Area cowboy among the best in the world
Four might be Nick Guy’s lucky number, but he’s looking for Number One this year.
Guy is ranked fourth in the world for steer wrestling, and he’s headed to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas next month for the third time in a row.
The National Finals Rodeo (NFR) is to rodeo what the Superbowl is to football, and what Daytona is to NASCAR. It’s a huge deal, and Guy, a 2003 Sparta High School graduate, has hit this achievement three times now.
Over $10 million will be doled out to the best cowboy athletes in the world over a 10-day span beginning Dec. 3.
The NFR, sponsored by Wrangler, features the top 15 contestants in bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping (headers and heelers), saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding, all based on money won during the regular season.
Guy says he’s got the physique for steer wrestling, which is also known as bulldogging. In a nutshell, a horse-mounted rider chases a steer, drops from the horse to the steer and wrestles it to the ground, competing for the best time.
“I feel like I’m at the level now where I can win,” said Guy, who admits he was pretty nervous in 2010, the first year he qualified for the NFR.
In 2014, Guy won the first round at the NFR with a time of 3.6 seconds, and made Wisconsin history.
“It was the first time a timed-event cowboy from Wisconsin has won a round in the NFR,” said Guy’s mother, Diane Matousek.
In 2014 and 2015, Guy was ranked fourth going in. Guy’s football jersey while playing for Sparta High School was number four. During his junior hockey career, his number was four.
“I drew steer number four at Calgary [Stampede] and I placed fourth on the 4th of July with a time of 4.0,” noted Guy.
While that’s a neat coincidence, Number One is the placement Guy is striving for, and he did just that at another notable rodeo. Called “The Daddy of Them All”, Guy took home first place at Cheyenne Frontier Days this past summer. He also won the Wrangler Champions Challenge Finale in Omaha, NE; the Omak Stampede in WA; and the Buffalo Bill Rodeo in North Platte, NE.
All of these wins helped secure Guy a spot at the NFR.
“You have to stay in the top 15 throughout the year, and every dollar counts,” explained Guy.
As a professional rodeo cowboy since 2006, Guy has earned over half a million dollars, most of which is put right back into the sport through travel, equipment and horse care for his equine partner, Tucker, who has been with him since the beginning.
When Tucker became injured during a rodeo, Guy used Roonie, a horse belonging to Guy’s traveling partner Cody Kroul.
“He really changed the game for me,” said Guy, who rode Roonie in last year’s finals. “I’m more confident now. I expect to do good, and I look forward to riding Roonie there again. I feel like I can vie for a world championship this year.”
Through all of his travels, Guy has called Sparta home and competed in the Great Lakes Circuit. He recently became engaged to his longtime girlfriend, Erin Ferries, also of Sparta, and the couple has since moved to Colorado where his fiancée will put her recently obtained PhD to good use.
More training opportunities and rodeos are an added bonus, and Guy will compete in the Mountain States Circuit for the 2016 season, which already has begun.
Guy still plans to visit his hometown and family during this hunting season, but then it will be back to work, as the NFR begins Dec. 3. The rodeo will be televised on CBS Sports.
He will have a large cheering section in the stands. His father, Mark and stepmother, Mary, of Colby, will be there, as will his mom and stepdad, John, of Black River Falls; siblings; and former stepfather, Arlan Brooks of rural Sparta, whom he credits with introducing him to rodeo.