SWTJC cowboy finishes second in the nation at the College National Finals Rodeo

SWTJC cowboy finishes second in the nation at the College National Finals Rodeo

Southwest Texas Junior College Steer Wrestler Tyler West closed out his freshman collegiate rodeo season in grand style. The Mertzon, Texas native finished second in the nation and won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (NIRA) Steer Wrestling Rookie title last week in Casper, Wyoming at the College National Finals Rodeo (CNFR).

“Qualifying for the CNFR as a freshman is a big deal in itself but finishing this strong against four and five-year athletes is just spectacular. Then add on winning the steer wrestling rookie of the year title, and it’s exciting for Tyler, for me and especially for our college and community,” said rodeo coach Joey Almand.

West went into the CNFR ranked 16th in the national standings. He threw his first steer in 4.1 seconds and placed third in round one. In round two he put together a 4.3-second run and finished fourth.

With two times under his belt during the national finals, West double-downed on his third steer. He clocked in at 4.9 seconds and finished ninth in round three.

West’s combined three-steer total of 13.3 seconds earned him a short round appearance in the finale. He went into the final round of competition in second place overall.

West drew a tough steer in the final round but finished with a 6.0-second run to be 19.3 seconds on four steers. His cumulative time was only two-tenths of a second shy of winning the national championship.

“Tyler had a great week and took it one steer at a time. There is a tremendous amount of pressure in Casper, and it is a week-long marathon, not a sprint up there. It is the closest thing to the NFR (National Finals Rodeo) there is, so for him to have done so well says a lot about his ability and his mental toughness, said Almand. “I hope people realize how very close he was to bring home the national steer wrestling title to our school and town. Two-tenths of a second is like an eye blink. Tyler has a bright future, and we are looking forward to great things from him next year.”

According to West, who is returning to SWTJC in the fall, admitted that he didn’t know what to expect while competing at the CNFR.

“The atmosphere in Casper was something I didn’t expect. It was amazing. The amount of energy is just unreal,” said West. “It means so much to me to be able to compete at the CNFR and finishing so close to a championship motivates me to win it next year.”

According to West, his Wyoming experience has not only motivated him to elevate his steer wrestling performance but also in the other events in which he competes.

West has had local, regional and state success in calf roping and team roping as well.

According to Almand, “Tyler has great ability not just as a steer wrestler, but as an all-around cowboy. It isn’t too far out to see him having a chance at an all-around national title in the future.”

West was the only CNFR qualifier from SWTJC. He earned 215 points in Casper which propelled the SWTJC men’s team to 19th out of 54 colleges in the final national men’s team standings.