Las Vegas, NV – Kyle Irwin, rookie from Robertsdale, Alabama, won Round 3 in steer wrestling after sharing the win last night and earning a fifth-place check on opening night. He leads the average with 10.9 seconds on three steers, and moved into third place in the world standings, just $12,348 behind leader Nick Guy.

“It’s a little bit surreal,” said Kyle who earned $19,002 with the Round 3 win. “I also don’t mean this (to sound) arrogantly, but I always knew if I got here, I would at least try and win first every night. I’m going to try and go as fast as I can with the opportunity I have and the steers that I have. Hopefully, I will make no mistakes and the rest will take care of itself.”

Irwin, who is making his Finals debut, is just the second steer wrestler from Alabama to qualify for the WNFR, after Victor Deck (1996-97), who tied for one round win.

Irwin just missed breaking the Round 3 steer wrestling record at the WNFR. The late Ricky Huddleston holds that mark with a 3.1-second time in 1985. Steve Duhon (1986) and Bryan Fields (2001) share the WNFR record at 3.0 seconds.

Irwin was riding Sketch, a horse owned by Tyler Pearson, and gave much of the credit to the horse.  Tyler Pearson is also Irwin’s hazer.  Tyler did an excellent job last night guiding the steer into position for Irwin.

“He got me the win at the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo (in Guthrie, Okla.),” Irwin said. “I’ve been riding that horse since October of 2013 and I sure like him.”

The 56th annual Wrangler NFR continues Sunday with the fourth round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. (PT) with Jeff Medders and Butch Knowles announcing.

Wrangler National Finals Rodeo

Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas

Round 3, Dec. 6

Steer wrestling: 1. Kyle Irwin, Robertsdale, Ala., 3.2 seconds, $19,002; 2. Cole Edge, Durant, Okla., 3.8, $15,018; 3. Luke Branquinho, Los Alamos, Calif., 3.9, $11,340; 4. Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alberta, 4.0, $7,969; 5. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 4.2, $4,904; 6. Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., 4.4, $3,065; 7. (tie) K.C. Jones, Decatur, Texas, and Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 4.6 each; 9. Seth Brockman, Wheatland, Wyo., 4.9; 10. Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas, 5.1; 11. Casey Martin, Sulphur, La., 5.8; 12. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 6.8; 13. Dru Melvin, Hebron, Neb., 10.2; 14. (tie) Bray Armes, Ponder, Texas, and Wyatt Smith, Rexburg, Idaho, NT. World standings: 1. Nick Guy, $113,001; 2. Luke Branquinho, $107,521; 3. Kyle Irwin, $100,653; 4. Trevor Knowles, $96,707; 5. Casey Martin, $96,522; 6. K.C. Jones, $82,055; 7. Bray Armes, $80,249; 8. Clayton Hass, $76,576; 9. Cole Edge, $72,424; 10. Dru Melvin, $67,832; 11. Curtis Cassidy, $65,418; 12. Ty Erickson, $63,503; 13. Dakota Eldridge, $63,015; 14. Wyatt Smith, $57,188; 15. Seth Brockman, $52,933.