Willis gaining confidence at NFR

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LAS VEGAS – An athlete’s confidence can be a fragile thing.

Success builds confidence, and lack of success builds character. On Friday night, bull rider Tyler Willis of Wheatland, Wyo., showed his character with a 76-point bull ride on Andrews Rodeo’s Kill Creek, finishing sixth in the ninth go-round at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

Tyler Willis
Tyler Willis

It helped Willis add $3,005 to his pocketbook and pushed his NFR earnings to $7,813. It’s not an overwhelming total, but every little bit helps.

“My overall confidence is good right now,” said Willis, who has ridden two of his last three bulls – that’s a big step considering the Wyoming cowboy failed to score through the first six nights of ProRodeo’s championship event. “I’m just ready for tomorrow so I can finish it off, hopefully, with a big score.”

He’ll have his opportunity Saturday during the final night of the 2013 ProRodeo season. The 10th round will feature the very best bucking animals in the sport, so it should be quite electric inside the Thomas & Mack Center. Cowboys were awaiting results of the blind draw that matches them with their animal for Saturday night.

“I’m not worried about the draw,” he said. “They should be all the good ones you can be a bunch of points on.

“I’d really like to finish the NFR strong.”

If the beginning of Willis’ run at this championship was the cry of a lamb, he wants to leave Las Vegas roaring like the lion. The adjustment he made after the sixth night of competition seems to be working quite well – Willis had been pressing, he said, so he focused his attention to reacting instead. The tall bull rider has been letting his natural talent do the work.

“It’s not been the best experience, but it’s not the worst either,” Willis said. “It is what it is. I’d love to come out with the round win; that would be real exciting, and I’m looking forward to it.”


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