Gunslingers’ duel between John Douch and Shad Mayfield
Douch has spent the last couple of months just straight hustlin’. He fought his way off the NFR bubble with nearly $20,000 in earnings in the first two weeks of August, assuring him of his third-straight NFR appearance in December.
When he finally got home to Huntsville, Texas, in early September, he had to hustle just to ensure his name was on the Texas Circuit Finals Rodeo list, something he solidified during the final weekend of the circuit’s season with a fifth-place finish at Stephenville.
“It’s hard for us to get to our circuit rodeos,” Douch, 26, noted of himself and fellow competitors who are gone for several months, rodeoing for a shot at the Finals. “We have to try to get our rodeo count in before we go out for the summer.”
His ace-in-the-hole throughout the pressure-packed final months of rodeo’s regular season was his new horse “Pistol.
“I bought him from a guy in Florida,” Douch noted. “Randall Carlisle trained him. He sold him down there and then I got him.”
Douch started with Pistol at Dodge City in early August and finished out the season with him.
“He’s been pretty good,” Douch said. “I’ll have him at the Finals and I’ll take the horse I rode last year, Dumplin, [of Joe’s Beaver’s], too.”
In Waco, Douch was off the blocks early, splitting second in the first round behind Mayfield, 8-flat to 8.2 seconds. The slim margin set a theme that carried through the rest of the week.
Douch’s edge may have simply been the ability to sleep in his own bed each night of the four-round rodeo.
“Waco’s just about 30 minutes away, so I drove back and forth each day,” he said. “It’s great because I could rope during the day and didn’t have to catch up with all the stuff that needs to be done at home that you usually have to do after being on the road.”
A well-rested Douch got the edge in Round 2, winning second with a 7.8 while Mayfield settled for fourth with an 8.9. That round would prove the difference in the average two nights later, but first, the slugfest continued into Round 3.
Mayfield put down a run of 7.5 seconds, the fastest of the rodeo, looking like he’d cruise to the round win, but Douch matched his time to take a lead of just nine-tenths of a second into the final round.
There would be nothing unlucky about Friday the 13th for Douch. Though Mayfield won his third round with an 8.5, Douch matched punches, stopping the clock at 8.8. Though that run didn’t earn a check, it did seal the average win.
The final margin? Six-tenths of a second.
“I drew four really good calves and won four really good checks,” Douch said, downplaying the fantastic roping that secured him a berth to next summer’s NFR Open.
Douch earned an eye-popping $9,401—money, incidentally, that counts towards the 2024 PRCA RAM World Standings—but Mayfield actually earned more. The 2020 World Champion collected $10,231.
“He roped good,” Douch said of the back-and-forth title fight. “It’s always great to rope against someone who is roping so well and to come out on top.
“Shad and I definitely drew the top end of the calves.”
Douch returned on Saturday night during the Heart O’Texas Fair & Rodeo, a chute-out style rodeo, and picked up another $1,645 towards his fourth NFR in 2024.
Speaking from the practice pen on Monday, Oct. 16, Douch said he’s excited for the chance to rope in Colorado Springs at the NFR Open next summer and is hard at work prepping for big upcoming events.
“We’re right back to it,” he laughed. “There’s lots of money to be won coming up, so it’s hard to give it a break.”
After competitions like Shane Hanchey’s Invitational Roping and the Cinch Roping Fiesta in San Angelo, Douch will focus on prepping for the NFR.
“It’ll be my usual routine, but we’ll work on the quick setups,” he explained. “Try to practice how we rope at the Finals, two swings and get it on them.”
Douch finished 13th in the world standings with $115,054 won on the season.