ARLINGTON, Texas – Even though he’s just a first-time National Finals Rodeo competitor, Jacob Edler realizes that it’s a long 10 days and many things can happen.
After struggling a tad on Night 2, he rebounded quite well during Saturday’s third go-round, knocking down his steer in 3.8 seconds to finish in a tie for fifth place. That was worth $5,500 and pushed his NFR earnings to $24,384.
“I feel like I did my job,” said Edler, 26, of State Center, Iowa. “I got as good of a start as I could. I caught the steer’s head and got him laid over. He didn’t have as much action as some of the other ones tonight, but it worked out.”
The times were insanely fast. A 3.8-second run would have won either of the first two rounds, but it settled for fifth place on Night 3.
“A lot of guys went over to Amarillo this fall, and we got to sort through them,” he said. “We knew what they were. It was the hardest pen to pick, because all of the steers were so good. It makes for an even bulldogging. The guys that got the best starts and get out of the steer’s way can win a lot of money.”
It can be difficult to manage the situations, especially with so much money being paid out each night. This is ProRodeo’s premier event, and go-round winners will pocket $26,231 each night. It takes a solid team – his hazer, Kodie Jang, his horse and the horse Jang rides – to manage all the challenges that come with a competition like this.
“That horse, Ditto, is working great,” Edler said. “She might have been a little tight the first two nights, and that might’ve been caused by me and the NFR jitters. I felt like tonight she back in the box and didn’t bat an eye. Kodie Jang did his job like he always does.
It is vital to allow the steer just the right head start. By not doing so, the bulldogger will break a string that is attached to a rope barrier, then will be penalized 10 seconds. The key is to have the horse’s shoulders hit that barrier rope at the same time the steer hits that head-start line.
“Doing this well feels great,” he said. “I just need to keep on the barrier and keep doing my job. They’re not going to keep me from walking across the street (to the go-round buckle ceremony) before this NFR’s over.”
He’s a man on a mission.