LAS VEGAS – The pain was so intense, saddle bronc rider Tyrel Larsen wasn’t sure how to deal with it at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
“In the E pen, I had (the horse) Awesome of Wayne Vold, and he split my tailbone on the edge of my cantle,” Larsen said of the “eliminator” pen, the toughest-to-ride bucking horses in rodeo. “It don’t feel good, so I had to figure something out. I thought I could tough it out (Thursday) night, but there was no way.”
He stayed on JK Rodeo’s Dakota Babe during Thursday’s eighth round, but the sharp pain was overwhelming. He consulted with the Justin Sportsmedicine Team so they could arrive at a remedy for the final two nights of the 2015 ProRodeo season.
The Inglis, Manitoba, cowboy rode Harry Vold Rodeo’s Pilot Point for 79.5 points during the ninth round on Friday and collected an $11,000 fourth-place check.
“The sports med guys figured something out,” he said. “They put together some impact gel to take some of the pressure off tonight, and it felt really good. I couldn’t even feel it.”
It showed in his ride. Larsen – who attended Oklahoma Panhandle State University on a rodeo scholarship and lives in Weatherford, Okla., with his wife, Chaney – matched moves with the athletic sorrel across the Thomas & Mack Center dirt.
“It was a really nice horse for the pen she was in,” Larsen said. “She gets a lot of guys off in that third jump out of the chute. I had my padding and my tape job figured out a little better than (Thursday), so it felt good.”
He will conclude his season and his first appearance at the NFR on Saturday and will be matched with Flying 5 Rodeo’s Spring Planting, which has guided many of the world’s greatest bronc riders to big checks.
“All the best horses in the world are out then,” he said. “There’s not a bad draw in the pen. Everybody can get something you can be in the high 80s on.”
Larsen has earned $26,654 so far at the NFR, and he has a chance to nearly double it with a first-place finish during the 10th round. It would be the perfect way to end what has been a somewhat frustrating finale.
“You can’t be mad about it,” Larsen said. “I didn’t have the best finals in the world, but it’s definitely not bad and it’s definitely a learning experience. I learned how to relax a little bit and have fun instead of trying to be 90 every time.”
Those are valuable lessons for a rising star in the game.