Dec 6, 2021

Spot On

By Patrick Everson

Shane Hanchey is a timed-event guy. And a damn good one, at that, winning the PRCA tie-down roping world title in 2013, claiming the Wrangler NFR average crown in 2020, and qualifying for 12 straight NFRs – every one since 2010.

Tie-down roper Shane Hanchey, foreground, helps bull rider Josh Frost get his gloves right before a ride in Sunday night’s fourth go-round at the Wrangler NFR.

“I’m partial to Dustin Bouquet, because he’s a Louisiana guy like me. And I’ve always tried to help Sage Kimzey,” Hanchey said. “My family is in the rough-stock business, and my cousins were all bull riders who I watched when I was growing up.”

Hanchey said there’s a lot going on in the bucking chutes – much more than fans realize. All sorts of things can go wrong even before the cowboy nods his head to release the gate. Hanchey and several other cowboys – including steer wrestler Stetson Jorgensen and team roper Derrick Begay – serve as spotters, trying to keep things safe in the tight confines of the bucking chute.

That often means bracing the back and chest of the rider, keeping the rider from lurching forward in the event the bull bucks and throws its head back. A head-to-head collision with a bull is not something a human is going to win.

From left, NFR steer wrestler Stetson Jorgensen and NFR tie-down roper Shane Hanchey at the bull riding chutes. The two regularly help spot bull riders to keep them safe before the gate opens.

“I’m just making sure that when that bull bucks in the chute, that the riders stay safe until they nod their head. Then it’s up to them,” Hanchey said. “They need to be focused on their job in the arena. I just tell them, ‘I’m right here, I got you.’ And it’s not just if the bull bucks. If a bull leans on them, their leg could get smashed against the chute.”

It’s an important job, no question, but also one Hanchey relishes volunteering for, as it amps him up.

“I just like being back there. It gets my blood pumping,” he said. “I wish the bull riding was before the tie-down roping, because I’d be so pumped up to rope. It just gets your adrenaline going.”

And you can’t beat the vantage point.

“Oh yeah. It’s the best seat in the house. And it could be the worst seat in the house, too, depending on how it goes.”

But as long as Hanchey and his NFR peers have any say in the matter, it’s going to go just fine.