Dec 26, 2011 7:16 PM by Andy Koen

Pueblo rodeo star cashes in at NFR

Casey Colletti doesn't have much to say about his time at the National Finals Rodeo. His brief response, "it's been awesome," may sum up what a whirlwind season it's been.

"It's hard explain," Colletti said. "To watch it on TV every year to then being there and watching myself on TV now ... reliving it, it's tough to explain."

This was the 26 year old Pueblo native's first trip to compete in Las Vegas. From seeing the yellow bucking shoots up-close to preparing for competition in a locker room with world champs, Colletti says the events leading up to the competition were surreal.

"There world champions sitting to my left and my right and across, it was pretty wild, it was neat."

But somehow, everything seemed to settle down when it was time to compete.

"My motor inside was going 150 miles an hour, but once I climbed over in the bucking shoot with the horse it was kind of like business," Colletti said.

Casey won the ninth of 10 rounds of bareback riding at the rodeo earning him a belt buckle that he hasn't taken off. He also hauled in over $80,000 in prize money, enough to rank him as 5th best rider in the world, not bad for his first trip to the NFR. But casey says he's not finished

"Hopefully next year it's a little bit higher up, four spots higher and win the gold buckle, win the world," Colletti said.

He doesn't have long to celebrate because the 2012 pro rodeo season is already underway. Casey will ride next on January 14th and 15th at the National Western Stock Show in Denver.

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