Tracking a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo contestant’s movements during the 10-day rodeo would be a tall task for even a team of surveillance experts.
From workouts and visits to livestock pens to see their horses to autograph sessions, lunches and public appearances, they scurry around Las Vegas like a hyper kid most days. It’s all part of being a professional rodeo contestant these days, and it can be a grind that’s as tough for them as competing each night in the Thomas & Mack Center.
Some might view all of the activity as a chore, but three-time World Champion Bareback Rider Kaycee Feild is not one of them. I caught up with him at an autograph session he was doing at the local Harley-Davidson dealership southeast of Mandalay Bay on The Strip, where he spent an hour signing autographs, posing for photos with fans and chatting with anyone who stopped by.
It was the second of three appearances Feild will make at the dealership – Saturday from noon-1 will be the final one – and he was having fun with the dozens of visitors who gravitated to him during the hour-long session. While it can be taxing to be in such high demand all the time, Feild has embraced it and enjoys interacting with fans.
“I’m having a blast,” said Feild, who leads the bareback riding standings heading into Round 7. “I’m not stressing about one thing at all, and these signings are fun for me. It’s fun to see people I haven’t seen for a long time, and it’s neat to see that I’ve touched somebody and put a smile on their face.”
Feild isn’t your typical Wrangler NFR contestant. He’s a bonafide superstar who is one of the faces of the sport of ProRodeo, and he understands his role as ambassador for the sport he grew up in.
“I’m a very blessed young man because of the opportunities that have come with success,” said Feild, the son of three-time World Champion All-Around Cowboy Lewis Feild. “It’s unbelievable it’s happened this fast, and I feel like I’ve handled it well, but there are things I’d like to get better at with the fans and TV and the interviews. You just have to stay humble and know what’s the right thing to do at the right time.”
The 25-year-old simply “gets it.” He knows that fans are the key to the success of rodeo.
“If it wasn’t for fans, the rodeo industry wouldn’t be going where it’s going and elevating every year,” Feild said. “Everything’s going up, and I think part of that is the interaction with the fans at FanFest, Cowboy Christmas and places like this. It’s really neat to see the rodeo industry growing the way it is, and I think it’s just going to keep on going.”
Feild’s schedule is borderline crazy during the Finals.
“I have at least have two (autograph) signings all 10 days, and I have a lot of television stuff in the mornings,” he said. “Most every day, I leave the hotel about 10 o’clock and go to the Convention Center or The Sands. I’m not saying I don’t like doing it, but it takes a lot of energy to sign autographs for four or five hours a day.
“You try to make your way through the crowds as quickly as possible, and you see people you’d like to stop and talk to, but we’re getting paid to go and sign autographs for certain companies.”
Feild even prepared himself for the 10-day marathon by thinking about the appearances and interviews he knew would be waiting for him when he arrived in Las Vegas.
“Last year, I got really drained and was worn out, and every day I’d go back to the room and an hour nap just wasn’t enough,” Feild said. “This year, instead of just watching my rides, I’ve watched my interviews and have prepared myself mentally what to say or how to answer certain questions when asked, and it’s made it a lot easier. Preparation mentally is just as important for your event as it is for the signings.”
His approach to his craft and profession is admirable, and Feild takes everything into consideration when conducting himself as one of ProRodeo’s best cowboys and personalities. Fans simply love the guy, and I certainly can’t blame them.