Merry Cowboy Christmas 2006

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There are back-to-back big weeks in a row right now, starting with Reno and the BFI. Reno (Nev.) basically kicks off your summer, then we're off to the Fourth of July run, then Salinas (Calif.) and Cheyenne (Wyo.). Everybody looks forward to this time of year, when you can really capitalize on some big-money opportunities. Once you leave Reno, it takes quite a bit of juggling and scheduling to get it all done. If you're going to go to seven to nine rodeos in a week, you're going to have to have two rigs on the road and be buddying with another team to cut the costs, so each team has a rig on the road. If you have to charter planes, you also have a buddy team to split the cost of that.

The Fourth of July run is kind of a unique week, because you compete in all kinds of different setups and scenarios. There are some really good one-headers, some two-headers and some two and a shorts, so we really have a diversity of runs. Cody's (Wyo.) the biggest one-header, and if you can win that one it's like having a great Fourth, because it pays $7,000-$8,000 a man to win it. If you can do good at a Greeley (Colo.), a St. Paul (Ore.) or a Pecos (Texas), you can win $5,000-$6,000 pretty easily. So you want to get the ball rolling right off the bat and make some big runs. That makes it easy to get going. If you start out not putting any runs together, you start pressing a little bit, because you're wanting to win and you get to counting the runs you have left.

The weather's all over the map over the Fourth, just like the rodeos. St. Paul is about as nice as it can possibly be in the morning slack, and so is Greeley and Cody. Red Lodge (Mont.) can even be kind of cold. Then you go to a place like Pecos (Texas), and it's an absolute cooker. Morning or evening, when you're in Pecos, it's just nasty, blistering hot. It's no surprise that we don't get a lot of rest over the Fourth. Speedy (Williams) and I have a nine-day run scheduled, so for about a week and a half, it's going to be go, go, go.

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