RFD-TV's The American Photo
Kinney Harrell and Tyler Wade took home $20,000 a man for roping their shoot-out steer in 4.53 seconds after winning the qualifying round with a 4.2-second run.
This came after a week that saw them be 4.1 to lead the second round at the San Angelo (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo and win the third round of their set at the San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show and Rodeo. The American semifinals consisted of a two-head average in slack, taking the top 20 teams and splitting them into two performances. The top 10 out of those top 20 teams got to compete in the shoot-out round, with the top five in that round qualifying for the American on March 1.
“We’ve been drawing decent, but things are really coming together,” Wade said. “My horse is working good and I get to come home every week and that helps. I get to turn him out and we both can relax. It’s a friendly set up with the short scores all winter. Everybody gets a decent throw pretty much.”
Wade credited Afterparty, his 16-year-old gelding, for helping them find the rhythm. He has three good ones right now, and usually switches to one of his others if he starts missing. But, so far so good on Afterparty in 2015.
Harrell also echoed that his horsepower has helped him on this hot streak.
“It seems like we’ve got a pretty good little rhythm right now and my horse is working the best he ever has,” Harrell said of Taz, the 17-year-old gelding he’s been riding for 14 years. “All the way around, we’ve finally found a rhythm deal that we both know the game plan. Of course it could always be altered by the animal, but we’ve got the same consensus when ride in the box. Tyler has done an exceptional job of scoring sharp and turning the steer the last few weeks. My horse has been working the best he ever has, and that makes my job pretty dang easy.”
Taz hasn’t just helped Harrell keep rolling in 2015—Cole Bigbee rode the horse to win the two-head average in the qualifying rounds of the American’s slack with 10.56 seconds on two head worth $3,319. He’d then help Bigbee, along with header Jimmy Tanner, make it through the next two rounds in the semifinals to qualify for the American.
Wade and Harrell missed qualifying for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2014, meaning the $20,000 boost to their bank accounts this early in the rodeo season is a huge help.
“Right now $20,000 is a huge momentum boost finishing up San Antone, Houston, the George Strait,” Harrell said. “It’s a good confidence boost for us as a team, and hopefully it’s what we need to boost us through the next month or so of big opportunities. Financially, it heals up the year I had last year, barely missing the Finals, and the lawyer fees.”
“It seems like if you just take it and rodeo off it, it goes by a lot faster. Every time I win, I try to set myself up for the long haul. Buy some cows, turn $20,000 into $40,000, hopefully,” Wade added.