“I enjoy going to Tucson every year,” Larsen said. “It’s a great rodeo and they treat us very well there. It’s definitely one of my top wins. It’s pretty special for me.”
Larsen will never forget the final weekend of February 2016. He won the San Antonio (Texas) Stock Show & Rodeo Feb. 27 and backed it up with the win in Tucson. He earned $29,033 at the two rodeos.
“I feel really fortunate and blessed to have the horses I drew the last two weeks,” Larsen said. “It was just a great experience.”
The money will certainly come in handy. Larsen and his girlfriend, Alexa Minch, are settling down in Gering, Neb., where she has a job as a nurse.
“We just bought a house a couple of days ago,” he said with a laugh, “so the money will be gone pretty quick.”
In Tucson, Larsen won the final round when he rode for 84 points on Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Wonderland. That clinched the average with 164 points on two head.
“That was the third time I’ve been on him,” Larsen said of Wonderland. “I’d never really had any luck on him. I tried to ‘man up’ on him; he’s really strong coming out (of the chute). I guess the third time was a charm, and I got some redemption.”
Larsen, 24, who is from Inglis, Manitoba, rodeoed for three years for the College of Southern Idaho (Twin Falls), where he earned an associate degree in welding while qualifying twice for the College National Finals Rodeo. He also attended one year at Oklahoma Panhandle State University (Goodwell), during which he won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association bareback riding championship in 2013.
In 2015, both Orin and his brother, Tyrel, qualified for their first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER. Tyrel is a saddle bronc rider who finished 13th in the PRCA world standings, while Orin was 12th in bareback riding.
Orin Larsen said his first WNFR experience in Las Vegas was electrifying.
“There was a lot of emotion running through that locker room,” he said, referring to the bareback riders’ room in the Thomas & Mack Center. “I was excited and nervous. I didn’t have the Finals I wanted to, so I’m looking forward to doing better this year.”
He won $32,529 at the Finals, while finishing 12th in the average. Now, he leads the PRCA bareback riding world standings with $48,267.
Other winners at the $317,989 rodeo were all-around cowboy Kyle Lucas ($5,188 in tie-down roping and team roping), steer wrestler Joshua Clark (14.1 seconds on three head), team ropers Zac Small and Wesley Thorp (19.6 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Charlie Kogianes (164 points on two head), tie-down roper Ryan Jarrett (30.7 seconds on three head), barrel racer Mary Walker (52.68 seconds on three head) and bull rider Walker Greynolds (159.5 points on two head).