By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (July 26, 2015) — One week after one of the biggest disappointments of his stellar young rodeo career, Marty Yates bounced back with one of his greatest victories.
Yates was 11.2 for second in the Sunday short-go and 32.4 on three head to win his first aggregate championship in three tries at legendary Cheyenne Frontier Days in Wyoming, one of the richest and most famed stops on the PRCA tour.
Winning Cheyenne is a thrill for any cowboy, especially one coming off such a stunning loss at another marquee rodeo.
Yates led California Rodeo Salinas entering the average, and needed just a 13.1 when he backed in for the short go in Salinas, California the Sunday prior. He was fast enough to win with ease, except he was flagged because the calf was jerked down by his horse.
The no time dropped Yates out of the short-go and to eighth in the average, costing him more than $6,000.
But Yates, 21, gave rodeo fans the type of rebound performance they expect from their young superstars. And with almost $20,000 at Cheyenne pushing him over the $70,000 plateau for 2015, he almost certainly locked up a second straight trip to the National Finals Rodeo where he won or shared three rounds in 2014.
“I was real down after I roped at Salinas, but I had plenty of great people around me telling me, ’It’s not you, it’s just luck. Just keep doing what you’re doing,’” said Yates in an exclusive phone interview with The Flash less than an hour after his victory Sunday afternoon. “It’s an amazing feeling to bounce back and win this one and secure a second straight trip to the NFR.”
Yates used the fastest run of the week – 10.0 – to win the first round and $6,357, and was 11.2 for sixth and $2,211 in the second go. A repeat 11.2 in the short go on Sunday gave him the aggregate victory by 1.3 seconds over Riley Pruitt, who finished second in 33.7.
The top spot in the average pays $9,535, pushing Yates’ total at Cheyenne to $18,103 with earnings from the short-go not yet added at the time of this writing. He is one of four calf ropers to top $70,000 for the season this week, joining travel partner and likely new world leader Hunter Herrin, previous world leader Monty Lewis and Cory Solomon.
“It’s awesome to be right at the top with Hunter. We like to see between the two of us who is on top, rather we are tenth and twentieth in the world standings or first and second,” said Yates of his travel partner. “Hunter is awesome and we feed off each other. When he does good, I’m his biggest fan, and when I do good, he’s my biggest fan. I know he’s serious about winning, but he’s an awesome guy to have in your corner.”
Yates won Cheyenne aboard Buster because Chicken, the 2014 reserve grand champion quarter horse of the year he rode in the 2014 NFR, has been on the mend. The two will be reunited as soon as Yates makes it home to Erath County.
“For me to keep winning with him sitting at home means a lot for me and my career,” says Yates. “But I am pumped. It’s been a long road for me and him, and we trust each other so much and have that special feel for each other. I’m headed home to get him as soon as I get my (trophy) saddle here in a minute.”
Headed home a champion, of not just any event, but Cheyenne, the one the rodeo world calls, “The daddy of them all.”
“It’s a dream come true,” said Yates. “As bad as I felt a week ago after Salinas, I feel the exact opposite today. It’s amazing.”
As The Flash was working on this writing, Stephenville header Luke Brown and Huckabay heeler Kollin VonAhn used a strong short-go to win the team roping in Cheyenne, just a day after posting a stunning time of 3.4 to capture the title at Salt Lake in Utah. The Flash will catch up with these champion cowboys for further coverage to come.