2018 National Little Britches Association Finals

Rylen Sutherland's Fast Journey To A NLBRA World Championship

Rylen Sutherland's Fast Journey To A NLBRA World Championship

To win a world title just two years after starting is a feat, but what we didn’t know was just how Sutherland got that start in the steer wrestling.

Jul 19, 2018 by Katy Lucas
Rylen Sutherland's Fast Journey To A NLBRA World Championship

Just two years after he threw his first steer, Rylen Sutherland has become the 2018 National Little Britches Rodeo Association world champion steer wrestler. Sutherland has been competing in other events his entire life, but the steer wrestling seems like a natural fit for the 18-year-old.

Sutherland nodded his head at his first NLBRA finals in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and ended up winning the first round with a 5.0-second run, a great confidence booster for the newbie. 

“That really motivated me to keep going the rest of the week,” said Sutherland. “It helped me out with just thinking, ‘I know I can do it.’”

Rylen Sutherland NLBRA Steer Wrestling

Sutherland made it by a tougher steer in the second round, placing fifth with a 10.27-second run, and headed to the short round. 

“I knew he kind of set a little on the first go so I had to let him out a little further and I just got down early enough to get on by, and it all worked together great,” said Sutherland. 

“Great” is an understatement. The 4.86-second run was second place in the short round, fast enough for Sutherland to win the aggregate with a time of 20.13 on three, and rack up enough points in the world standings race to win the NLBRA world steer wrestling title. 

To win a world championship in anything just two years after starting is quite a feat, but what we didn’t know was just how he got that start in steer wrestling. For someone who is so clearly a natural at the event, it may surprise you. 

How Rylen Sutherland Got His Start

“It was two weekends before my finals rodeo for Kentucky when I was a junior,” Sutherland explained. “I was needing some extra points for all-around, so I took my heel horse and run past like eight or nine steers and then took him to a rodeo that weekend and threw a steer.”

Sutherland—and his heel horse—never looked back from there. The Benton, Kentucky, cowboy continues to advance his steer wrestling skills while competing in his original events of tie-down roping, team roping, and ribbon roping, and his ex-heel horse continues to run by, instead of turn in, on steers. 

“This is awesome, being able to win this early,” said Sutherland. “I’ve done other events my whole life and haven’t won a world championship yet, I’m looking forward to it and hopefully I will one of these days.”

The new graduate is also applying for an electrical apprenticeship at Paducah Electrical JATC.