Alabama’s Nelson Wyatt ended the 2017 PRCA season with a bang. Not only did he claim the Team Roping Header Rookie of the Year title, he also added the All-Around Rookie of the Year title. For his rookie year, Wyatt was just shy of making it to his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the bright lights of Las Vegas after sitting in the number-22 spot with $52,011.81 won by the time the year was over. Along with sitting in the top 30 of the PRCA standings, Wyatt also qualified for the Southeastern Circuit Finals Rodeo, sitting seventh with $12,806.27 won.
Kaitlin Gustave: What does winning rookie of the year mean to you?
Nelson Wyatt: It means a pretty good bit. When I bought my card this year that was definitely my goal to win the Resistol Rookie of the Year so it feels pretty good to accomplish that.
KG: How was your year as a whole?
NW: It was definitely a learning curve. I started out circuit rodeoing this winter and just really stayed around here until June, and then I started really kind of going at Reno (Nev.) and stayed through the Northwest. It was a learning experience for sure. That was the first time that I had really gone and stayed and rodeoed that much so I learned a lot and met a lot of people.
KG: Which rodeo would you say was the highlight of your year?
NW: Oh, you know I guess I really liked Salt Lake. It was pretty cool with the new arena they had—getting to rope there for the first time that they had that format. Pendleton (Ore.) was a good one and Casper, Wyo. was pretty good. I’d have to say that probably Salt Lake was my favorite.
KG: Who did you rope with?
NW: I circuited rodeoed this winter with Brad Culpepper and then I left and roped this summer in the Northwest with Trace Porter.
KG: What horses did you ride throughout the year?
WN: I have a sorrel that I rode mostly, he’s 12 years old. His name is Nemo—I rode him mostly. Then I had another horse with me, his name’s Teddy Bear, an 8-year old that I rode a little bit in the spring and in the summer, but I mostly rode my sorrel all year.
KG: Who was in your support team for the year?
NW: I had a lot of people back home that wanted me to do good. I got to rope with good partners this year, my family, my sponsors. There’s really so many people that were helping me—there’s too many to count.
KG: What are your future goals?
NW: I guess, you know, my biggest goal would be to make the Finals—it’d be cool to make the Finals next year and then after the Finals, of course it would be to win a gold buckle.
KG: You also won the Rookie All Around title, what events did you enter to claim that?
NW: I roped calves this winter at the circuit rodeos but when I left I mostly just headed.
KG: Did you have any set goals in mind before the year started?
NW: Really, whenever I bought my card, it was really to win Rookie of the Year—that was my goal. I never could have expected going out there and having a chance to make the Finals at the end. The biggest goal I had set was to win the Rookie.
KG: With this being your first year, do you feel more prepared for next year?
NW: I guess to win the Rookie of the Year and go out there and have some success gives me more hope for next year—getting qualified for the winter rodeos and some of those bigger rodeos to getting to go to those this year. It gives you a little more confidence for next year.
KG: Did you have any professionals that influenced you on the road?
NW: I did! Trace and I, when we left, we had a friend of ours, Keven Daniel, he helped us enter and kind of helped us map out where to go. Then, Brad Culpepper helped us a little bit—keep our minds straight.