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Nelson nails his first Cody Stampede win

CODY, Wyo. – Tyler Nelson was No. 16 in the WEATHER GUARD® PRCA World Standings prior to his $10,032 winning ride on Frontier Rodeo’s Gun Fire at the Cody Stampede – and now this 24-year-old is gunning for his first trip to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER.

“It’s one of the ones I always wanted to win and I was pretty dang excited when I realized I won it,” Nelson said. “It definitely helped me get closer to the NFR, too.” 

Nelson narrowly beat last year’s world champion bareback rider, Tim O’Connell, and local favorite J.R. Vezain – a four-time qualifier for the WNFR. Both O’Connell and Vezain fell a half-point behind Nelson’s score and tied for second place. 

“I love the competition, and it makes me perform better,” Nelson said. “I just had a really good horse – he really bucked, and it helped me out a bunch.

“It’s exciting, and the money is one thing –  but, being at a rodeo of that caliber is completely different – it reminds you of why you do it,” Nelson said. 

Prior to Cody, Nelson also competed at the Black Hills Roundup in Belle Fourche, S.D., and the Oakley Independence Day Rodeo in Oakley City, Utah; but didn’t place at either of them during his Cowboy Christmas run. 

Fortunately, one ride in Cody was all it took to change going home empty-handed into going home with $10,032 and increased confidence for the summer season. 

“It’s a little bit of a relief – but it’s a long summer and you’ve got to grind your way through it and keep going and stay healthy,” Nelson said.  

Up next, Nelson’s hitting the road for the Sheridan WYO Rodeo, which runs July 12-15. 

“I think I’m going to have a busy fall and the rest of the year,” Nelson said. “I’m going to try to be smart and stay healthy.”

Other winners at the $343,861 rodeo were all-around cowboy Caleb Smidt ($9,475 in tie-down roping and team roping), steer wrestler Kyle Irwin (3.8 seconds), team ropers Kaleb Driggers/Junior Nogueira (4.4 seconds), saddle bronc rider Jesse Wright (85.5 points on Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Force), tie-down ropers Caleb Smidt and Sterling Smith (7.7 seconds each), barrel racer Tammy Fischer (16.88 seconds) and bull rider Dustin Bowen (87.5 points on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Woody). 

For more coverage of the Cody Stampede, check out the July 21 issue of the ProRodeo Sports News.
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