Former Garden City Community College bareback rider Casey Colletti has had a meteoric rise in his craft in the past three years.
Colletti has reached the National Finals Rodeo the past two seasons and is 11th in the current PRCA standings going into Wednesday night's first performance of the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo at Roundup Arena. The Pueblo rider has four wins under his belt this year: outright titles in Ogden, Utah, and Belton, Texas; and co-titles in two Colorado rodeos.
"I was just drawing better horses," Colletti said before Wednesday's performance in the Dodge City Roundup Rodeo. "The better horses you draw, the better you can score. You want to draw the best horse you can and I've had a lot of good luck in that lately."
That good luck continued for him in Las Vegas at the NFR. Colletti won the ninth round in 2011 on the way to finishing fifth in the world; and came back in 2012 to win the fifth round and place 11th in the final season standings.
"It was a crazy whirlwind deal. It was a great feeling to be considered one of the top five in the world that year is kind of surreal." Colletti said about his 2011 campaign. "In Vegas, there's lights and everyone knows Vegas . It's like the first game of an 10-game World Series or Super Bowl in front of 18 to 20,000 people there. It's a goal that every cowboy strives for and it's tough to describe that feeling when you get there."
Colletti scored a 75 at Roundup Arena and is currently tied for sixth place. Although there are three performances left and the chances of him making Sunday's championship short-go are limited, Colletti said just getting the chance to get back to what he had called home was enough of a reason for the trip to Dodge City.
"I know a lot of people out here," Colletti said. "The coaches at Garden City Community College are coming out tonight and it's great to see them since I've moved on. It's pretty nice to be close to home."