CALGARY, Alberta, Canada — Robertsdale’s Kyle Irwin took home the $100,000 prize edging out Louisiana’s Jacob Talley to win the steer wrestling competition at the Calgary Stampede on Sunday, July 14 in Calgary, Alberta, Canada.
“This is kind of lifechanging for us,” Irwin said in an interview with the Wrangler Network, “this kind of money and these wins.”
After finishing atop the Pool B standings through four rounds of competition, with times of 4.1, 3.5, 3.6 and 4.5 seconds in competition July 9-12, Irwin joined an all-Southeastern final in the steer wrestling competition on Sunday with Tally of Keatchie, Louisiana, Will Lummins of West Point, Mississippi, and Tyler Waguespack of Gonzalez, Louisiana.
“We were all out back, the four of us talking and then it kind of clicked,” Irwin said, “that we’re all four from the Southeast and grew up competing against each other, so that made it a lot of fun. These guys are going to take a chance, they push you to be your best and that’s what makes it so much fun.”
After finishing third in Sunday’s first go with a time of 4.3 seconds, Irwin set a blistering pace in the final round of competition with a 3.8, edging out Talley’s 4.1 seconds. Talley finished the first round with a time of 3.8 seconds. Lummins finished third with a 5.0 (4.4 first go), while Waguespack was fourth at 13.4 after topping the standings in the first go with a 3.6 second run.
Billed as “The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth,” the 10-day event attracts more than 1 million visitors per year and features one of the world’s largest rodeos, a parade, midway, stage shows, concerts, agricultural competitions, chuckwagon racing and First Nations exhibitions.
In 2008, the Calgary Stampede was inducted into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame.
The event's roots go back to 1886 when the Calgary and District Agricultural Society held its first fair. In 1912, American promoter Guy Weadick organized his first rodeo and festival, known as the Stampede. He returned to Calgary in 1919 to organize the Victory Stampede in honor of soldiers returning from World War I. Weadick’s festival became an annual event in 1923 when it merged with the Calgary Industrial Exhibition to create the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede (source: Wikipedia.com).
A 2008 graduate of Robertsdale High School, Irwin won the Alabama state high school championship twice and finished once as reserve champion.
He joined the National Finals Rodeo circuit in 2011, finishing 107th in the National standings, fourth in the rookie standings, after winning the NIRA Central Plains Region titles in 2010 and 2012 as an amateur and qualifying for the College National Finals Rodeo four times.
He finished fourth in the world standings while finishing third at the Wrangler NFR in 2017 with a 10-go cumulative time of 46.6 seconds. In 2018, he was 12th in the world standings while finishing 11th at the Wrangler NFR.