Wyatt Denny narrowly made the cut to qualify for his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) this year. He finished the season in 15th place, $2,789 ahead of Bill Tutor from Huntsville, Texas. Wyatt, from Minden, Nev., was last year’s bareback riding rookie of the year. That was a career highlight until last June when he earned the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association championship in Casper, Wyo.
Then, a late season push saw him move into the top 15 of the world standings and have a life-long ambition of riding in the Thomas and Mack Center come true. Wyatt is the youngest of three boys that are ranch raised and used to doing everything. In high school he competed in every event in rodeo and still enjoys team roping whenever he gets a chance.
He won the college championship for Feather River College last June and his traveling partner and teammate Clayton Biglow finished second. Clayton also qualified here and won this year’s Rookie title. Their coach there was Jesse Segura. He moved to Western Nevada College in Fallon, Nev., and both Clayton and Wyatt moved with him.
Wyatt competed here in 2014 at the PRCA’s Permit Holder Challenge of the Year at the South Point Equestrian Center. Last year he got to go out onto the arena floor to receive his buckle for winning the rookie title. This year, thanks to that $2,789 won during the last six weeks of the season, he will be coming out of the famed yellow bucking chutes as one of the best bareback riders in the world.
Favorite movie: Your Highness – When they made the video it was supposed to be a medieval movie about two guys going to save a girl. The lead actors got together and turned it into a comedy. It’s hilarious
Favorite current TV show: Arrow. It’s about a guy who was shipwrecked on an island. After he’s rescued he tries to save his city from corruption. He turns into a vigilante armed with a bow and arrow. It’s pretty intense.
Dogs or cats: Dogs. I’m not a cat guy.
Favorite dessert: That would be rocky road ice cream.
Favorite card or board game: I don’t play many games.
Favorite sport, other than rodeo: Skiing – I go whenever I get a chance.
If you weren’t in rodeo, what would you be doing: It’s hard to say. I don’t really know. I think about it all the time. Rodeo is all I’ve ever done. I’ve gone to a rodeo nearly every weekend since I was 13. I’ve maybe had a month of weekends off in that time. No matter what I end up doing, it would definitely be outside.
Best gift you ever received: It would have to be the first bareback rigging. It’s safe to say that’s where this all started. I had an old one that a guy loaned me and then my parents got me my own.
Favorite thing you like about Las Vegas: The environment here is so special. And even more now that I’m in the NFR it’s even more special. I love Vegas.
Historical figure you’d most like to meet: Casey Tibbs – That would be awesome.
What do you like to do in your spare time: Work out, ride my bike. We do some rock climbing on the road. That’s fun stuff. It gets us outdoors and we get to see some really cool sights.
My role model is: I have a lot of people that I look up to. It would be hard to pick just one.
What would people be surprised to learn about you: I have no front teeth and it didn’t happen in the rodeo arena. I was sleep walking at home and fell off the balcony. I lost my three front teeth and woke up in a hurry.
Best travel partner: Clayton Biglow. We have a lot in common. Everything I like to do, he likes to do. It’s good when the people you travel with are fun havers and we have a lot of fun.
Music: All kinds of music. Rock, Rap – anything with a good beat that pumps me up. I listen to old style, outlaw country too.
Favorite bucking horse: Make up Face of C5 Rodeos. He is the hardest bucking horse I’ve ever been on. He got me down at Strathmore, Alberta, so I sure would like to get on him again.
Rodeo on your bucket list to win: It would have to be the Reno Rodeo. So close to home and grew up going there.
How did you get your middle name Norman: That came from my dad.
If you could live anywhere where would it be: I love it where I live and will probably always live there. But I really like it around Heppner, Oregon too.
Best thing about being a little brother: All the picking they did on me made me tougher.
Facebook or Twitter: I’m not really a social media guy, but I do use Facebook. I much prefer to talk to people in person.