LAS VEGAS – Tyler Corrington rides saddle broncs for a living.
He loves his job, and he’s showing it this week in his second qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Corrington, 27, of Hastings, Minn., has placed in each of the last four go-rounds, including a sixth-place finish Tuesday night that was worth $3,005. He rode Barnes PRCA Rodeo’s Cat Power for 80 points, and that move propelled his NFR earnings to $32,752.
So far this season, Corrington has earned $130,679 riding bucking horses. He is sixth in the world standings but just about $17,000 behind the world standings leader, two-time world champion Cody Wright.
Go-round winners earn $18,630 each of the 10 December nights of ProRodeo’s grand finale, so if things go well, the Minnesota cowboy could move into the top spot on the money list. That’s easier said than done, though, because the NFR features the 15 greatest bronc busters from the 2013 season.
Still, Las Vegas is the place for cowboys to find their riches. What’s most valuable, though, is that the contestants in each event who finish the NFR with the most money will walk away from the Thomas & Mack Center with the most coveted prizes in the sport, a world champion’s gold buckle. That’s one of the things for which Corrington is riding.
But he also is having a blast. You see, each night the top 15 bucking horse riders are matched against the greatest broncs in rodeo. That makes it fun for the cowboys and exciting for the more than 17,000 fans who pack the Thomas & Mack every night.
On Wednesday night, the bronc riders will face their biggest tests of the NFR, being matched against the “eliminator” pen of bucking horses, the nastiest, hardest-to-ride animals in the game. Corrington’s blind draw has him matched against Killer Bee of Oklahoma-based Beutler & Son Rodeo. Last Friday, Killer Bee bucked off five-time NFR qualifier Heith DeMoss.
Corrington knows the challenges he faces over the remaining four rounds, but he’s ready for them. He likely will handle his business with a smile on his face.