Ty Erickson earns top marks at Ram Montana Circuit Finals
Consider Ty Erickson as the cowboy sport’s equivalent of Matt Barkley.
Like the Southern California quarterback, Erickson has amply demonstrated he is ready to move on to compete full-time as a professional – his second Montana Circuit Finals steer wrestling title Jan. 15 is the latest evidence – and yet he feels he has unfinished business on his college campus.
“I want to go to school and I want to finish up,” Erickson, a Montana State junior majoring in business marketing, told the Great Falls Tribune. “After that I want to go a little harder and try to make the finals (Wrangler National Finals Rodeo).”
A former basketball player at Helena’s Capital High School, he has the athleticism and the size at 6-5, 235 pounds to be a major factor in his event for years to come. He was thoroughly dominant in the Montana Circuit all year and at the Ram Montana Circuit Finals Rodeo (RMCFR) in Great Falls, Jan. 13-15.
With a rodeo-best time of 3.8 seconds in the final round, Erickson finished 4.2 seconds ahead of runner-up Bode Scott (13.5 to 17.7) in the three-head average standings.
Erickson also won the Montana Circuit year-end title in a runaway. He had season earnings of $18,477, a bit more than $10,000 ahead of second place Shawn Downing, who will travel with him to the Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo (RNCFR) this spring.
A year ago, Erickson won the year-end title as a permit holder before going on to become the leading money winner in his event at the RNCFR in Oklahoma City, OK and the Resistol PRCA Steer Wrestling Rookie of the Year.
His first Montana Circuit title was a bit tougher to nail down, given that he had a largely unsuccessful debut in the RMCFR last year.
“Yeah, man, this year just went so much better for me,” Erickson said. “That one year of experience really helped.”
Walt Anseth, also of Helena, was leading the average entering the third-round, but he missed his steer.
“(At that point) I just wanted to be sharp and clean, and not make any stupid mistakes. It was the perfect ending to the season.”
Jake Costello won the saddle bronc riding average title with 215 points on three head and claimed his seventh Montana Circuit year-end crown, tying the record set by ProRodeo Hall of Fame inductee Dan Mortensen.
“It’s an honor to be mentioned in the same sentence as (Mortensen),” Costello said. “He’s got lots of titles going on, that guy does.”
The other champions at the Four Seasons Arena were bareback rider Tyler Nelson (242 points on three head), team ropers Jason Handy and John Robertson (24.0 seconds on three head), tie-down roper Dustin Bird (39.2 seconds on three head), bull rider Beau Hill (235 points on three head) and barrel racer Theresa Walter (39.88 seconds on three runs). Bode Scott claimed the all-around title with $6,215 in steer wrestling and tie-down roping.