LAS VEGAS – Tyler Pearson is a happy man who loves his job.
He’s even happier this week in the City of Lights, where he has found his winning ways through the first five nights of the National Finals Rodeo. On Monday night, he added to his incredible season by wrestling his steer to the ground in 4.0 seconds to finish third in the fifth in the third round.
So far, he has added $82,769 in Las Vegas, $15,654 of which came Monday. He has increased his 2017 earnings to $192,688 and sits second in the world standings. He trails the standings leader, Ty Erickson, by less than $17,000, and that ground can be made up in one night.
Pearson – from Louisville, Miss., but now living in Atoka, Okla. – has placed in four of five rounds and finished no worse than third in any of those four runs. A second-place finish in Tuesday’s sixth round would be worth more than $20,000 and would propel Pearson into the No. 1 spot.
But he can’t look ahead. It just doesn’t work. He has to stay the course, focus on each run and enjoy the moments as they arrive.
That’s easy to do for someone like Pearson, who has a strong focus and a valuable work ethic. Those two ingredients are vital in rodeo, which offers no guarantees. Cowboys only earn money if they finish better than most. At the NFR, only the top six placers in each event collect the paydays.
He has an advantage in Scooter, a 12-year-old sorrel gelding he co-owns with friend and traveling partner Kyle Irwin. Not only has the red horse been beneficial to the owners, he’s been critical to a couple of other cowboys: Erickson of Helena, Mont., and Tyler Wageuspack, the reigning world champion from Gonzales, La.; he also sits third in the world standings.
In all, Scooter has guided the four cowboys to nearly $209,000 in NFR earnings. What’s even more impressive is that this is just the halfway point of ProRodeo’s grand championship, a 10-round marathon that offers an $8 million purse.
Pearson has just five more nights to cash in. He’s in a tight race for the world championship, and he leads the average race with a five-round cumulative time of 20.8 seconds – 1.3 seconds faster than Erickson, who is No. 3. Should he win the average title, the Mississippi cowboy would add $67,269 when the NFR concludes Saturday night.
But he’s not thinking about that. He’s focused on the things he can control, and he has Scooter, the 2017 Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, to get him there.