The last time Resistol bulldogger Kyle Irwin qualified for the National Finals Rodeo in 2019, he was still in his 20s and was riding the Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year, Scooter, an athletic sorrel speedster he co-owned with friend Tyler Pearson.
He and his wife, Randa, were the parents of two, Tripp and Ellie. Life was grand, and he loved making a living in rodeo.
Life is still grand, and he still loves rodeo, but things have changed considerably for Irwin, originally from Robertsdale, Alabama, but now living in Westville, Florida, with his family.
“We have another addition to our family with Ike,” said Irwin, 32. “I’m also a couple years older.”
He laughed a little, but that’s more about Irwin’s personality than anything. Scooter is now retired, but Irwin has found an alternative in Sissy, a 12-year-old bay mare; she wasn’t the only mount Irwin used this year.
In fact, he utilized several horses this season, one in which he earned $98,354; he is ninth in the world standings and will return to the NFR for the sixth time in his career. He plans to ride another Horse of the Year in Curtis Cassidy’s Tyson once they arrive in Las Vegas for the championship, set for Dec. 1-10 at the Thomas & Mack Center.
“I bounded around a little this year, but I didn’t mind it,” Irwin said. “There are a lot of great horses out there now, and guys were decent enough to let me on. Tyson is a great horse. I’ve always liked his feel.”
That bodes well for the cowboy who moved to Oklahoma to attend college on rodeo scholarships. He first attended Western Oklahoma State College in Altus, then transferred to Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, which has since become known as the Bulldogging Capital of College Rodeo.