LAS VEGAS – His right knee hurts, but Tyrel Larsen didn’t let that hamper him Friday night during the second round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Larsen, a saddle bronc rider from Inglis, Manitoba, rode Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Sabre for 81.5 point to finish third. That earned the newlywed now living in Weatherford, Okla., $15,654 and pushed his earnings to $86,826.
He moved up three spots to 12th in the world standings with eight rounds remaining, all while hobbling on a bum knee.
“That’s what I get for falling off last night,” said Larsen, who married his longtime girlfriend, the former Chaney Latham, in October. “I was riding good, and all of the sudden, I fell off and I tweaked my knee. Now I have to tape up, and I guess I get to relax and have fun. It felt like last night I was trying too hard to win, and now I can go back out and have fun and do what all did all year to get me here.
As with any athletic endeavor, riding bucking horses comes down to handling the fundamentals well. Friday’s pen of broncs featured the toughest-to-ride horses in the game, the “eliminators.” It showed, with only 10 of the 15 cowboys managing the score.
“I had a really nice one to have, and there were a lot of rough horses there,” he said. “This horse had a couple of moves, and it worked out just right for me.”
Those moves also caused a sharp pain in his knee, but he continued the spurring motion right through them.
“You never know sometime with those eliminators; sometimes they’re pretty nice, and sometimes they’re pretty rank to ride,” Larsen said. “A few of us lucked out.”
This marks Larsen’s first qualification to the NFR, and he joins a younger brother, bareback rider Orin Larsen, as the first two Manitoba cowboys to have qualified for ProRodeo’s grand finale. Just two nights into this 10-day championship, he is enjoying every moment of his time in Las Vegas.
“It’s awesome, pretty surreal, especially being here with my brother, Orin,” Larsen said. “Orin placed last night, and I placed tonight, so hopefully we can keep the ball rolling and keep placing.
“It’s kind of like the weight’s off your shoulder. It was nerve-wracking last night. I feel like me and Orin have settled down a bit and can just have fun now.”
Tyrel Larsen is definitely having fun. Winning at the NFR should be fun.