Bring It On: Mayfield’s Back and Ready to Battle After 6.9 in Round 4
Shad Mayfield broke the ice in Round 4 with a 6.9-second run, matching world standings leader Riley Webb's Round 3 time.
Shad Mayfield cashes his first check of the 2023 NFR with a Round 4 win.
Shad Mayfield cashes his first check of the 2023 NFR with a Round 4 win. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Who won 2023 NFR Round 4 NFR tie-down roping?

Following rocky performances in the first three go-rounds of the 2023 Wrangler NFR, Shad Mayfield regrouped and struck in Round 4 with a 6.9-second time, matching Riley Webb’s winning Round 3 time and earning $30,706.

“I knew I was on course to be 6.4, 6.5, but I had a bobble in my string and just had to keep moving in that moment,” Mayfield, 23, said. “That’s what I’ve always been good at—just keep moving and keep hustling. When I looked up and saw the 6.9, I thought, ‘Yeah I’ll take that.’”

Mayfield explained that he’d been “trying to rope like someone else” the first three nights, holding the saddle horn to leave the box and being tense. Tonight, he reverted to holding his rope under the arm and having fun—something that’s been tough in NFR’s past.

“Redemption feels awesome,” Mayfield, 23, said. “At past NFR’s I’ve let things get to me and drag me down, but today I took a day off, canceled all my signings and recovered from being sick these past couple of days.”

The 2020 World Champion had his friend and eight-time tie-down World Champion Fred Whitfield in his ear, too.

“When I make it fun, stuff like this happens,” Mayfield said. “It’s taken me a while to get here, but Fred reminded me last night, ‘You’ve just got to have fun.’

“You’ve got to think positive. That’s something I’ve slacked on: not thinking positive, especially about the draw. If you have a bad calf, you’ve just got to run down there and get by those calves until you draw a good one.”

Play-by play

Mayfield roped in 10.0 seconds in Round 1, 9.0 seconds in Round 2 and no-timed in Round 3.

“I get so nervous and, like Round 3 in the box, I got in my head and that’s my biggest downfall,” Mayfield said. “I’m just 23 years old, so I’ve got a long way to go, but training my mind is my main priority from here on out.”

Shad Mayfield dismounts from mare "Lollipop" in Round 4.
Shad Mayfield dismounts from mare “Lollipop” in Round 4. Photo by Jamie Arviso

Round 4 lined out with calf 32, noted to have medium speed and be weaker on the ground, and on whom Ty Harris scored an 8.4-second run.

“I was really excited to run this calf,” Mayfield said. “She ran a really good pattern, and I knew she’d take a wrap and a hooey. It was the one I needed to bounce back from Round 3.”

After aggressively roping and stopping his calves in Round 1 and 2, Mayfield planned to turn calf 32 around and save time picking her up off the ground, especially considering she wasn’t likely to be trouble at the end of the rope. He bobbled his tie, but the momentum of the run took over and he finished before the clock struck 7.0 seconds.

Sweet Lollipop

Mayfield’s mount for the NFR has been 13-year-old bay mare “Lollipop,” registered as Figure To Fly.

“She’s a mare I bought the summer, and I’d never ridden her in a building or anything like this,” Mayfield explained. “I wasn’t planning on riding her, but something happened to my good horse “Harry” that I won Sioux Falls on. He was my original plan. Lollipop’s been so awesome and has really surprised me.”

Mindset and gameplan

With this win under his belt, Mayfield’s gunning for winning every single go-round left of the NFR.

“I’m not in the average and Riley’s got a big lead, but we’re coming,” Mayfield said. “I thought I was out of the world race last night, but I was thinking about it coming over here and anything can happen. I know I can overcome anything.”

NFR coverage brought to you by Rattler Rope.