Full of Firsts: John Douch Clinches First-Ever Round Win in NFR Round 1
John Douch bags first-ever go-round win at the 2023 Wrangler NFR with a 7.7-second run.
In Round 1, John Douch gets his first-ever go-round win on his third trip to the Wrangler NFR.
In Round 1, John Douch gets his first-ever go-round win ever on his third trip to the Wrangler NFR. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Who won 2023 NFR Round 1 NFR tie-down roping?

On his third trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, John Douch captured his first go-round win with a 7.7-second run in Round 1 on Dec. 8, winning $30,706 on new horse “Pistol.”

“I got a very good start; I had a good calf but I didn’t tie very good, so I didn’t know what to expect,” Douch, 26, said. “As the third guy out, I didn’t think that would end first.”

Douch’s slower, red calf was from the pen deemed “medium” by event rep Shane Hanchey. He nailed the barrier, roped and flanked the bovine, which he called ‘dead handling.’ Douch is known for being a handy flanker—a skill he says he honed over years of roping with eight-time World Champion and ProRodeo Hall of Famer Joe Beaver.

“Joe had me roping a little bit of everything,” Douch said. “It was good to rope with him on calves that aren’t good to get by to prepare myself for runs like this. I adjusted to the situation to make it work. I didn’t string very good, but I’ve been in that situation before, so I just slowed down and made sure I tied well.”

Douch’s new ride

Douch purchased gray gelding “Pistol” in August after struggling with lameness problems throughout his regular string.

“When I got him to try, I drove all the way home overnight with my girlfriend, ran about five calves on him, then drove to Dodge City and placed at Dodge,” Douch explained. “I won like $15,000 that week and ended up buying him. He’s been really good to me. I already have a good amount of money won on him for 2024 so I’m excited to ride the next nine rounds on him.”

Some of that 2024 money came from the Texas Circuit Finals, where Douch and Pistol ended up Average Champions, winning $9,401.

The next nine rounds

Douch said he was looking forward to going to the South Point Hotel and receiving his Round 1 buckle from mentor Beaver, noting Beaver was likely to be more excited than he is.

“I am going to build off this first-round win, and I plan to score good, rope, flank and tie better,” Douch said.

For Round 2, the tie-down ropers will be facing off with the ‘big’ pen of calves.

Stay tuned to Calfroping.com for calf reports, exclusive interviews and stories about the horses that make this event go ‘round thanks to support from Rattler Rope.

2023 NFR Round 1 tie-down results

1. John Douch, 7.7 seconds, $30,706

2. Blane Cox, 7.9, $24,268

3. (tie) Ty Harris and Westyn Hughes, 8.4, $15,601 each

5. (tie) Cory Solomon and Riley Mason Webb, 8.7, $6,438 each.