Heeling Strategy with Martin Lucero

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Q:Dear Martin,
I'm amazed when I read stories or watch interviews how finely tuned your heeling position is in the quick set ups in the buildings. I was wondering what goes in to the subtle changes you make depending on the steer you draw and the situation you're in. I know I'll probably never have a four-second run, but I know that I can improve my times by riding a better position.

Thanks,
Harry, Scottsdale, Ariz.

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A:
I'm in a safe position right there. That steer was heavy when they ran him through, so I wanted to stay away from him. We were in the position where the round was really tough that night, so we just had to be solid to win first or second in the average. So I wanted to put myself in a position to have an easy shot, where I could see the steer the whole time. It's amazing how fast JoJo LeMond had it on him. He's already dallying and the clock's at 1 flat.

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He did handle heavy and slow, so I ended up being closer than I anticipated anyway, but it worked out good. I had to wait for this shot right here and take one extra swing.

I think we ended up being 4.5 and won second in the average.

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The steer came a little more to the right, so the spacing is different. I don't have the spacing to heel him real fast, but we were at the end and there were one or two teams behind us and a leg (a run with a leg-up penalty) was winning it at the time so again, I'm not far behind him, but I want to make sure I'm on the inside when he turns him. I wanted to make sure he stayed in the middle of the arena, so I didn't jump out on him, so we could just go catch. With the arena's being so small, straight is a premium. I know that I can still take a swing or two and still win first or second because there's only one or two teams behind me and the top four make it back for the big money. You can see even Jo is not quite as aggressive, the clock is at 1.6. We were just making a businessman's run to make sure we advance.

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We ended up winning the round with a 5.1. In this situation, we just do our deal and let somebody beat us. If we were at the beginning of the round, we'd set the pace and put pressure on everybody else. I think that's what has gotten so good about our team: realizing situations better

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In this situation, it doesn't matter what we do. We were the last team to go, and a 4.3 is winning it and 26 is second. Jo asked me if we wanted to safety-up and go for second and I said, "Man we can rebuild in 26." So you can see I'm wider here, so I'm preparing myself for a faster shot so right when he turns I can heel him. Our thinking is we're going to go at this steer a little faster. You can see Jo is even a little wider and has it on the steer and is dallied even faster than in the first picture. I moved over to have a faster corner shot and when I roped him I slipped a leg.

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