Courtesy of ProRodeo.com
ARCADIA, Fla. March 9 – Tyler Pearson hadn’t taken a victory lap since he hurt his knee in Las Vegas prior to the 2013 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That changed in a big way this weekend.
The 28-year-old steer wrestler made it a double play in Florida over the weekend, winning both the Arcadia All-Florida Championship Rodeo and the Okeechobee Cattlemen’s Spring Rodeo.
Pearson, who suffered a torn meniscus and a sprained medial collateral ligament in Las Vegas last December, showed no signs of the injury lingering in the Sunshine State.
“It’s been slow this winter, and I’m not blaming that on the knee at all, but things are finally picking up a little and I hope it keeps rolling on,” Pearson said. “I would say my knee is at 120 percent right now.”
The Louisville, Miss., cowboy turns 29 on March 19, and decided to give himself an early birthday present.
His 4.8-second run in Arcadia was a second better than J.W. Lorenz, and earned him $1,665. He then won in Okeechobee with a 5.0-second run, making another $1,072.
“I only come down here to Florida once or twice a year, but they have some good rodeos down here,” Pearson said. “It’s 12 hours from the house in Mississippi, so it’s nice to come down here and win some money. It makes the drive back a lot better.”
Aboard his horse, Sketch, Pearson appears to be back in the same comfort zone that helped him reach the WNFR last season.
While it’s still early in the season, cashing winner’s checks is something that never gets old – especially with 9-month-old son Stetson at the house now.
“The money all has a purpose, and you can’t blow it now, because you have a wife and kid to take care of,” Pearson said of his new philosophy toward winnings. “My wife and son had been traveling with me for the last month, but I had to drop them off at home because we had to fill the rig with the guys.”
Pearson, who finished 12th in the world last season, came into the weekend 47th in the 2014 Wyndham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings with $3,758. The two Florida triumphs moved Pearson to 31st in the world as he chases another WNFR qualification.
“It’s always a relief when you can win a rodeo, and you can relax a bit after winning two rodeos,” Pearson said. “I was struggling in the winter run, but hopefully that’ll change now.”
Other winners at the $82,200 rodeo in Arcadia were all-around cowboy Ross Lowry ($1,509 in steer wrestling and team roping), bareback rider J.R. Vezain (86 points), team ropers Cory Kidd V and Brad Culpepper (5.5 seconds), saddle bronc riders Will Smith and Spencer Wright (89 points each), tie-down roper Nathan Steinberg (9.5 seconds), bull riders Kenny Rogers and Jeff Askey (88 points each) and barrel racer Sally Young (17.46 seconds).
The other winners in Okeechobee were all-around cowboy Pearson ($1,072 in steer wrestling and team roping), bareback rider Kyle Brennecke (86 points), team ropers Jacob Locke and Tom Bourne (7.1 seconds), saddle bronc rider Tyrel Larsen (86 points), tie-down roper Paul Fussell (8.7 seconds), bull riders Bobby Welsh and Ty Wallace (85 points each) and barrel racer Kristin Hanchey (15.82 seconds).
While Tyler Pearson was the only man to win in both Arcadia and Okeechobee, several other cowboys earned checks at both Florida rodeos. Team ropers Cory Kidd V and Brad Culpepper placed first in Arcadia and third in Okeechobee to earn a total of $2,950 each. Saddle bronc rider Tyrel Larsen won Okeechobee with an 86-point ride on Silver Spurs Club’s Best Hope, and also earned a share of third in Arcadia to make a total of $3,000. Fellow saddle bronc rider – and four-time Wrangler NFR qualifier – Isaac Diaz split third at both rodeos, earning a total of $2,249. Clint Laye ($1,831) was the only bareback rider to earn a check both places, while Bobby Welsh ($1,776) was the only bull rider to do so.
He is married to Carissa and has one son, Stetson.