Tyler Wade and Cole Davison started off their 2019 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo campaign with a first-go-round win, worth $26,230.77 a man for a 4.0-second run.
In a good round that saw only one no-time, three legs and two barriers, Wade and Davison were just second out and made an aggressive run to put early pressure on the pack.
"Honestly I hated the steer," Wade said. "He was bigger and stronger and came left, but he wasn't as bad as I played him out to be."
"And he just left sharp," Davison added. "That was pretty key tonight. A lot didn't leave sharp. You could tell—the ones that did were nailing the barrier and the ones that didn't were missing it."
[Read More: Score, Ride, Rope with Tyler Wade]
This is the second year in a row Wade and Davison paired up just for a trip to Las Vegas, as Wade roped with Billie Jack Saebens in 2019 and Davison heeled for Bubba Buckaloo and Levi Simpson. In 2018, they only caught two steers—both go-round wins.
"I missed the first three turned last year," Davison said. "I just slowed down a lot and didn't try to throw shortly after my header did... We're already halfway better than we did last year."
"We knew we could build off of last year and hopefully kind of just pick up where we left off," Wade said. "We knew we had a lot to work on but we knew we could do it together."
Wade was forced to retire the bay gelding Fonzie that he rode in his first two NFR appearances, so with this trip to the Thomas & Mack he opted for Spur, a bay gelding he bought this summer.
"I couldn't get amped up and excited because I had to stay calm for my horse," Wade said of the 12-year-old gelding he cracked out for the Finals. "It actually helped me a lot... I've had him for a couple months and I like where he's going. I don't trust him yet, and it's pretty nerve wracking to ride a horse you don't trust at the NFR. He wants to be a really good horse, and I knew that if he does what he usually does practicing, he'd feel great."
Davison stuck with Apollo, the 9-year-old gelding that came from Rhen Richard he rode in 2018.
"Apollo, I've ran 12 steers on him before this," Davison said. "He got a little sore and we had to do a lot of stuff. But they got him fixed up." TRJ
1. Tyler Wade and Cole Davison, 4.0, $26,230.77 each
2. Matt Sherwood and Hunter Koch, 4.1, $20,730.77 each
3. Erich Rogers and Kyle Lockett, 4.3, $15,653.85 each
4. Brenten Hall and Chase Tryan, 4.5, $11,000.00 each
5. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, 4.6, $6,769.23 each
6/6. Riley and Brady Minor, 4.7, $2,115.38 each
6/6. Luke Brown and Paul Eaves, 4.7, $2,115.38 each