LAS VEGAS – Most people can’t imagine jumping off a fast-running horse onto a fast-running steer, but Tyler Pearson makes his living doing it.
So far through two nights of business at the National Finals Rodeo, he has done quite well. He’s finished second both the opening nights of this year’s championship and has earned $51,462 – that’s at least $10,000 more than he earned the entire 10 days of his first NFR trip in 2013.
“It’s been good, and I’ve been fortunate to draw good and get two good starts,” said Pearson of Louisville, Miss. “I sure don’t want to stop at all. It’s a good time to get greedy.”
That’s important, because rodeo isn’t just how he pays bills. In this sport, dollars equal points, and the contestants in each event with the most money won at the end of the NFR will be crowned world champions. He sits No. 2 in the world standings with $161,380 and trails the leader, Ty Erickson, by less than $12,000.
Of course, he is getting a lot of help from Scooter, a 12-year-old sorrel gelding he owns with friend and traveling partner Kyle Irwin. Scooter, the 2017 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, guided three cowboys to paydays on Friday night’s second round – Pearson, Irwin (tied for third) and reigning world champion Tyler Waguespack (sixth).
“They said that steer was pretty decent,” Pearson said. “I just caught up fast, and that steer was really good on the ground. This horse let me get my feet on the ground. The faster you get your feet on the ground, the faster you can get that steer turned on his side to give yourself a good time.
“You can’t do any work until your feet are on the ground.”
With Erickson also riding the talented sorrel, there are a lot of chances for cowboys to cash in on his back.
“I’m sure glad the horse is doing good,” Pearson said. “That’s a lot of runs, but I know he can handle it. He’s done it all summer. It’s gong to be a long 10 days, but I think it’s going to be worth it.”
Pearson handles the hazing duties for the other three, riding his solid hazing horse, Metallica. When it’s time for him to make a run, he leans on Irwin, just as the two have done through the year to make it this far.
“This is Kyle’s first time to haze here, but I never batted an eye about making that decision to have him haze for me,” Pearson said. He’s hazed for me so much that he’s over there on go. We read each other a lot and know what we’re both thinking.
“That’s why I feel like we do good together. We talk, so if something goes wrong, we talk about it and work it out right there.”
Everything seems to be working out right now, and he has eight more nights to get as greedy as he can.