LAS VEGAS – On the first night of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Orin Larsen felt the pain and knew he had separated a rib.
That was just the start of bad fortune for the bareback rider from Inglis, Manitoba. He entered the finale second in the world standings but failed to collect a check through the first five go-rounds. He changed his fortune Tuesday night with an 85-point ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Ruby’s Girl to finish as one of two runners-up in the sixth go-round.
“I’ve been battling between injuries and the drawing,” said Larsen, now in his second qualification to the NFR. “It feels good to just get a check and hopefully build some momentum from here.
“I have nothing to lose at this point. I’m just going to win and that’s how it’s got to be.”
That demanding tone worked well for Larsen, who spends much of his time living in Gering, Neb., with his fiancé, Alexa. His expectations are high, but that’s what comes with being one of the elite bareback riders in the game.
Still, rough times come even for the best.
“This is just a previous injury that I thought was healed,” he said. “It was just a freak accident, and the rib just came apart. The Justin Sportsmedicine Team has been doing a phenomenal job keeping me together. They do a lot of work. Earlier in the week, I was going in twice, and now I’m in there for almost an hour before I get on.”
He’s battling through the pain because of the doctors and trainers, but he’s also making sure to keep his mental approach strong. His score matched that of Richmond Champion, and both cowboys earned more than $18,000 for it. Larsen pushed his season earnings to $166,488, and he’d like to keep adding more.
“At this point, it’s just a mind game for me,” Larsen said. “There’s really nothing to fix it, so you just have to keep getting on and stay optimistic. It’s good to have won a little money to pay for a wedding and to get some momentum going.
“I’m just going to nod my head at the next four rounds like they belong to me.”