Jr. Ironman Earns Exemption at WCRA Semi Finals
Tyler West of Mertzon, Texas, was tickled to take the title at the March 10 Jr. Ironman, which for the third year was held in conjunction with the Cinch Timed Event Championship. What 19-year-old college freshman would not be elated to win $11,000 at a real-deal cowboy versatility contest?
“To be invited to be a part of such a prestigious event is just incredible,” said West, who’s attending Southwest Texas Junior College in Uvalde on a full-ride rodeo scholarship. “Winning this event is a dream for any young cowboy. Being an all-around cowboy is what I’ve worked at since junior high. The guy I really look up to is Trevor Brazile. His 24 gold buckles are great, but it’s his character that I really look up to.”
The talented teen was clearly on Cloud 9. Then he got word of the bonus bye into the World Champions Rodeo Alliance Semi Finals, which will take him back to the Lazy E Arena in Guthrie, Oklahoma, for the May 15-19 run of the $500,000 rodeo.
“That’s awesome,” said a sweetly surprised West when he got word of the Semi Finals exemption. “It’s just an honor to be here to compete at this event. That this win leads to another big opportunity is amazing.”
Along with the rest of the Jr. Ironman field, West competed in three rounds of heading, heeling, steer wrestling and tie-down roping, and set a new four-run record of 32.2 seconds in the third and final round. He gets to choose which event to enter at the WCRA Semi Finals. West, who enlisted hazing help from ProRodeo Hall of Famer Ote Berry at the Jr. Ironman, said it’ll be between his two strongest events, steer wrestling and tie-down roping.
The top end of Semi Finals contestants will then join the likes of 2019 Timed Event titlist Justin Thigpen at the $1 million Titletown Stampede, June 1 at the Resch Center in Green Bay, Wisconsin. Reigning International Professional Rodeo Association All-Around Champ Thigpen advanced directly to Green Bay by winning both the 2018 IPRA steer wrestling and tie-down roping year-end championships, and is the first contestant in WCRA history to double down at a million-dollar major.
“The chance to win that kind of money in one day is life changing,” Thigpen said of his upcoming golden day in Green Bay. “Talk about a great opportunity. Cowboys have it hard. The travel, trucks, trailers, horses—it’s not easy to make it all work. I’ve been hoping and praying for this chance. June 1 could be a very valuable day for me, and I can’t wait to get to Green Bay.”