LAS VEGAS – When his eight-second ride was over Thursday night, saddle bronc Cort Scheer leaped off his horse, Frontier Rodeo’s Griz, and bounded across the arena.
He flashed a brilliant smile for the more than 17,000 inside the Thomas & Mack Center and all those watching the national television broadcast.
“It’s kind of fun to land on my feet and jog to the gate in a good mood,” said Scheer, who rode Griz for 84.5 points to finish third in the eighth go-round of the National Finals Rodeo. “That meant a whole lot. That’s one of those horses that if you would’ve rodeo bad, you would’ve been depressed the next few rounds.
“I got to actually go at one, and it felt pretty fun.”
Scheer added $15,654 for the ride and pushed his NFR earnings to more than $36,000. He now sits eighth in the world standings with $135,122. What might be more impressive is that he’s done that in just two rounds – he finished second in Wednesday’s sixth round.
“The purse this year is a huge jump from what it has been,” said Scheer, 29, of Elsmere, Neb. “It’s amazing. Every time you nod your head, something’s going to change in the world standings. It keeps everybody going, and it’s exciting.”
The reality is, he has seen his share of struggles so far in the 10-day championship. He’s suffered two no-scores – he was penalized for failing to mark out his horse in the second round and was bucked off in the fifth – and failed to place in the first five rounds.
“The NFR is tough because you’re going the whole time you’re here with autograph signings, spending time with family and friends, dealing with the draw and maybe adjusting your saddle some,” said Scheer, who attended Garden City (Kan.) Community College, Montana State University and Oklahoma Panhandle State University on rodeo scholarships.
“Plus you have the variables that change everything. The hardest thing about Vegas is settling down, having fun and taking care of business.”
He has found the groove to do that, earning paydays in two of the last three rounds. With two nights remaining in ProRodeo’s grand championship, the Nebraska cowboy knows there are opportunities in front of him and a lot of money on the table for him to grab.
“We all love it that way, and we all push each other,” he said. “With the rounds paying the way they do, you’ve got nothing to lose. Everybody’s going for it.
“The NFR is tough. A lot of people don’t understand what goes it to it, and there are so variables that get in the way. When they get you down, they just jump on you. It’s like getting down at the (gaming) tables; they’ll just keep taking your money. You ride for the good days and forget about the bad ones.”
There have been more good days than bad for Scheer, and he realizes that.
“I love hanging out in the locker room with all my buddies,” Scheer said. “We’re a tight group. We’re always helping each other. I live for that locker room. That’s the cool part about it.”
So is his smile.