LAS VEGAS – Time flies when a person is having fun.
The National Finals Rodeo has flown by for bareback Orin Larsen, who has had as much fun as anybody as he chases a world championship.
“I feel like three days ago was Dec. 1 when we showed up,” said Larsen, a five-time NFR qualifier from Inglis, Manitoba, now living in Gering, Nebraska. “I just try to slow everything down as much as I can. I need to remember to just enjoy it; it’s not going to last forever. There’s going to be a day when this is just going to be a memory for me. I’m going to enjoy it as much as I can as often as I can.”
He should. Over the course of the first seven rounds, he has placed on five nights, including the fourth-round victory. He has posted three rides of at least 90 points, with the most recent happening in Wednesday’s seventh round. He posted a 90-point ride on Big Stone Rodeo’s Mayhem to finish second, pocketing another $20,731.
Actually, Mayhem was Larsen’s second horse of the night. He was originally mounted on Kesler Rodeo’s Uptown Flash, but the paint didn’t have a good trip. Larsen took his re-ride opportunity and made the most of it.
“I don’t now what happened; the horse just had a bad day,” he said. “Tim (O’Connell) rode that horse and was 89.5. The re-ride worked out good.”
That’s a bit of an understatement. He has earned $80,231 through seven nights of ProRodeo’s grand finale and has pushed his season earnings to $253,673. He is No. 2 in the world standings behind leader Clayton Biglow, but Larsen is still very much in the world-title race with three rounds remaining in the 2019 season.
“When you are 90 points three times during the finals and only won one round, it’s a pretty salty bareback riding,” Larsen said. “It’s just a great group of guys. Everyone is just hammering horses and doing good. It’s so fun to see. When you get to see everyone riding this good, there’s nothing more fun.”