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Kyle Irwin snares Lawton title


LAWTON, Okla. – Steer wrestler Kyle Irwin finally gets to check off the Lawton Rangers Rodeo from his list of rodeos to win.

After competing at this rodeo for many years, the Robertsdale, Ala., cowboy returned to tie for fourth place in the first round and fourth in the second round. Irwin’s consistency allowed him to win the two-head average in 8.5 seconds.

“I’ve always wanted to do good here,” Irwin said. “When I was in college, I was a Prairie Circuit cowboy and Lawton was one of our bigger rodeos. I always made sure to enter. Now, since I’ve moved back home, I’m in the Southeastern Circuit, but I still go to Lawton and I still want to do good here."

The steer wrestling title was destined to leave Lawton, Okla., in the same rig one way or another. Irwin tied in the first round with two of his traveling partners, Tyler Waguespack and Tyler Pearson, and edged out Pearson by four-tenths of a second to win the average.

“Tyler Pearson has won it the past two years and this year he was winning it,” Irwin said. “It’s pretty cool for him to win it twice and then win second, and then our whole crew placed in the first round.”

Canted Plan “Scooter,” the 2017 and 2018 PRCA | AQHA Horse of the Year, co-owned by Irwin and Pearson, is usually the horse that takes them to the winner’s circle. However, all his Lawton success came aboard a different horse.

“I was riding a little bay horse called Tubby,” Irwin said. “The horse we normally ride is getting to stay at home. Our backup pulled through – he’s doing phenomenal. We figured if we could have the success we’re having on Tubby, we’d use this time to give Scooter a break now instead of after the NFR when we really need him for the winter rodeos.”

Tubby is owned by TJ Hall, fellow steer wrestler and traveling partner. 

“I am super-pleased with the way Tubby is handling the pressure that he has been dealt,” Hall said. “He went from having to make one run to now having to make four to five runs every round. That could be a lot of pressure to put on a 7-year-old horse – and he is handling it very well."

The long-awaited win comes during a crucial time in the regular season.  Before Lawton, Irwin was ranked eighth in the PRCA | RAM World Standings with $64,913.78.

“I don’t think I’m safe yet, as far as having the NFR made, but I’m ahead of where I’ve ever been at this time of the year,” Irwin said. “If every year I can keep staying ahead of where I’ve been, history should repeat itself and I should continue to make the NFR.”

With four Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifications on Irwin’s resume his game plan is simple.

“Don’t look back,” Irwin said. “I’m trying to make as much money as I can. I, of course, want to make the NFR, but in the end this is what I do to pay my bills so I would love to max out every opportunity I get. I’m blessed. I’m healthy and sound all the way around. A few bumps and bruises now and then, but that comes with the job - I can’t complain.”

Other winners at the $149,339 rodeo were bareback rider Orin Larsen (88 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Nutrena's Forward Motion); team ropers Tyler Wade/Billie Jack Saebens and Coleman Proctor/Ryan Motes (4.4 seconds each); saddle bronc rider Sterling Crawley (87 points on Andrews Rodeo's Capone); tie-down roper Cooper Mathews (15.9 seconds on two head); barrel racer Michelle Darling (17.22 seconds); and bull rider Chauk Dees (91.5 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo's Shootin' Stars).

For more coverage of the Lawton Rangers Rodeo, check out the August 23 issue of ProRodeo Sports News.

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