Due Date

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

I’m trying to make the NFR, and my wife is due to give birth at any second. Talk about pressure!

by Kyle Irwin

I’m on the bubble, but that’s not the only excitement I’m feeling at the moment. My wife, Randa, is going to give birth any day now. Her due date was September 17th—three days ago!

When Randa’s due date rolled around, I was in Oklahoma at Tyler Pearson’s house trying to figure out which rodeos I can get to and still be there for my wife. I’m in a tight spot—sitting fourteenth with about five thousand dollars between me and being out of the top fifteen. From now until the end of September, I’m entered in eight rodeos. If I’m lucky, I’ll make five or six of them. My wife being due at any second throws a bit of a curveball, but the birth of my baby girl means more to me than anything.

Back in January, when Randa told me we were expecting, I didn’t think I’d be in the position I am now. As any father would be, I was elated about the fact we were expanding our family and that our son Tripp would have a little sister.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

Follow Cowboy Journal

I quickly made a game plan in my head – where the biggest money was to be won, and how I needed to secure my spot to the Finals early on. With a good summer run, I could stay home on September 17th. That’s not how things worked out.

Being on the bubble is stressful. I try to remove that stress by looking at my situation as a business deal. Making the National Finals is the ultimate goal for your rodeo season. If you want to rodeo professionally and make money, you have to make the Finals. It’s an expensive sport and to break even, it seems, you have to make the NFR. I hate that it has to be that way, but that’s part of what we do. In every event every year we see a lot of extremely talented guys fall short.

Sign up for the latest news & updates.

Even if I don’t have my ideal season, I’m fortunate to be co-owner with Tyler of Scooter, last year’s AQHA/PRCA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. I also have a haze horse, Archie. When guys mount out on Scooter or use Archie to haze, I get a percentage of those winnings.

Right now I’m breaking even for the season. I might even be a little ahead. These last two weeks are crazy, and there’s a crazy amount of money up for grabs. I’m hoping I can still make some rodeos and win a few thousand dollars a week to seal the deal on my NFR spot. My horses feel good. I’m able to swap between Scooter and Tyler’s other horse, Bobby, which helps a lot. Neither horse is getting run too hard, so they both feel fresh when it comes time to work.

I drove to Amarillo yesterday and Texarkana today in hopes of putting some money in the bank and moving up a spot or two in the standings. I’ve been a member of the PRCA for seven years and made the NFR three times, but the World Championship still eludes me. Whatever our future holds, it will all be alright. Gold buckle or no gold buckle, NFR or no NFR, the world’s gonna keep spinning.

At the end of the day, I’m just waiting for the phone call that my little girl is on the way.

Read more about the CINCH JEANS and Classic Equine athletes fighting to make the NFR. Follow #theCjHASE

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen


More from THE CHASE: On the Bubble

Latest Stories