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by Bobby Stapleton
To say that the last year has been good to Tyler Lewis would be quite the understatement. Lewis, a 2011 Calico Rock graduate, has had things go right.
In June, Lewis qualified for the College National Finals Rodeo and came away as the Reserve Champion, missing the Championship by a mere six points. That was an amazing feat in itself, as Lewis had been in a slump, not having covered a bull in almost two months. After making it back home and lamenting about how close he had come to the CNRF Championship and the automatic entry into Cheyenne’s Frontier Day Rodeo, Lewis got a surprise package that helped ease the sting. A package arrived notifying him that he was also named Rookie of the Year in bullriding for the CNFR, along with a $500 scholarship and gift certificates from Cinch.
After the college rodeo season was over, Lewis turned his attention to the International Professional Rodeo Association, IPR, and the Arkansas Cowboys Association, ACA. Lewis had missed the 2014 IFR by a mere 200 plus dollars, and even led the bullriding most of the summer that year in the ACA. Lewis was the ACA Bullriding Rookie of the Year in 2008 and had made the finals every year except for 2015. In order to qualify for the ACA Finals, you have to have won money in the ACA and make a minimum of eight rodeos. In 2015, Lewis had only made seven rodeos and was not qualified, even though he had won enough money.
During the summer, Lewis kept things going his way as he got engaged to Savannah Henley, a Salem graduate who is also attending ASU in Jonesboro.
On their way to a rodeo in Jasper, Henley was going over the upcoming ACA rodeos helping Lewis plan out his goal at reaching the ACA finals. Lewis had decided to buy his card at Jasper that weekend so he could chase the ACA in hopes of making his way into the finals, since it was a mere five minutes from his apartment at Jonesboro where he is attending ASU majoring in Agri Education.
After buying his card at Jasper, Lewis bucked off that night. That would be the last time for a while as Lewis hit a hot streak like no other, only bucking off one more bull over the next two months, putting him into first place heading into the finals with a $1,300 lead. With the added money at the ACA Finals, Lewis knew he was not safe and would have to keep riding to win the Championship. On Friday night, Lewis rode a Cline Hall bull for a second place win, but the person chasing him for the Championship had won the go round. Saturday would tell the tale as Lewis withstood the challenge and claimed the 2016 ACA Bullriding Championship.
Lewis’ good year is not over by far, as he and Henley will tie the knot December 3.
Congratulations Tyler.

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