ARLINGTON, Texas – Orin Larsen is third in the bareback riding world standings, and he had high hopes of finishing this National Finals Rodeo with the world championship.
His chances now are very slim heading into the final night of the season, but he’s still enjoying his time at Globe Life Field in Arlington. Tim O’Connell and Kaycee Field are in a tight battle for that Montana Silversmiths gold buckle, and it will come down to Saturday’s Round 10 to see what happens.
“I’m probably out of the world title, but I’m just here having fun,” said Larsen of Inglis, Manitoba, now living in Gering, Nebraska.
He rode Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Cactus Black for 83.5 points to finish sixth in Friday’s ninth round to pocket $4,231. It’s the bottom payment for placing at the NFR, but it’s still good.
“The land payment needs to be paid, so we are going to make every check I get count; it might have been better if I was living up in Canada, about a couple hundred thousand by the time I get out of there,” he said with a laugh. “I really underestimated that horse. He is just a cute little stud horse, but he really fired out of the chute and really meant it.”
Larsen has pushed his NFR earnings to $64,788 and has an annual salary $146,180 with a big chance to add to it in the 10th round. He sits fifth in the average race with a cumulative score of 741.5 points on nine rides. If he stays there when the NFR concludes, he’ll add a bonus of $22,846.
“I think it’s just coming down to a drawing contest,” Larsen said, referring to the cowboys being matched with their broncs by a random draw. “Everybody is just riding really good and really strong. Even with (Thursday) night and how things went with guys hitting the ground, they came back stronger. Everyone is mad and hungry, and you are going to see that (Saturday), too.”
No matter what happens in the arena, he has the support he needs with his wife, Alexa. There is intense pressure to perform well, especially at ProRodeo’s premier event.
“That woman does not get enough credit,” Larsen said. “She has helped me in every way possible to make my week better. She pretty much pampers me while I’m here. Without her, I’m definitely nobody.”
As a six-time NFR qualifier, he’s definitely somebody, and rodeo fans know it.