ATOKA, Okla. – The sloppy conditions at the Atoka ProRodeo may have muddied Tyler Pearson’s clothes over the weekend, but it didn’t dull the shine on his gold buckle.
Originally from Louisville, Mississippi, Pearson and his family moved to this southeastern Oklahoma hamlet in 2017. He recalls it vividly, because that was the same year he won the PRCA steer wrestling world championship.
“We’d never owned any land, and we found this place and it had 60 acres,” said Pearson, who lives with his wife, Carissa, son, Stetson; and daughter, Steelie. “The main thing was to come here and have some land.
“There are a lot of guys around here that get after it and are really talented. We’ve got a lot of friends right here close. We’ve built some relationships here that are going to last a lifetime. We love the people here.”
He also likes having the Atoka ProRodeo in town. For as cowboy friendly as the community is, it had never hosted a PRCA event until this year when Lane, Oklahoma-based McCoy Rodeo decided to produce it. Owned by Oklahoma rodeo star Cord McCoy and his family, the firm has set up two days of rodeo action.
Pearson competed both nights in steer wrestling and team roping. It’s a chance for him to show off his world-championship talents in front of friends that may not get to see him work all that often.
“We’re home the next few weeks, so we’re rodeoing around the house,” said Pearson, a four-time National Finals Rodeo qualifier who sits No. 2 in the world standings at this point in the season. “It’s really convenient to be able to go to places that aren’t that far from the house instead of driving 20 hours to Reno (Nevada), which is what we’ll be doing pretty soon.”
Rodeo is how he makes a living. So far this season, he’s pocketed just shy of $50,000. That’s more than double what he earned in all of 2020, which, like much of the world, was hampered by COVID-19. His goal is to secure his fifth NFR bid, then help do the same for his traveling partners, two-time world champion Tyler Waguespack and Kyle Irwin, a five-time NFR qualifier.
For now, though, Pearson will take advantage of local rodeos to gather up dollars to return to the Prairie Circuit Finals Rodeo, which takes the top 12 on the money list for competitors and rodeos primarily in Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska. He’d like to qualify in both bulldogging and heeling.
“I’ve roped a long time,” he said. “We’re just trying to circuit rodeo this year. I’m roping with (header) Rowdy Jones, who is an upcoming star. He’s going to be a name you hear for a long time. I’m just a stepping stone for him, but it sure is fun.”
The tandem never found its way to the winner’s circle over the two nights of the Atoka ProRodeo, but Pearson earned a second-place finish in bulldogging Friday night.
When it comes to competition, he understands how important it is to have quality horses. He’s co-owner of Scooter, a former steer wrestling horse of the year, and owns Metallica, which has been considered one of the top hazing horses. He also owns Dippin Dots, a 5-year-old appaloosa gelding Pearson uses in roping.
“He’s just got a really good demeanor,” he said of the spotted horse. “He’s super calm, super chill. My kids can ride him, and he’s still so young. He handles about anything. He’s also a winner. I never thought I’d be on an appaloosa that had talent. He’s sure nice to heel on, and I just really like riding him.”
The best part is that he got to do it at his hometown rodeo and win some money in the process.
“It’s cool to have this little rodeo,” Pearson said. “We go all over, so it’s awesome to have one in your own back yard. It’s fun, and we get to visit with people we know. There are people in this town that didn’t know we rodeoed, so now they can come see you do it.”
Bareback riding: 1. Mike Fred, 75.5 points on McCoy Rodeo’s 715, $256; 2. (tie) Dakota Mendez and Tim Murphy, 74, $160 each; 4. Colton Crawford, 73, $64.
Steer wrestling: 1. Gus Franzen, 5.6 seconds, $278; 2. Tyler Ravenscroft, 6.2, $209; 3. Sean Mulligan, 6.5, $139; 4. Colton Swearingen, 15.3, $70.
Team roping: 1. Mike Bacon/Dustin Davis, 5.2 seconds, $865; 2. (tie) Britt Smith/Jake Smith and A.J. Horton/Kyle Horton, 5.6, $541; 4. Jake Clay/Rance Doyal, 6.6, $216.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Danny Cassidy, 77.5 points on McCoy Rodeo’s Dun It, $256; 2. Brett Allen Coffman, 74, $192; 3. Trey Elshere, 69, $128; no other qualified rides.
Breakaway roping: 1. Shelby Boisjoli, 2.3 seconds, $1,183; 2. (tie) Winter Williams, Abigayle Williams and Sawyer Gilbert, 2.5, $775 each; 5. Jaice Walters, 2.8, $367; 6. (tie) Jackie Crawford and Alex Loiselle, 3.0, 102 each.
Tie-down roping: 1. Spence Barney, 10.6 seconds, $459; 2. Kyle Lucas, 11.4, $344; 3. Taylor Santos, 14.2, $229; 4. Landon McClaugherty, 15.7, $115.
Barrel racing: 1. Molly Childers, 17.79 seconds, $468; 2. Taylor Reazin, 17.87, $423; (tie) LaRae Smith and Randee Hedrick, 18.10, $328 each; 5. Lindsey McLeod, 18.36, $233; 6. Torrie Edge, 18.48, $169; 7. Savannah Pearson, 18.52, $106; 8. Cassidy Champlin, 18.67, $42.
Steer roping: First round: 1. Vin Fisher Jr., 12.6 seconds, $741; 2. Billy Good, 12.9, $556; 3. Slade Wood, 13.8, $371; 4. Landon McClaugherty, 14.1, $185. Second round: 1. Slade Wood, 11.4 seconds, $741; 2. Mike Chase, 12.0, $556; 3. Cole Patterson, 12.8, $371; 4. Shay Good, 12.9, $185. Average: 1. Slade Wood, 25.2 seconds, $1,112; 2. Vin Fisher Jr., 26.2, $834; 3. Shay Good, 28.8, $556; 4. Landon McClaugherty, 29.0, $278.
Bull riding: No qualified rides.