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Veteran bronc leads Corrington to cash

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The first time Tyler Corrington watched Big Bend Rodeo’s Kool Toddy, he wasn’t very old.

He was sitting in front of his family’s television in Hastings, watching the great bay mare buck at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. On Monday night during the 2013 championship’s fifth round, Corrington felt just what the bucking machine was like while on her back.

It must’ve felt pretty good; the two danced across the Thomas & Mack Center’s dirt for 83 points to finish in a share of fifth place in the fifth round, adding $3,906 to his season earnings.

“She’s been around forever and has been right up there for bucking horse of the year two or three times,” said Corrington, now in his second trip to the NFR. “She’s been awesome forever.”

The top bronc busters in the game know that, and they know a few other things about the horse. For instance, she has a tendency to hesitate when the chute gate opens, and the stalling delays the start; if she were to fail to leave the chute, the cowboy would then have to get on another horse. But that’s not what they want, because she’s that good when she’s in the arena.

“She has that stalling deal, and she sure wants your feet in the saddle; if you stay down in the saddle, she’s going to do the work for you,” Corrington said, explaining that the horse leaps high into the air, then her front end will drop; on Monday night, the Minnesota cowboy kept pushing his feet forward to match his spur stroke with her bucking motion.

“She’s just real droppy and kind of quick. If you sit on your foot (because of the spurring motion back to the saddle) or make any kind of mistake, she’s going to drill you.”

So how do the best cowboys in the game get through all of her early antics?

“You can’t mark her out too early,” he said, referring to the rider’s start, where he must have the heels of his boots over the front of the horse’s shoulders. “You know the stall is coming, and you just hope she gets out because she’s so good.”

At the NFR’s halfway point, Corrington had earned $29,748. He is fourth in the world standings.

“I’m happy where I am right now,” he said. “The last time I was here, I won $40,000 out of the whole deal, and I wasn’t sad leaving.

“It’s such a great rodeo that you can’t complain about anything.”

This week, Corrington earned his second qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.

He 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.

By Ted Harbin

Rodeo Media Relations