If good things come in threes, Matt Sherwood and Walt Woodard hope a victory in Omaha, Neb., was the first of three big victories this season.
The cowboys won the ProRodeo Tour Summer Finale in September in Omaha, and currently sit atop the world standings, ready to make a run for another victory in Dallas at the ProRodeo Tour Championship. If successful, the team ropers will be in the driver's seat for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and a pair of gold buckles.
"Dallas is huge," Woodard said. "If we can win Dallas and get ahead (in the standings) $20,000-25,000, that's a nice cushion going into the NFR."
Of course, winning in Dallas won't be easy. Sherwood and Woodard have plenty of stiff competition, including David Key and Kory Koontz, reigning World Champions Clay Tryan and Patrick Smith and Trevor Brazile and Rich Skelton.
But Sherwood and Woodard got a healthy boost of self confidence after winning in Omaha, something they hope they can capitalize on.
"Without a doubt, it has to help," Sherwood said. "It helps give you confidence that you can win, confidence that you will win. We have to go and do the same thing we've done all year and not worry about catching up to anyone or about doing anything differently."
It was Speed Williams and Clay O'Brien Cooper who took home the hardware in Tulsa, Okla., in May after winning the first Tour Finale, the Pace Picante ProRodeo Chute-Out. They'll be in Dallas as well, fighting Sherwood and Woodard for their second cup in one season.
Sherwood and Woodard know all their competition will give them a run for their money. Both ropers said they expect to see good runs and fast times in Dallas, a precursor of sorts to the Wrangler NFR.
Less than $10,000 separates the fifth and 15th-ranked team ropers in the world standings, so the final weeks before the Wrangler NFR, including the Tour Championship, will be of the utmost importance in sorting out the ranks and determining who will make it to Las Vegas.
Headers Shain Sproul, Matt Funk and Brazile and heelers Cody Hintz, Jhett Johnson and Bucky Campbell are among those who will compete in Dallas and are in the tight-knit race for an NFR berth. They'll be looking for wins to boost their bottom lines and secure a trip to the Wrangler NFR.
2006 Pace Picante ProRodeo Challenge Event Previews