News Alabama Cowboy Rides High at NFR

Alabama Cowboy Rides High at NFR

Alabama Cowboy Rides High at NFR
March 1, 2024 |

By Tanner Hood

Banging chutes, bellowing cattle, loud music and flying dirt filled the air around Alabama cowboy Nelson Wyatt as he competed at the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR). 

Wyatt, a header in the team roping competition, didn’t let the bright lights of Las Vegas hinder his performance at the NFR in December.

“This is the biggest 10 days for us in a year,” said Wyatt of Clanton in Chilton County. “The stakes are high. I wanted to not get caught up in the moment and do my job.”

The job? Rope a cow by the horns or head and turn it across the arena for his partner, Jonathan Torres, to rope the feet in the quickest time possible. At the 2023 NFR, Wyatt and Torres did this 10 times over nine days against the 14 other best duos in the world.

Wyatt said encouragement from others pushes him through the tough moments.

“There are 14 other teams doing the same thing, and it makes it difficult to win,” Wyatt said. “I go back to the support I get from everywhere. It’s cool to feel everyone cheering from home with messages and calls.”

That backing is visible on Wyatt’s shirt every night in the form of a bright red, embroidered block patch. The Alfa logo represents home, said fellow Chilton County native Jimmy Parnell.

“We’re happy to support Wyatt and enjoy seeing the success he’s had,” said Parnell, a cattle farmer and president of the Alabama Farmers Federation and Alfa Insurance. “We’re thankful for his willingness to support Alabama farmers and promote them across the country.”

Nelson Wyatt, right, roped a steer in Round 9 of the 2023 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for partner Jonathan Torres, left. Wyatt is sponsored by Alfa Insurance. 

Wyatt’s success has been a long time in the making but isn’t surprising. His father taught him how to rope at a young age. Wyatt then competed in amateur and college rodeos until he moved to Texas in 2017 to begin rodeoing professionally. 

“I started later than most,” Wyatt said. “Out here, people start when they’re 18 and make the NFR early. I guess I’ve felt behind because of my late start.”

Despite the delay, Wyatt went on to win rookie of the year among headers in 2017, won big rodeos along the way and competed in his first NFR in 2020. NFR participants consist of the top 15 money-earners in their competition throughout the year. Wyatt entered the 2023 NFR at 3rd and went on to place in six rounds. He won Round 10. 

Even with all the success, Wyatt hasn’t forgotten his roots — and those who’ve always had his back. 

“It means a lot to have Alfa’s support and be part of the organization,” Wyatt said. “I’m appreciative to Alfa, and I’m pleased to represent them nationally.” 

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