Tarleton State University tie-down roper, CNFR qualifier driven to success

Tarleton State University tie-down roper Wyatt Williams is set to make his second appearance at the College National Finals Rodeo later this month in Casper, Wyo. (Facebook photo)
STEPHENVILLE (June 1, 2018) — Wyatt Williams is a go-getter, so it should come as no surprise the Tarleton State University tie-down roper qualified for the 2018 College National Finals Rodeo in Casper, Wyo.

He graduated from high school in Glenns Ferry, Idaho, with enough college credits for an associate’s degree. That was after a stellar prep sports career that included letters in football, where he was twice an all-state quarterback, basketball and track.

In fact, he had several offers to play college football.

“I could have gone to Boise State,” he said. “There were some offers from some Utah schools, several Division II schools.”

Rodeo, not football, was his passion.

“I never regretted the decision (to quit football),” he said. “I had reconstructive surgery on my shoulder when I was 16, kind of a wear-and-tear deal. I picked up a football this spring and tried to throw it, and it hurt. I think I made the right decision.”

Williams carried his drive into college rodeo at Boise State, where he won the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Northwest Region tie-down roping championship a season ago, earning his first trip to Casper.

Still, joining the Tarleton rodeo team had been a dream of his since high school.

“I’ve always been interested in going here,” he said. “I had a lot of scholarship money in Idaho, so I stayed a year. I talked to Tarleton Rodeo Coach Mark Eakin about coming last summer, and we all made it work out. It’s been a blessing ever since.”

Not surprisingly, Wyatt comes from a family of high achievers in the rodeo world. Both his parents, his dad a bull rider and his mom a breakaway roper, qualified for the CNFR and became professionals.

“I grew up around it,” he said. “I love it.”

He took ninth place in the NIRA Southwest Region in 2018, finishing second at the Ranger College Rodeo in Sweetwater, sixth at both Texas Tech and Odessa College, and seventh at Frank Phillips College.

Experience from last year’s run at the CNFR, along with a strong second half in the 2017-18 regular season, has his confidence level high.

“I think having been there last year puts me in a lot better mindset,” he said. “I know more about what I’m getting into. I’m going about it like any other rodeo. Just another 4-head jackpot roping.

“I’m in a pretty good place. I’ve been roping pretty good this spring.”

He is set to graduate in December with a bachelor’s degree in communications/public relations before beginning work on a master’s degree at Tarleton.

But rodeo is still “Plan A.”

“After that, just keep rodeoing with my degree as a backup plan,” he said.

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