BATON ROUGE, LA - World champion steer wrestler Tyler Waguespack always wanted to be like Mike. And when he was little Michael Jordan may have been the biggest sports icon on the planet, but he had his eyes on his dad, Mike Waguespack a bull dogger himself.
"Whenever I'd go to the rodeos with my Dad, I mean whenever I was sitting on the fence, a little kid watching him compete, I mean that's who I wanted to win," said Tyler who started as a toddler. "I wanted to be like him, or better!"
At age 26 Waguespack is now the biggest name in his specialty, but the Gonzales native is definitely not the biggest competitor, despite taking home the title at the 2016 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last December.
"When we started Tyler he was small," said Waguespack. "He's still small compared to most of these guys he competes against. I told him then (when he was a kid) 'We're going to teach you small, but you can't cut any corners. You have to do it right."
Tyler says his father, who didn't stop steer wrestling himself until he was 55, has worked just as hard as he has to make his dream of becoming a champion a reality. And he's gone to extremes at times.
"He's been behind me a hundred percent of the way. Anything I needed, any help he could give me. I can still remember the first time practicing here with Dad. We had just a little bitty small calf. My dad taped PVC pipe across his head so he had enough horns that I could throw him," recalls Tyler.
And after practicing every day for two months, he earned the gold buckle at the NFR, symbolic of the Top Gun in professional rodeo for 2016, with his dad there with him every step of the way.