Both Tristan and Wyatt Coyle are quiet, unassuming boys; upon meeting them you’d never guess their consuming passion for bull riding and saddle bronc competition. Tristan has been involved for six years, half of his whole life! A few weeks ago, Tristan won the title of IMRA (International Miniature Rodeo Association) Junior Bull Riding Champion.
With that win, Tristan qualified for the junior NFR (National Finals Rodeo) to be held December 7-10 in Las Vegas. The entire U.S., Canada and Australia are divided into seven regions. Each region is able to send the top three in their region to Vegas. Tristan placed first in his age division in his large region which spreads to the East Coast and is the only person from Minnesota to move on to Vegas.
The NFR is considered the Super Bowl of rodeo for both the adult and junior levels — the ultimate competition to strive to reach.
Before heading to Vegas, Tristan and Wyatt will both compete November 25 in Waukon, Iowa. Practice leading up to nationals will look the same as usual with perhaps a little bit of extra practice.
On a typical day, both Tristan and Wyatt practice for about an hour. They use a drop barrel, which is a metal barrel with a long handle. One of the boys rides the barrel while the other uses the long handle to simulate a bucking action and tries to buck the other off. Then they switch places and continue. This helps them develop the core balance needed for bull riding.
The boys’ grandpa, Don Bunke, built them a spur board to practice saddle bronc movements on. Wyatt personally prefers saddle bronc competition because it is faster. An essential for saddle bronc riding is coordination. Even when the boys watch TV, they continue to work on their balance as they sit on a big exercise ball and use their arm and hand movements to help maintain their center of gravity.
The Coyle family has been involved in rodeo competitions for a long time. Mom Lori first began with barrel racing and has competed at rodeos for 14 years; Dad Taylor grew up around horses and rode bulls for a while before he got into supplying bucking bulls for the competitions. Currently, Taylor owns 25 head of bucking bulls.
While some people think the boys have an unfair advantage because of this, Lori assured that this was not the case. The boys do not practice on the live bulls, but rather use their practice equipment in the basement. The family goes to rodeos almost every Friday, Saturday and Sunday year round. Different rodeo associations provide the opportunity to compete in different seasons.
Both Mom and Dad simply support their boys in whatever they want to do. Lori also works full-time for CHS, Inc. in agronomy; Taylor hauls livestock all over and is gone the whole week on the road.
A normal day for Wyatt and Tristan includes going to school; 12-year-old Tristan is in the seventh grade and 10-year-old Wyatt is in fifth grade at Rushford-Peterson. After completing their homework after school and doing their chores of feeding the horses, bulls, chickens, turkeys and dogs, they get in their practice time. They still make time for other hobbies such as hitting golf balls
and hunting deer, ducks and squirrels.
When asked what they like best about bronco and bull riding, both Tristan and Wyatt exclaimed, “The adrenalin!”
On the weekends when the boys aren’t personally competing at the rodeos, they enjoy just hanging out with their rodeo friends.
Bronco and bull riding require some special equipment — a padded safety vest, a helmet, chaps and boots. For bull riding they also need a glove and a rope; saddle bronc riding requires a saddle, halter, and hack rein.
Even more importantly, a good bull rider needs lots of practice, good balance and lots of confidence to get on the back of a 750- to 1200-pound bull in the chute and attempt to stay on it for eight long seconds.
Tristan and Wyatt have ridden bulls and broncos in Minnesota, North Dakota, Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois, Florida and Nevada, but ride primarily in Iowa. This year they competed at both the Fillmore and Houston County Fairs.
Getting involved in bull and saddle bronc riding is a little hard in our area. Mom Lori shared that they have had a couple kids come up to them at rodeos and ask how to get started. The hardest part is finding an arena with practice bulls.
A cabinet in their living room full of prize belt buckles won at rodeos attests to the boys’ success in their passion. Wyatt has been competing since he was six just like Tristan and has his own share of trophy buckles.
The Coyle brothers are sure to make their mark for years to come as they chase their passion and the adrenaline of bull and saddle bronc riding. Good luck to Tristan in Vegas in December and to both Wyatt and Tristan in the years and competitions to come!