LAS VEGAS – The mental game in rodeo is vital to any cowboy’s success.
Saddle bronc rider Cort Scheer changed his approach to the National Finals Rodeo, and it already has paid off. On Thursday, he rode Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop for 87 points to win the opening go-round of ProRodeo’s championship event.
In the process, he pocketed $19,002 and moved from third to second in the world standings. It’s a much different feel for the Elsmere, Neb., cowboy, who last December placed in just three go-rounds but rode all 10 horses to finish second in the all-important NFR average race.
“I just had to loosen up,” he said. “Last year I came in kind of tense. I was just thinking about too much instead of one horse at a time. The Canadian Finals really helped me get my momentum started. I know I had a great horse, and I’d rather fall off instead of being 75 (points), so I really wanted to win one (round).”
Mission accomplished. Scheer posted the highest marked right of the night – the winning bareback and bull rides were 85 points each. He also bested second-place finisher Heith DeMoss by five points while watching some of the greatest bronc riders in the world buck off.
“It just shows the caliber of the bucking horses,” Scheer said. “Those are the best guys in the world. To see them come down doesn’t really affect you. In my mind, it’s me and my horse. I don’t really think about anybody else. If anything, I feel bad for them when they come down, because it makes me ride better when they win, too.”
A month ago, Scheer won the average title at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, Alberta. He placed in all six go-rounds, winning three. Both the Canadian Finals and the NFR feature the top animals in the sport.
“I didn’t know anything about the horse other than he was a bareback horse they moved to bronc riding,” he said. “I heard from a lot of people he’s stall out if you got into him.”
In bronc riding, cowboys are judged by how well the horse bucks and how well he spurs the horse through the bucking rhythm. By making sure the horse feels the sensation of the cowboy’s spurs, the rider actually helps the horse along.
“My rein was a touch too long, which made him feel a little buckier, but he was pretty nice.”
So was Scheer. He’s continuing to carry a season-long drive through rodeo’s grand championship.
“Momentum is tremendous,” Scheer said. “Now I’m going to forget about this. I’ve got (Pete Carr’s) Mike and Ike (Friday) and just go one horse at a time. That’s how you win titles, I guess, and I really don’t care about the average.”