(At Home With) Tyson Thompson
Tyson Thompson riding at the BFI
Winning the 2023 BFI “is still a bigger deal than I know,” Thompson says. | Andersen/CBarC photography

Tyson Thompson grew up in tiny Munday, Texas, about an hour north of Abilene. Between the Thompson Ranch winning it all at the RodeoHouston Ranch Rodeo in March, and Tyson winning the BFI behind Curry Kirchner in April, the 26-year-old ranch and rodeo cowboy is having a big-time breakthrough season in 2023.

Winning the 2023 BFI “is still a bigger deal than I know,” Thompson says. Andersen/CBarC photography

Q: What’s life like in tiny Munday, Texas?
A: It’s really fun. I always thought I wanted to get out of there and go somewhere bigger where more people rope. But it’s a great place. It’s less expensive, and more laid back. My two brothers can head me more steers than I can heel in Munday, and we have a golf course two miles from our house. We work, we rope and we golf. It’s paradise. 

Q: You grew up in a family of six, right?
A: Yes, my mom and dad, Kelly and Todd, had Chace, our sister, Tori, me and Kreece, in that order. My brothers and I are five years apart, so when Chace started roping when he was about 12, I was about 7. Kreece has a video of roping the dummy in diapers. Since then, we’ve roped every day. 

Q: Are you more ranch cowboy or rodeo cowboy?
A: I like to be more rodeo cowboy when we can, because that means we’re winning. When we’re out here rodeoing, we’re ready to go home and work. But I love roping even more than ranching.

Q: Who taught you guys how to rope?
A: My dad. His dad always team roped, then so did he. We grew up watching him, and we were all hooked, too. 

Q: Did you grow up with any cowboy heroes outside the family? 
A: Rich Skelton was a hero of mine growing up. Then as soon as I got scent of Kyle Lockett, he’s been my hero. I met him at the George Strait with Chace one year. Kyle’s a big old manly heeler who’s a cowboy. 

Q: Tell us about the first big win of your roping career in the #11 Shootout at the 2012 USTRC Finals, where you heeled for Wrangler National Finals Rodeo heeler Wesley Thorp.
A: Wesley headed for me at the high school rodeos, too. So did (NFR tie-down roper) Marty Yates. The #1 thing I remember about that roping is that Wesley nodded for our last steer when I wasn’t anywhere near the corner yet. I was a little bit late, but it was super fun and we won $51,000 a man. 

Q: How much fun was it to heel for both of your brothers—Kreece at San Antonio, and Chace at Houston—earlier this year?
A: That was neat, and those rodeos are so cool. You have to rodeo to get into those, and I don’t ever want to miss one of them again. It’s a huge deal to get into Houston, and they make you feel like it, too.

Q: You and Kreece had a big win together a couple years ago, right?
A: Yes, Kreece and I split the win in the #16 Shootout at the 2021 USTRC Finals with Bobby Joe Hill and Joseph Harrison, and won $15,000 a man. That was definitely a fun day for our family.

Q: How is it that you’re the only heeling brother in the family?
A: Dad needed a header, so Chace had no choice. When I was in sixth grade, I headed for Wesley at the junior high rodeos. But by freshman year, I was heeling for Wesley. 

Q: Let’s hear about the Thompson Ranch’s big win at the 2023 RodeoHouston Ranch Rodeo.
A: Chace, our Uncle Tyler, Chad Williams, Colton Burnett and me made up the team. Houston is the biggest, best ranch rodeo, and it’s way out in the lead. We’ve been going to the ranch rodeos for eight years now, and had won second and third at most of them numerous times. We finally got over the hump, it all came together and we got the win. It was such a relief, and so much fun. 

Q: Now that you’ve had a couple months to take it all in, how big a deal was it to win the BFI?
A: It’s still a bigger deal than I know. People out here at the rodeos are still telling me “good job” and congratulating me. 

Q: Did you put that record $80,000 a man to good use?
A: I haven’t bought anything wild yet. I have a new pickup, so I can always put some of it toward that. And I might get a new saddle. But I’m going to try to hang onto most of it. 

Q: You heeled for Jace Bland at the rodeos this spring. What are your summer plans?
A: Jace and I are planning on buddying with Kreece and Landen Glenn, and are going to try to have a full summer of it. The plan is to stick our names down for as long as they’ll let us. It will be awesome if we can keep our confidence and money together. 

Q: How much rodeo-gypsy blood does a small-town Texas ranch kid like yourself have in him?
A: I don’t get homesick at all. If we can go to another one tomorrow, I’m going to the rodeo. I love home when I’m there, but if there’s somewhere to go rope, that’s where I want to be. 

Q: What are your roping hopes and dreams?
A: My dream is to make the NFR. Everyone dreams of winning the world. But with all the money up now, anyone who gets there has a chance at that if they can just get there. I’d like to make it one day. To make it with one of my brothers would be the ultimate.

Outside the rodeo arena, ranching and cowboying is a way of life for the Thompson boys. 
Courtesy Kaitlin Voss Guin

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