LAS VEGAS – With two nights remaining in the 2012 ProRodeo season, Justin McDaniel knows exactly what he has to do.
“I just need ride my horses the best I can,” said McDaniel, the 2008 world champion bareback rider from Porum, Okla. “There’s a lot of money we can win in the rounds, so I’ll try my best over the next two nights and see what happens.”
On Thursday night, McDaniel rode Kesler Rodeo’s Mile Away for 80 points, finishing in a tie for sixth place in the eighth go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. So far, the five-time NFR qualifier has earned $15,312. It marked the third time at this year’s championship he has earned a round check.
In addition to the gold buckle, McDaniel is a two-time NFR average champion, finishing the 10-round slugfest with the best cumulative score. This December, he sits sixth in the average; if he remains in that position, he’ll add a check worth $11,484. But he’s within range of moving up in the average standings.
He’s just a point and a half behind the fourth-place cowboy, four-time world champion Bobby Mote; fourth place pays $22,085.
“Every night, you ride for first place,” McDaniel said. “You can win $18,000 a night. If you ride to win, you give yourself the best shot every night.”