LAS VEGAS – To be one of the elite saddle bronc riders in the world, cowboys must be able to handle any kind of horse.
On Friday night during the second round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, they were tested by the nastiest bucking beasts in the game – horses that are so hard to ride, they’re called eliminators. How tough were the broncs? Of the 15 guys in the competition, only six stayed on for the qualifying eight seconds.
Cort Scheer was one of them, riding through the rank moves of Rafter H Rodeo’s Spade for 87 points to finish in second place in the go-round. He won $14,724, pushing his NFR earnings to $25,841 – that’s the most of any bronc rider competing in Las Vegas. More importantly, the Elsmere, Neb., cowboy has moved to the No. 3 spot in the world standings with eight rounds remaining.
“I was real happy with the way it turned out,” said Scheer, who mounted Spade for the first time in his career. “I’ve seen that horse a lot. I’ve seen him rip bareback riders’ arms off. I was dang sure nervous as heck. You just have to get through those first moves at the start. Once you do, I know he’s really good.
“He feels really good, but he’s hard to get started on.”
Spade has the early moves that tend to push a cowboy’s stirrups back, which gives the horse a big advantage. Oftentimes when bronc riders buck off, it’s because their feet slip back behind them, and they are bucked off over the top of the big black horse. Scheer, though, took care of business.
“I believe you can ride anything,” he said. “It’s about getting your mind right. Whatever doubts you have in your mind, you just have to throw it out.
“When you get to the eliminator pen, they’re huge, fire-breathing rascals, so to get through that night the way we did was awesome.”
Placing in the first two rounds of ProRodeo’s grand finale is a great way to start the rugged 10-day championship. The key, though, is to keep that momentum going forward.
“Honestly the key is not even thinking about it,” Scheer said. “You just don’t think about what’s going on. It gets a little redundant, but you just ride each horse the best you can and see what happens. I just try to relax and take it a day at a time. I know it’s cliché, but if you can do that, you add just a little fuel to the fire.”
The fire already is burning brightly for Scheer.