A potential win in North Platte will get Blake Chauvin farther down the road.
The Raceland, Louisiana, cowboy had a time of 7.8 seconds in the tie-down roping during the third night of the Buffalo Bill Rodeo, tying him for the lead.
He rode a 13-year-old sorrel mare named Sister, who he purchased a year ago. The mare has been a blessing, he said.
"She always works good, scores good, stops and pulls," Chauvin said.
Sister has her moments, though.
"She’s a nag," he said. "She can be mean sometimes, and sometimes she’s just the coolest horse to be around. It’s mood swings, I guess."
The 19-year-old Chauvin began pro rodeo as soon as high school was over. He’s rodeoing full-time, and a check from the Buffalo Bill will help get him farther along.
But, rodeo was not his first love.
His granddad, Ridley Chauvin, was a tie-down roper and wanted his grandson to rope. Blake wasn’t interested, choosing football instead. When he was 14, he got on a good horse and picked up a rope, and was hooked.
"Grandpa roped calves all his life, and growing up, he always wanted me to rope. I didn’t want to rope at first. I just wanted to play football," he said. "(Once I started) I’ve loved it since."
Chauvin did well through the winter, rodeoing in the southeastern part of the U.S. The summer has been slow, though.
"I’ve had a little rough start to the summer," he said.
The potential win in North Platte will get him started.
"I had to get things going," he said.
Like many other cowboys, Chauvin would someday like to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and be like 24-time world champion Trevor Brazile.
"That’s everybody’s goal, to be the next Trevor Brazile. He’s a great guy. That’s every cowboy’s dream, to be like him," he said.
And the first phone call he makes after he’s done roping is to his granddad and grandma Joanna.
"He tells me to call him as soon as I’m done roping," Chauvin said.
Chauvin sends videos of his runs to Joanna, who shows the videos to Ridley — because Ridley’s phone is a flip phone.