RED BLUFF, Calif. – The first person Tyler Waguespack calls after a rodeo is his father, Michael. On Sunday, it was a joyous conversation between the two.
Waguespack won the steer wrestling title at the Red Bluff Round-Up, a Wrangler Million Dollar Tour Silver rodeo, presented by Justin Boots.
His time of 21.6 seconds on four head was 1.2 seconds better than second-place Tanner Milan of Cochrane, Alberta, who had held the lead entering the final round.
“Ever since I was a little boy, my dad would be in the practice pen with me every day after school,” said Waguespack, 24. “When he competed (as a PRCA steer wrestler in the 1990s) he stayed close to home in the (Southeastern) circuit when he rodeoed, to take care of our family. He was the first person I called after today, and I talk to him every day and he tells me what I need to improve on.”
The win in Red Bluff was big for the Gonzales, La., cowboy in more ways than one. He earned a total of $6,246, including $3,636 for the average title. But the mental boost might’ve been even more important than the large check he took with him.
Waguespack placed in three of four rounds, including a second-place result in the April 19 finals with a time of 5.7 seconds, four-tenths back of Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier Dakota Eldridge.
“This is definitely toward the top of the list of rodeos I’ve won, and it gives me so much confidence after not having a great winter,” said Waguespack, who entered the weekend outside the top 50 in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings. “I want to keep making the best runs I can, and if I perform the way I want to and get lucky, I could get to the NFR.”
Waguespack hasn’t been far off from making the cut to earn a trip to the Wrangler NFR. He finished 22nd in 2014 after placing 36th in 2013.
After having a good amount of success in high school rodeo, Waguespack was ready to take ProRodeo by storm. However, he learned that it’s much harder than it looks.
“I don’t think anybody is truly ready when they get out of high school and go into the pros, and you realize how tough it is,” he said. “I look at it as you have to make the least amount of mistakes that you can each year, and hope that it’s good enough to be in the top 15.”
With a good amount of money in his pocket and a renewed sense that he can win a big-time rodeo like Red Bluff, Waguespack is hoping he’ll hit his stride as the summer run starts.
“I’ll be heading home to Louisiana in a few weeks after Clovis (Calif.),” he said. “I’m planning on hitting the practice pen hard for about a month and staying close to the house. The summer will get kicked off at Reno, and that’s what I want to be ready for.”
Other winners at the $254,615 rodeo were all-around cowboy Caleb Smidt ($1,175 in tie-down roping and team roping), bareback riders Clint Laye (82 points on Four Star Rodeo’s Black Ice), Joe Gunderson (82 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Silver Tip) and Jessy Davis (82 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Raggidy Ann), team ropers Erich Rogers and Cory Petska (22.4 seconds on four head), saddle bronc riders Troy Crowser (83 points on Flying Diamond Rodeo’s Handsome), Chuck Schmidt (83 points on Growney Brothers Rodeo’s Holy Hoppin Hell) and Cort Scheer (83 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Blackhawk Blaze), tie-down roper Blair Burk (40.6 seconds on four head), bull rider Wesley Silcox (89 points on Rosser Rodeo’s Hash Tag) and barrel racer Ann Scott (34.74 seconds on two head).
Courtesy of PRCA