LAS VEGAS – The last time Ty Breuer was matched with Pickett Rodeo’s Scarlet Fever, the cowboy’s only recollection was pain and numbness.
“I got on him at the 10th round the last time I was here, and I had a broken elbow,” said Breuer, who matched moves with the horse for 83 points Friday night to finish in a tie for third place in the second go-round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. “That was a long time ago, and I was just happy to have him again.”
That ride marked the first time since the opening round of the 2013 NFR that Breuer had earned a paycheck at ProRodeo’s grand finale. This worth $13,327 and pushed the Mandan, N.D., cowboy’s season earnings to $94,445.
“Last time I didn’t really have a chance to do anything on that horse,” said Breuer, who moved up four spots to eighth in the world standings. “This time I felt like I had a chance. I remember the last time that about four seconds into the ride, everything went numb.
“This is a big confidence-booster for me. Last night I felt like I had the chance, and I kind of screwed it up. It just felt good tonight to get back and actually ride like I know I can.”
Confidence is a major piece of the puzzle, especially at the NFR. With an $8.8 million purse paid out over 10 December nights, this is every cowboy’s chance to not only cash in but to move up the world standings. In rodeo, dollars equal points, and the contestants in each event with the most money at the conclusion of the NFR will be crowned world champions.
“I still have to take it one horse at a time and remembering my basics,” he said. “I have to focus on that and see what happens. Last night I had a really nice horse, and I wasn’t even thinking about bareback riding. I was just thinking about everything else, and that horse got ahead of me.
“That’s the way it goes sometimes.”
Judges mark the rides based on the animal’s bucking motion and how the cowboy spurs in rhythm with the horse. When Breuer got behind, his half of the score was lower than he needed to place in the money. He made the changes necessary on Friday night and wants to keep it that way through the final eight rounds of the rodeo season.
“There were a lot of horses out there that were harder to ride tonight, and I just got lucky and had a pretty nice one,” Breuer said.
Sometimes that’s all it takes.