It’s not his first rodeo – and at CFR43 tie-down roper Al Bouchard will be wearing two hats; one as a competitor, the other as a board member of the CPRA where he will be attending planning sessions and meetings.
“That gets old in a hurry,” he laughs. “But we [CPRA board] have some extremely good stuff coming down the pipe,” he says. “I’m lucky enough that I have some pretty good friends who keep me in the right frame of mind.”
As a competitor, Bouchard has qualified for the CFR sixteen times and in 2016, he did it with an injured hand and a new horse. Still, you might think with that many trips to the Finals it might get old.
“No,” says Bouchard. “Not for me anyway.”
Back in late summer it looked like he didn’t have a chance of getting here again. He wasn’t winning like he needed to, and he wasn’t getting along too well with his good rope mare, Delilah.
“I think it was the Aug. 1 weekend; I looked at the standings and I think I was 25th,” explains Bouchard. “I told myself, ‘I’m going to make a change in my horsepower.’ I had a really good horse with unbelievable ability, but I just wasn’t getting along with her and wasn’t winning as much as I needed to,” he says. “It just happened to be that a friend of mine [TDR] Murray Pole, trained a really good horse [from a colt] and he wasn’t getting along with his horse as good as he wanted to so he needed to make a change – so we traded horses. I got Murray’s horse, Bo, and he got my mare, Delilah.”
Since the “Big Swap,” Bouchard injured his hand but started to win – enough to shoot him from being ranked 25th, to the number two spot. “That tells you how good a horse he is,” says Bouchard.
“I saw this horse when he was four years old and I wanted to own him then,” he says. “He’s 14 now; I’ve been [secretly] trying to buy him for 10 years,” laughs Bouchard. “Murray did an exceptional job with Bo and Murray loves this horse so it wasn’t an easy decision for him to make the deal. But if it wasn’t for this horse I wouldn’t be at the CFR at all.”