LAS VEGAS – Cort Scheer looks at the struggles he’s had at this year’s National Finals Rodeo in a different way than many.
“That’s the way rodeo goes,” said Scheer, a saddle bronc rider from Elsmere, Neb., who failed to earn a paycheck through the first five rounds of ProRodeo’s grand finale. “The guys that don’t let it get you down are the ones who just keep working at it. That’s what I’m doing.
“I’m just having fun. There’s still a pile of money out there. My whole family’s out here. It’s been a blessing, and I am loving it.”
His fun in Las Vegas got a little more exciting Tuesday night during the sixth round of the NFR, when he rode Andrews Rodeo’s Fire Lane for 81 points to finish second and collect a check worth $20,731.
“I’m happy to get that monkey off my back and get things rolling,” said Scheer, who attended Garden City (Kan.) Community College, Montana State University and Oklahoma Panhandle State University on rodeo scholarships. “Vegas can be a love-you-or-hate-you kind of place. I’ve had chances to win some money, but that’s the way it goes.
“Now I want to be that guy that doesn’t win a check in the first few rounds of the finals, and then comes back and puts it on them to finish things.
As with any competitor, he found his early experiences in Las Vegas to be a bit frustrating, but he still has gained something each time.
“I’ve screwed up some, but I’ve learned something from it,” he said, noting that he bucked off Outlaw Buckers’ Lunatic Party in Monday’s fifth round. “That horse just flat bucked me off. That’s the reason that horse has been Bucking Horse of the Year in Canada. That’s the kind of stuff you want to get on, because you know you can be a pile of points every time.
“Yeah, I’ve only won a little (so far) this year, but that’s $20,000 more than the year I didn’t make the finals when I blew my knee out.”
That happened in 2011, a few months after he earned more than $70,000 in his initial NFR qualification. He finished 25th in the world standings after having to miss most of the regular season; only the top 15 contestants in each event advance to the finale every year.
“I can’t say enough about how much I’ve been loving it this year,” Scheer said. “I’ve laughed really hard in that locker room. There are a few people in that locker room that aren’t getting along good, but we have no pressure. We can just keep going at it. Everybody else has the pressure.
“There’s a lot more about this sport than money.”
Part of that is having a loving family and his girlfriend, Katelyn Webb, who support him through the roller coaster ride that is the NFR.
“I think it helps immensely,” he said. “You’ve got somebody else in your corner for 10 days no matter what. Through the ups and downs, it doesn’t matter because they’re there for you.”
That makes every experience in Las Vegas.