Former Odessa College cowboy Ty Wallace came within eight seconds of winning a world championship.
Wallace finished second in the Pro Rodeo Cowboys Association bull riding world standings in a competition that wasn’t decided until Saturday’s final round at the National Finals Rodeo in Arlington. Wallace totaled $256,599.21, just $11,342.32 behind Stetson Wright, who claimed the title after the average money was added in.
Wright, of Milford, Utah, also finished seventh in saddle bronc and was the runaway all-around winner with $337,725.22.
Wallace entered the final performance Globe Life Field in first place and was in position to clinch his title with one more qualified ride. Wallace won or shared first place in three go-rounds and had two other scoring rides.
“The first two rounds, it kind of took me a couple to get in a groove, I guess,” Wallace said. “I just kind of went back to basics and I’ve drawn some really good bulls and it’s been working. I’m having fun and letting things happen.”
Wallace held a lead of just $81.75 over Wright after Friday. Wright won four rounds in bull riding. His win in the seventh round Wednesday cut Wallace’s lead to $81.75 before Wallace tied for first in Thursday’s eighth round for a lead of $26,312.52. Wright won Friday’s round to again close the gap.
Another former Odessa College cowboy, Ky Hamilton, finished fourth in the world standings at $201,831.17. Hamilton was in first place earlier in the week before Wallace moved in front.
After failing to score in the first two rounds, Wallace caught fire over the next four. He placed second in the third round with a ride of 88.5 points to move into second place in the season standings, won the next two rounds with rides of 89.5 and 91.5, and then took over first place in the standings by tying for third in the sixth round. The four-day run boosted his earnings by $108,097.
“Those bulls fit me,” Wallace said. “They bucked really hard. I’ve just got to keep it simple and keep staying on. That’s my goal.”
Wallace was able to post such scores despite never having been on any of those bulls before.
“I don’t think you have an advantage any way,” he said. “We go all year and might get on only one or two bulls that we’ve ever been on. There’s so many bulls any more that we hardly ever see the same one a lot unless he’s really good.
“You’ve just got to stick your hand in there and go at him. On every one, you have to have the same mentality.”
Wallace rodeoed at Odessa College for two years, finishing fifth in bull riding at the College National Finals Rodeo as a freshman in 2013. He said the tutelage he received from Odessa College coaches Jim Watkins and C.J. Aragon is why he’s having the success he is.
“They were a pretty big part of my career when I showed up there,” Wallace said. “What they’ve done for me, I’m where I’m at because they gave me a good foundation where I started.”
Wallace reached the NFR for the third time in four years in 2017, finishing third in the world standings with $305,352, before injuries derailed his next two seasons. He ranked 90th in last year’s standings in limited action.
“I think a lot of it is staying healthy,” Wallace said of this year’s success. “I haven’t been very healthy the last two years. I made the Finals in 2017, but that was the last time. Since then, I’ve just been hurt.
“Staying healthy and keeping a good, positive attitude and having fun have probably been the most important things.”
Wallace grew up at Collbran, Colorado, but moved to Ardmore, Oklahoma, two years ago.
“It just kind of fell in my lap,” he said. “I’d been looking for some place in North Texas and couldn’t afford anything there. So I went across the state line and found a horse place that was reasonable. I’m a hundred miles from Oklahoma City and a hundred miles from Dallas, so it’s really convenient to fly in and out of there. Where I was in Colorado, it was 3½ hours to Denver.
“It’s just a good place to be. It’s a lot warmer. You don’t have to fight the snow and the weather as much. For what I do other than riding bulls, there’s just so much more opportunity there.”
Having a home base and other business interests led Wallace to cut back on his rodeo schedule this year
“I don’t travel nearly as much as when I was younger,” he said. “I try to be home as much as I possibly can. Once you do find the right place, it’s a lot nicer to be home.”
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