LAS VEGAS – By Ted Harbin – What looked like a slow National Finals Rodeo for Kyle Irwin turned out to be his best finale ever.
In fact, he earned nearly as much in 10 nights in Sin City as he did in his two previous NFRs combined. He placed in just four go-rounds, including the victory in Round 3; but consistency paid off big. He added $43,154 by placing third in the average with a cumulative time of 46.6 seconds on 10 runs.
In all, he pocketed more than $115,000 and left Las Vegas with $194,819 to conclude the season No. 5 in the world standings. That’s up six spots from where he started.
“I think there were a couple of opportunities I didn’t capitalize on, and there were a couple of times I caught some steers that might not have been catchable for most,” said Irwin, who had a 4.8-second run Saturday night to finish sixth in the 10th round. “This is what we train for; this is what we practice for. That is the most I’ve ever won here or a single year, so I’m grateful for that.
“I’m grateful for the opportunities I had. God is good.”
He did it all on the back of Scooter, the 2017 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year he co-owns with the world champion, Tyler Pearson. The two are traveling partners and good friends, and Scooter also carried Ty Erickson and Tyler Waguespack to big paydays. In fact, the four bulldoggers earned more than $458,000 on his back.
For that, Irwin earned $13,590 in mount money, a percentage of the earnings made by Erickson and Waguespack.
“It was funny when I put him up tonight,” Irwin said of Scooter. “All week it has taken him a little bit to drink water and act like he feels good. Tonight he rolled right away. He drank water and went straight to eating. He knew his job was done, and he knew he had done well.
“That was the biggest limb I’ve ever stepped out on to be a partner on that horse with Tyler. That horse has been the greatest investment I have ever made. The biggest blessing, as far as making money, is doing what I love.”