Riley Minor On The Game Of Inches
When you’re spinning one steer for $100,000, experience helps. Cactus team member and nine-time NFR header Riley Minor felt lucky to make the Shoot-Out round of RFD-TV’s The American this month, because his brother had roped a leg on the steer prior. But the two knew how to get it done – they were the 2017 champs of The American rodeo.
Riley uses a Relentless saddle on his defending PRCA/AQHA Head Horse of the Year, 18-year-old Bob, and he had it made with a 4-inch cantle, which he says helps him stay forward and in the middle of his horse leaving the corner.
“Trevor invented it and he’s King of the Cowboys,” said Minor, who’s been using the saddle the past three years on Bob. “I look up to Trevor. If he rides it, I figured I might as well ride it.”
Riley and Brady were first to rope in The American’s Shoot-Out round, and matched their 4.7 from the day prior.
“When you’re first out, you either just wing it because you expect it to get really fast, or you catch and let them come beat you,” Riley said. “If you put a good run on the board, sometimes a guy gets ahead of himself trying to beat it. I know I’ve done it several times – I did it the other night in Houston. Anyway, I decided to stick to my same game plan of just trying to make our run. And then some guys had some bobbles and that allowed us to win second.”
The $25,000-per-man second-place check counted in the PRCA world standings for the first time, which gives Riley mixed feelings. He’d glad it counts for him, now, but he still doesn’t agree with it.
“I feel like a guy goes all year long to make the Finals, and another guy shouldn’t be able to make the Finals off one run,” he said. “Some people think it’s good for the sport that it counts, but those people don’t grind it out all year long.”
On the plus side, he said it gives anyone in America a chance to make the NFR in one day, which should spur more guys to enter qualifiers. And watching his good buddies Coleman Proctor and Ryan Motes earn $433,000 apiece? Unbelievable, he said.
“Change is good in rodeo, and helps grow the sport,” he added. “Hopefully it will be a good thing that this money counts if it increases entries and gets more guys in the sport.
Another good thing? It pushed the Minor boys to second in the world with their best chance yet at a gold buckle. Still, though, this is rodeo.
“We’d have been sitting there watching on Sunday if Junior hadn’t tried that fast shot instead of just catching,” Riley said of Nogueira’s no-time in AT&T Stadium. “Then the following week at Houston, I broke the barrier to win the round, which let him and Driggers make it back with a chance at $50,000. This is a game of inches.”