COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. — In these days of high gas prices, if you're a cowboy who opts to embark on a 30-hour drive to a rodeo, well, you're going to have to make it pay off with a strong performance. Tie-down roper Haven Meged did just that Friday at the Redding (California) Rodeo.

Meged, traveling with Quade Hiatt, left Stephenville, Texas, on Wednesday night and rolled into Redding on Friday morning. Then Meged split third and fourth in both go-rounds, clocking 8.3 seconds and 8.1 seconds, respectively.

That was worth about $2,400. But Meged's combined 16.4 seconds topped the two-round average, netting another $3,743 at the stop on the NFR Playoff Series presented by Pendleton Whisky. Pocketing $7,100 or so can help take the sting off that gas bill.

"It was a long drive from Texas, for sure," an exhausted Meged said Sunday afternoon, after completing the long haul back home. "But it was a good weekend. All the calves were amazing. The whole deal was making sure you scored, keeping those calves on their feet.

"It's no different than any other rodeo. You want to be as close to the barrier as possible, and as long as you don't make mistakes after that, you're gonna win a lot of money."

Meged's efforts kept a solid season going. He's cleared $53,000 so far this year and sits sixth in the PRCA world standings. Meged, whose hometown is Miles City but who now lives in Stephenville, Texas, already has a gold buckle to his credit, from his stellar 2019 rookie season, and he took second in the world last year.

"I was pleased with that win and glad we could keep climbing and keep pushing toward that NFR back number," Meged said. "I feel good right now. Other than my rookie year, this is the most money I've won going into the summer. The biggest deal is to keep my head down, don't look up, and we'll see where we're at Oct. 1 (the PRCA regular season ends Sept. 30)."

Almost assuredly, Meged will once again find himself very much in the tie-down world championship hunt come Oct. 1. But he's trying not to look too far down the road.

"I'm just trying to have fun out there. Everybody has highs and lows, and it's stressful out here," Meged said, particularly alluding to those nasty fuel costs — elevating the need to make it back to Las Vegas for the NFR. "Everything relies on those 10 days, if you're gonna make or break your season."

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