By Ellen Cook - Jan. 11, 2020
The name Bingham goes with bulls like chips go with salsa. And like a good spicy salsa, Tyler Bingham of Howell, formerly of Honeyville, has proven to be one of the hottest up and coming bullriders in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association. To underscore that fact, he just finished out the 2019 rodeo season ranked fourth in the world. At the 10-day National Finals Rodeo held in December in Las Vegas, his second trip in as many years, Tyler stayed on six of his 10 bulls, leaving him fourth in the average there, as well.
To reach that level, the hometown cowboy spent 2019 traveling the United States and Canada, hitting as many as ten rodeos a month. “I went to 127 rodeos all together,” he said, meaning he was away from home and his wife, Jerica, for most of the year.
“I leave about the second or third week of January and come home around the first of April,” he said. “April and May are kind of slower months, but in July we only had four days off total the entire month. June was about the same. August and September are similar.”
Hitting the rodeo road that hard can have its drawbacks, but, according to Tyler, it is a necessity if you want to be ranked at the top. “Any given time there are 40 cowboys who are good enough to make it to the finals.,” he said. While he doesn’t want to see any of his competition buck off or fail, “I just need to ride better than they do,” he reasoned, and that take dedication, determination and a drive to win. Tyler has all three.
Bullriding has been at the center of Tyler’s life since he was just seven years old. He and his older brother, Tim, got started with mini bulls and then eventually graduated to high school, college and then to the professional circuit, winning titles all along the way.
Tyler hoped to have a friendly sibling rivalry at this year’s NFR, but a broken collarbone in August sidelined the older Bingham and prevented him from competing at the finals for a fourth year.
Luckily for the 25-year-old Tyler, his season was relatively injury-free. “Just a couple of broken ribs, small things, nothing serious,” he shrugged. He hopes the two brothers are listed in the top 15 come next November, the magical number when it comes to being cream of the cowboy crop.
Each bullrider in the PRCA is ranked according to the amount of money he earns at any sanctioned rodeo during the year. The higher each cowboy scores on an eight-second ride, the more money goes into the win column. A buck-off means no score and no money.
Tyler said last year seemed a little sluggish. “I felt like it started out really slow. Looking back, though, I was in the top 15 the entire year. I never fell out of the top 15. But it was just staying the same. Every time I’d win money, everyone else around me won money.”
He said June was when things really picked up. “It was then I started winning a bunch of money.” He went into the finals ranked fifth, with $127,527 in regular season earnings. After taking third in the first round with a 90-point ride, he couldn’t quite make the whistle in rounds two and three. An 80 scored in round four left him out of the money, but a score of 89 in round five had him splitting third and fourth. He was fifth in round six, scoring 87.
Being just one of three to ride in round eight, Tyler’s score of 83 put him in third and the winnings were beginning to build. He fell short in round nine then finished up big in the last round with an 86.50 and another third-place win.
He walked away with just under $246,400 in earnings, a little behind his traveling partner, Oklahoma cowboy Sage Kimzey, who garnered $480,797 to take the top spot. Tyler will be the first to admit he was pretty happy with his paycheck.
He said he couldn’t compete at the level he is if it weren’t for the support he gets from his family, his friends and his team of sponsors, which includes local businesses, King Farms Trucking and Lincoln Financial. He is also backed by Redd Roofing out of Ogden and Circle F Farms from Hooper. Nocona Boots and Kimes Ranch Jeans are nationally ranked sponsors, as is his newest backer, Alpha Drilling out of Oregon.
Those sponsors help with vehicle, clothing and boot expenses, but don’t pay the $220 average entry fee Tyler doles out for each rodeo. “It seems like every Monday I pay the PRCA about $1,800. So, if you’re not staying on, it gets really expensive in a hurry,” he said. “Most people are good with just making enough to pay their expenses. I always want to win a little more so I can cover my bills at home, too. So far it’s working out.”
With the 2020 rodeo year already underway, Tyler’s goal is to have it continue to “work out.” He hopes to stay healthy and do even better than this year’s fourth place NFR finish. “My plans are to rodeo hard again and try to place even higher in the world. I left myself with three more spots I can move up.”