Tyler West's Grandma Kay Lindley—the 19-year-old's helper over the three rounds of the Lazy E's Jr. Ironman—looked on with pride as her grandson received his $10,000 check for conquering the event's 12 head in 179.6 seconds.
The win was also worth another $1,000 for winning the third go in record-setting fashion of 32.2 seconds on four head.
"He's been a cowboy since he was a little bitty feller," Lindley said. "This has been his dream to come to this and win it. I'm just so proud of him I could bust."
"My grandma is my biggest supporter," West added. "She's always been there for me. It was so special for her to be here all week."
West, a freshman at Southwest Texas Junior College on a rodeo scholarship, jumped into the lead for the first time over three rounds with just one event to go—his main event, the steer wrestling.
"It didn't rattle me, because I came from the bottom pretty much," West said. "It was my strongest event too. I just had confidence to go into my final run. I was excited, and my horse was too."
West's 20-year-old bull dogging horse Alf, who came through clutch in his final 4.6-second run to clinch the title, has only been in the steer wrestling business for three years.
"Tyler trained and started him when the horse was 17," Lindley said. "He was my barrel horse and his mama's old barrel horse. He has found his calling. He loves this."
Mainly a steer wrestler and calf roper, West's only 60 of the event came in Round 1 of the heeling.
"I'm more of a rodeo-type of heeler," West, who heels at some college rodeos, said. "Today I decided to just make a sharp shot and not track over him. The tracking over didn't help me."
The first-round heeling bobble had nothing to do with his horsepower, though.
"The horse he rode in the heeling and calf roping, he's ridden his entire career," Lindley said. "Wrangler is a stud, and Tyler was 6 years old and Wrangler was 3 when they started. We raised him. They have been to Nationals. They won state. They won Horse of the Year."
The stud is by Starlights Wrangler by Grays Starlight, out of a 25-percent King-bred mare the Lindleys owned calls Sugarfoot Brown by Sweet Moose.
"He is a complete all-around horse," Lindley said. "Tyler has team roped both ends, calf roped, cut on him. We do breed some outside mares, not a lot."
West only borrowed one horse—a head horse from Tyler Magnus—in his winning campaign. The legend Ote Berry hazed for him, and Logan Moore did the heading and heeling.
"I go to school close to him, and my friends introduced us," West said of Moore. "I went to his house before and roped. He did perfect for me. He made the heel shots easy."
On top of the win, prizes and payout, West earned a spot at the May 15 to 19 Semifinals for the World Champions Rodeo Alliance, also held at the Lazy E. He will fit that in between college rodeos, where he's sitting second in the Southern region in the steer wrestling and in the top 10 in the calf roping, winning second in the all-around.
"I'd like to pursue both events when I get my PRCA card and eventually compete here at the Timed Event Championship," West said. TRJ
Jr. Ironman first round: 1. Trevor Meier, 49.8, $1,000.
1. Hiyo Yazzi, 39.0 seconds, $1,000.
Jr. Ironman third round: 1. Tyler West, 32.2 seconds, $1,000.
Jr. Ironman average: 1. Tyler West, 179.6 seconds, $10,000; 2. Trevor Meier, 199.3, $5,000; 3. Dillon Jones, 213.7, $2,000.