LAS VEGAS – Through the first eight rounds of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, Tanner Aus has placed five times.
That’s a good winning percentage, and he is taking it all the way to the bank. In fact, he’s collected more than $74,000 and sits third in the world standings with $186,922. Not bad for a man competing for just the second time in Las Vegas.
“We have a great group of guys, and the atmosphere tonight was a lot different than I remember last year before the ‘Eliminator Pen,’ ” said Aus of Granite Falls, Minn. “Everyone is ready to test their mettle. Everybody is ready to be the best and the toughest, and these are the horses we get to prove ourselves on. It was fun.”
It was also wild. Aus scored 84 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Assault to finish in a tie for sixth place Thursday night, adding $2,115 to his bank account.
“I’d never been on Assualt,” he said. “It’s a great bucking horse with a great reputation. My buddy, Richie Champion, won $1 million on him three years ago. It makes your hair stand up a little bit when you see your name next to that one.
“All the horses tonight are intimidating for one reason or another, but that one definitely has a trick to him. I tried to ride him through that button hook he has, and it was a challenge. I’m glad I made it to the whistle and made a little bit of money.”
Having had the chance to collect checks through most of the rounds has been an amazing feat for the Minnesota cowboy. He understands that he should be part of the field every year, and he plans to take every road to return.
“To be able to place amongst the people in this competition is really an honor, especially when you think of all the guys and all the work we put in all year,” Aus said. “We’re hauling down the road to every dusty little town just to be able to come down her and get on the best horses for 10 days in a row.
“That certainly makes it worth it, and it’s nice to be against guys that know what it takes to get here.”