LAS VEGAS – Steer wrestler Bray Armes has a way of turning a negative into a positive.
He made it pay off Sunday night with a 3.5-second run to finish runner-up in the fourth go-round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo – the run was worth $14,724 and pushed the Ponder, Texas, cowboy up to 12th in the world standings.
“I got a great start, and Ote put me right up his back,” Armes said, referring to the horse he rides. “I had a good steer, and I was just lucky to get him on his side.”
It was fortunate, and it was a reversal of fortunes. In the third round, Armes made a beautiful run, but as he went to put the finishing touches to stop the clock in one of the fastest times of the NFR, his left arm just missed the steer’s nose. The result was a 4.0-second run, just one-tenth out of the money.
“I had a little anger with myself built up,” said Armes, who was raised in Gruver, Texas. “I was not going to miss the nose on that steer.
“I typically have a 15-minute rule to think about a run, and I exceeded that one and went a little over it. I was just angry with myself that I let one slip away. We’re not perfect. We only can control what we can. God is going to take care of the rest. We’ve just always got to remember He’s got it already laid out, so we’ve just got to worry about our job.”
Human nature doesn’t always work that way, but Armes is a man of strong faith. He also has faith in himself and the rest of his team, Ote and his hazer, Riley Duvall.
“I feel good,” Armes said. “There are definitely things I wish I’d done a little better at. The main thing the first two rounds was that I wasn’t getting my start, and the start sets everything up. I’ve got Ote locked in. He’s doing great and getting me where I need to be.
“Riley’s getting everything lined out great. I’m just going to be backing in every night trying to win first, so we’ll see what happens.”
In addition to his earnings, Armes has a four-round cumulative time of 17.6 seconds, which puts him No. 3 in the aggregate standings. Should he remain in that spot through the conclusion of the NFR, he would add $30,649 – the average champion will win nearly $48,000.
“That average is a great check, but for what I’m here to do, I need go-rounds,” said Armes, who finished fourth in the NFR average a year ago. “I’ll just go for go-rounds, and hopefully the average will take care of itself again.”