LAS VEGAS – Tyrell Smith and Carr Pro Rodeo’s Cool Runnings have a lot in common.
Both were born in Canada and live the nomad life that is rodeo. They’re both in the City of Lights this week, competing at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the first time each.
Oh, and they came together quite well on Thursday night to win the saddle bronc riding title during the eighth go-round of the 2012 championship. The combination was worth 84 points, and it provided Smith with a paycheck of $18,257.
“First four jumps kind of scared me,” Smith said of the ride. “I had to take him squatting down; it wasn’t the best shot at that horse. Pete (Carr) told me that if you mess with him too much, he’ll get worse.
“I just kind of took a bad shot at him, and hoped it was going to work out. When I spurred him out, he hated me and tried to throw me off. I kept swinging for the fences, and it worked.”
Carr, who owns the Dallas-based livestock company, purchased Cool Runnings from Dale Woodward, who owns Outlaw Buckers, a Canadian livestock producer. Now the 10-year-old black gelding is helping cowboys earn their keep in the sport they love.
Thursday’s ride was the second time Cool Runnings has helped cowboys at the NFR. He matched moves with Sterling Crawley for 80.5 points in the third round, which was good enough for sixth place; Crawley earned $2,945. Another NFR qualifier, Jake Wright, won the rodeo in Window Rock, Ariz., with an 88-point ride.
“He’s pretty fast and a little stronger than I expected,” Smith said. “He’s just a good bucking horse. I’ve had people tell me I set my feet pretty hard, and I guess I must. Because every time I set my feet, I could feel him ball up and kick harder. He just felt like he was getting stronger. It worked out better than I thought it was going to.
Cool Runnings was the second Carr horse to guide a cowboy to the first-place prize, joining veteran River Boat Annie, who guided reigning world champion Kaycee Feild to a share of the second-round win. The tandem posted an 86.5.
“She’s been good for I don’t know how long,” Feild said of the 11-year-old red roan mare, who is at the NFR for the eighth time; she was the reserve world champion bareback horse in 2007. “I had never been on that horse. All my traveling partners have been on her a number of times, and I was just happy to see my name on the draw next to her.
“She’s constantly strong. She never changes up. She always has that consistent power, which is awesome, because you send feet as high as you want and set them as hard as you can. It seems like she’s in the air so high that you can set your feet, and you’re waiting for her to hit the ground, and you’re thinking about what you’re going to do the next jump. It’s all smooth. There’s never a real snatch or a real jerk, and she never hits the ground real hard. That’s just a fun one to get on.”