LAS VEGAS – Drake Armes turns 4 years old Wednesday, and his family can celebrate in style.
On Tuesday night, his daddy, Bray Armes, placed for the third time in six rounds at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He rode Dean Gorsuch’s horse Skip to a 4.1-second finish to place third in the round and collect an additional $10,895.
That buys a lot of balloons.
“We’re going to have him a little birthday and make it all about him,” Bray Armes said.
In all, Armes has scored on all six runs and has the fifth best cumulative time in the competition, 36.8 seconds. He has earned $37,987 in Las Vegas. He needs just $7,865 more, and he will have doubled his regular-season earnings.
“It feels great,” Armes said. “This place is amazing. You can come in here last and still have a shot to be up there at the front.
“I’ve been very blessed to be able to ride the very best horse here. I’m just thankful to have Dean on my side. Every night we talk and come up with a game plan and try to go through it. I’ve been very fortunate and blessed by God and thank Him so much for everything He does for me.”
He also has his family by his side. They try to spend the days together, then get to the rodeo. It’s important for them all, wife Neelley, daughter Breely and, of course, Drake, the birthday boy.
“During the day when I don’t have things to do, we just hang out and try to spend time with the kids,” Armes said.
That’s important. Between autograph sessions and other appearances, time is limited during the 10-day slugfest that is the NFR. The focus turns to steer wrestling upon arrival at the Thomas and Mack Center.
“I’m just trying to catch them all and thrown them down, then I’ll see where I end up,” Armes said. “I’m really trying to win in the rounds. I feel like I haven’t made a great run yet.
“Hopefully it’ll all fall together real good, and I’ll feel good about it. I feel real good about where I’m at.”