More Surprises

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

photo by Matt Cohen / Cowboy Journal

As this story goes, nothing has gone to plan.

by Kyle Irwin

The past seventy-two hours have felt like Cowboy Christmas to me. But it didn’t start out that way.

I thought I’d go to Omaha and Kansas City, do a good job and then fly home to be with Randa and forget the rest. I had no intentions of going to San Bernardino, CA. But as this story goes, nothing has gone to plan.

I didn’t do anything in Kansas City on Friday or Omaha on Saturday morning, which made seven rodeos in a row without any luck. Omaha was cloudy, wet and cold and just didn’t have a good vibe. That meant I had to get to California if I wanted a chance to win some money and hang on to my spot in the top fifteen. But California put me about as far away from my pregnant wife as was possible.

My friend Sean Mulligan said I could ride his horse, Holly, in California. She’s nominated for AQHA Horse of the Year in Steer Wrestling this year. Chason Floyd, Tanner Brunner, Cole Edge, and Cameron Morman all ride her, too. Sean said he’d haze for me.

I went to the Omaha airport and caught a flight to Los Angeles. It’s about eighty miles from LAX to the San Bernardino rodeo grounds. It took us about three-and-a-half hours to drive it because of traffic. My nerves were fairly shot when we arrived.

photo by Matt Cohen

photo by Matt Cohen

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To make things a little more interesting, I was first out in steer wrestling. Normally, you like to be at least third out so you can see how it goes, but again, it didn’t happen how I’d planned. Sean did an amazing job hazing, and I was 4.5 and left winning second.

As soon as I was done with my run I caught an Uber back to LAX. Let’s just say he drove pretty fast, and I was able to make my 11:50 p.m. red-eye flight back to Dallas. I got into Dallas about 5:00 a.m. and started trying to find a ride to Apache, OK, for the 2:00 p.m. perf. I didn’t want to rent a car, because I’d be meeting up with Tyler Pearson in Oklahoma

Uber to the rescue again.

My Uber driver drove me about an hour and a half to meet up with two guys headed to Apache. It cost me seventy bucks, but it was easier in the long run. I met up with Tyler and our horses in Apache with some time to spare.

Apache is a different set up. They run your steer to you down a chute. It’s a little more Western, like the Pendleton Round-Up but without the grass. I was fourth out and 4.8 seconds. I left winning first, hoping that held. I needed the win.

Yesterday, I was up at Stephenville, my last rodeo of the year. I didn’t do any good. But by that point, I was mostly focused on flying home and being with Randa. In the past few days I’ve probably gotten ten total hours of sleep, but you don’t complain to an overdue pregnant woman about that!

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I left knowing that once our daughter arrived I wouldn’t get much sleep either, but I’m okay with that. Rodeo sets you up for life with a baby really well. Little to no sleep and lots of coffee!

And then early this morning, God answered our prayers. He sent me and Randa one of our biggest blessings, Ellie Marie Irwin. Both Mom and baby are doing great. Thanks for all the love and prayers.

As for making the NFR, I just hope the pieces fall into place.

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


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