the 42-year-old Reeves said. “Tickets have sold well, the arena’s going to be much, much different. It’s going to be a different rodeo but it’s going to be a good rodeo. I’m looking forward to it. I’m older so it’s fun just getting to go. But I’m excited for the chance.”
For more information on either competitor visit prorodeo.com. For more information on NFR, visit https://www.nfrexperience.com/nfr2020/.