LAS VEGAS – Cort Scheer doesn’t look like much of a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo rookie.
Scheer, 24, of Elsmere, Neb., has placed in six of nine saddle bronc riding go-rounds, including the last five. But his biggest move came Friday night, when he rode the Frontier Rodeo horse Let ’Er Rip for 85.5 points to win the ninth go-round and $17,512.
“I’ve seen that sucker a bunch of times,” said Scheer, who competed for rodeo programs at Garden City (Kan.) Community College, Montana State University and Oklahoma Panhandle State University. “He’s one of the most athletic horses, bar none, and that includes any roping horses out there. I felt real fortunate to get him.”
In all, Scheer has earned $51,689 in Las Vegas and has moved his season income past $134,000, easily the best of his four-year ProRodeo career. The strong run in his inaugural NFR is just icing on the cake.
“I’m blessed to be here,” said Scheer, who has shown off a big smile each night, even when he bucked off Frontier’s Wild Bill in the third round. “I just praise God that we get to do it. We have the ultimate life.”
But it’s not an easy life. Rodeo contestants travel about 100,000 miles a year chasing their gold buckle dreams, so there are expenses that go along with that. They don’t get paid unless they finish better than most.
Most of the time, cowboys will break even just trying to get to the NFR, the championship event each season. Heading into Saturday’s final go-round, Scheer has the sixth best cumulative total with 659 points on eight rides. If he remains in that position at the conclusion of the championship, he will add another $11,016.
But there is big money available in the Nevada desert, and Scheer collected the lion’s share of the round money Friday, and he credits Let ’Er Rip, named one of the top broncs in 2010.
“There ain’t a horse out there that you have to set your feet any faster,” Scheer said, referring to the spurring motion in which he sets the heels of his boots into the animal’s neck. “He’s just pure muscle.
“I’m happier than heck to win this round. This is what I’ve been wanting to do since I got here.”