Minnesota’s only contestant at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo sits eighth in the world standings at halftime. Hastings native Tyler Corrington finished in second place on Monday, Dec. 8, with an 87-point ride on his saddle bronc horse. The biggest event of the year for the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association continues for another five rounds and concludes on Saturday, Dec. 13.

The top 15 contestants in bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing and bull riding are all competing for over $6 million in prize money.

Corrington is the reigning Canadian World Champion. His finals began a rough start with only covering two of his five horses. During the first performance, he was catapulted over the dashboard of his horse’s head on Thursday, Dec. 4. As a roughstock rider it is all part of the profession when bucking horses play defense.

During the day, Corrington is visible at autograph signing booths around town. Hotel guests at the Westgate in Las Vegas received special invitations to the Rodeo Central zone where Corrington is a featured Royal Rider. His sponsor, Crown Royal, has a plush purple velvet chair designed for the elite cowboys to pose with fans.

Nightly, fans wearing his contestant number of 62 are visible on the concourse. His wife, Morgan, and her parents were spotted wearing their Corrington fan club shirts on Monday night. Before the fan club shirts were visible, Corrington made his own fashion statement. Corrington, along with two traveling partners Wade Sundall from Boxholm, Iowa, and Cort Scheer from Elsmere, Neb., showed up in thrift store jackets for the back number presentation at the South Point Hotel and Casino last week. A tradition the trio started a few years ago while running errands has turned into a fan favorite moment. Corrington mentioned in a half smile that the plaid blazer was his uncle’s jacket. Sundall and Scheer slapped him on the back and laughed. The three cowboys soon admitted it was a thrift store shopping spree find in the women’s section.

by Gretchen Kirchmann

Special to the Star Gazette