Ty Erickson chasing Guymon title

Clayton Biglow scored an 86.5 on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Bar Code to grab the lead in the bareback competition at the 85th Guymon Pioneer Days rodeo on Friday evening at Hitch Pioneer Arena. Today’s performances are 2 and 7:30 p.m., with the final performance Sunday at 2 p.m. (Shawn Yorks/staff)
Special Report

Ty Erickson is coming off the best regular season of his career, where he won $93,000.

He’s bettered that already in 2017, and it’s early May; there are still five months and dozens of lucrative rodeos ahead of him before the campaign closes Sept. 30.

“It’s been weird, honestly,” said Erickson, a three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier from Helena, Mont. “I’ve been very fortunate, because I’ve done pretty well at every big rodeo we’ve gone to.”

As of Friday night, he had earned more than $97,000 wrestling steers in ProRodeo. That includes $1,529 he earned in the first round of the Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo. He’ll likely add to it by weekend’s end, thanks in large part to his third-round run on the opening performance of Guymon’s Hall of Fame rodeo.

Erickson wrestled his steer to the ground in 4.0 seconds; that, combined with his previous two runs, gives the Montana cowboy a three-run cumulative time of 13.0 seconds and a huge lead in the race to the average championship. He will now await the remaining three performances to see where he finishes his few days in the Oklahoma Panhandle.

“Any rodeo you can win – whether it’s Guymon, Oklahoma; Helena, Montana; or San Antonio, Texas – each one you can win is pretty special,” he said. “There are so many good bulldoggers in the PRCA that it’s hard to win a rodeo, much less a check at a ProRodeo.”

He got a little help from Outlaw, a horse owned by his traveling partner, Tyler Wageuspack, the reigning world champion steer wrestler.

“We’ve been riding him at a lot of places this summer, and he’s been working great everywhere,” Erickson said. “I rode him every round in Guymon. I think I’ll get a decent check in the average, but we’ll see; there are a lot of good bulldoggers yet to go.”

Still, he set a solid mark with his aggregate score.

“There are so many good guys that still have to go that can be just as fast, so you just have to go at every one of them,” he said.

One of those is Wageuspack, who is 9.0 seconds on two runs. After his race to the gold buckle last year, the Louisiana bulldogger sits second behind Erickson. The difference, however, is about $35,000. The tandem also travels with Clayton Hass, who finished the 2016 season as the reserve world champion all-around cowboy.

“Having a good group of guys that you travel with is really important,” Erickson said. “If a guy’s not doing as well that weekend, you’ve got the other two there picking him up. It helps a guy win, too, and it’s been a lot of fun.”

It’s been profitable, too.