Feather River College former rodeo rider, Clayton Biglow, is competing for his sixth time in the NFR championships in Las Vegas. Friday night Dec. 3, he rode Bridwell Pro Rodeo’s Meat Sweats for 85 points to finish in a tie for fourth place in the second round of the National Finals Rodeo. It was sweet justice after suffering a low score on opening night to find himself at the pay window worth $9,144.
“When things don’t go your way in Round 1, you realize you’ve got nine more rounds,” said Biglow, the 2019 world champion bareback rider from Clements. “You’ve just got to forget about it. If you get so down on yourself, it’s going to be a long week.”
With experience comes wisdom. Biglow has learned a great deal over time. This is his sixth straight NFR, and he’s seen the highs and lows that come with competing in a humbling sport. Two Decembers ago, he left Las Vegas with nearly $250,000 earned in just 10 days and a Montana Silversmiths gold buckle. Last year in Arlington, Texas, he won the fifth round and placed just three other nights.
“Last year taught me a lot,” Biglow said. “You just learn to keep going at them like nothing’s going wrong.” He did that on Meat Sweats, which comes from the Bridwell outfit based in Red Bluff, California. “I know a lot about that horse,” said Biglow, who sits No. 4 in the world standings with eight nights remaining in the ProRodeo campaign. “I’ve seen him a whole lot, but I’ve never been on him. He’s pretty hard to ride and has a lot of direction changes. He was dang sure a good one to have in any pen. He’s pretty. It felt good. It wasn’t like I had fun on him, but it felt good to be 85 and get a check.”
It was also a good warm-up for the following night’s “Eliminator Pen,” which features the toughest-to-ride broncs in bareback riding. Biglow is matched up with Showstopper, a big, bay gelding from Frontier Rodeo. The two matched up for 90 points to win Round 8 of the 2019 NFR. It will be the fourth time the two titans have been matched together in Biglow’s career.
“I plan to repeat that last time when we won the round together,” he said. “This is the pen of bucking horses that separates the boys from the men.”
A season ago, the NFR moved to Texas because of the pandemic restrictions. The return to Las Vegas has been heralded by many in rodeo, including the young California cowboy.
“It feels great to be back,” Biglow said. “Being in Texas was awesome and they treated us great, but it’s pretty hard to beat Vegas. Every contestant that’s here today has probably grown up watching the NFR at the Thomas & Mack.
“It feels good to be back to our roots.”