LAS VEGAS – In his first two qualifications to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Casey Colletti has earned nearly $100,000 in the City of Lights.
Nearly $22,000 has come off the back of Smith Harper & Morgan Rodeo’s Jesse’s Girl – he won the ninth go-round in 2011, then matched moves with the mare for 84.5 points to share a fifth-place finish during the fourth round on Sunday night.
“I think they need to rename her,” Colletti said jokingly, indicating Casey’s Girl would be quite fitting. “It felt the same as last year, maybe even a little bit better than last year. I think I spurred her for 12 seconds because it was that easy.
“I actually felt my chaps whipping me in the face. I’ve never felt that before.”
He’d like to feel it again, and he still has plenty of opportunities to do so with six rounds remaining in this year’s grand championship. So far, Colletti has placed in two of four go-rounds and has collected $14,724.
“I was just excited, because I knew I had a horse I’d been on before, that I’d won a round on at the NFR before,” said Colletti, who attended Garden City (Kan.) Community College on a rodeo scholarship.
Now the 26-year-old cowboy hopes to continue to find his way to the pay window. He knows every opportunity he gets will be on the backs of the greatest bucking horses in professional rodeo. The fifth round, though, will feature the best of the best, including two of the top three bareback horses of the year.
“You can be 90 points on any horse in that pen,” Colletti said. “That’s what makes it fun, because we’re all going to try to be 90.”