It was his seventh trip there, not the best, but competition sure got a run for their money.
Jake Long finally settled down Saturday evening fourth in the 2017 Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association team roping heeling standings.
Teamed with Luke Brown, the Coffeyville cowboy was eighth in the average at the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas.
Working together, the cowboys roped and stretched seven steers in 36.2-sconds at the ten go-round competition.
It was a slow start with a no-time in Round-1, and a tough finish, too. They were flagged out also in Rounds-9 and 10
Their best run of the rodeo, was Saturday evening, Dec. 9, when Long and Brown won the third go-round. In 3.9 seconds, they each added $26,230 to their pocketbooks.
Prestige-wise and not far off dollar-wise, the cowboys split first and second the next night with Kory Koontz and Dustin Egusquiza. The Sunday Round-5, with matching 4.1-seconds runs, put $23,480 in the bank for each cowboy.
Round-8 had close semblance to four nights earlier when Long and Brown again stretched their steer in 4.1-seconds. That once more split first and second in the go-round, this time with Jade Corkill and Clay Tryan.
Connection was successfully made in Round-2, when the team’s 4.8-sconds placed fifth, for $6,769.
The 4.7-seconds Round-7 run split fourth and fifth with Junior Nogueria and Kaleb Driggers. Each of the four cowboys collected $8,884.
A 9.6-seconds run was out of the money for Long in Round-5, as was the 5-flat in Round-6.
Final tallies showed Long with $208,274 in annual winnings. Header Brown went to a few more rodeos, still ending the year fourth as well though with $216,803.
With Brown, Long won Rounds-2 and 6, and placed in six go-rounds to be sixth at last year’s NFR. His third place yearend heeler standings totaled $225,091.
Long, roping with Coleman Proctor, was sixth in 2015 world standings with $188,555. Also with Proctor heading, Long ended 2014, collecting $150,574, also third best in the world.
Roping with header Travis Trayn, Long was 16th in the world in 2013, and 13th in 2012.
Brady Tryan was heading for Long in 2011 and 2010, when he ended the years, ninth, and sixth respectively.
Roping with header Proctor, Long ranked 43rd, 39th and 24th in the world, respectively the three previous years.
He also won the National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Pocatello, Idaho, with Colt Braden in 2007.
Highlights of 2017 for Long included winning Gladewater, Texas; Texarkana, Arkansas; Burlington, Colorado; and Santa Maria, California.
The 6-foot, 205-pound has been married to his wife Tasha since 2005. They have two daughters, Haven, eight, and Haizlee, five.
“Those girls are my biggest fans,” Long posted on Facebook, as they were ready to cheer him on in Round 8.
Driving back to Kansas, Long reflected on 10 days in Vegas. “I feel very fortunate. I was honored to carry the Kansas flag once again,” he said. “Overall, we had great finals, and Luke did a super job heading for me.
“My girls loved winning rounds so they could be on stage. It’s been a blessing,” Long insisted. “Congrats to all of the winners. Thank you to everyone for all the calls, texts, prayers and support.
“I have a great team of family, friends and sponsors who help me live my dream,” Long appreciated. “Now taking few days off to spend Christmas with family, then back to the road, looking forward to 2018.
“Those curious if I went to zip line, why yes I did,” Long admitted. “My daughter is much braver than me though.”