ARLINGTON, Texas – There’s nothing quite like feeling rushed when a world championship is on the line.
That was the case for steer wrestler Jacob Edler, who felt a little pressure prior to his 3.9-second run during Wednesday’s seventh go-round of the National Finals Rodeo at Globe Life Park in Arlington. His steer wasn’t cooperating in the chute, and Edler was waiting him out. It paid off, and the State Center, Iowa cowboy, pocketed another $8,885 by finishing tied for fourth place in the round.
“I sat in the (timed-event) box for about a minute and a half because that steer would not look straight out the chute,” he said. “He kept turning his head back and forth; the steer has to be down for the stopwatch to stop. Time was running out, and they were about to turn the steer out. Right at the last second, I nodded.
“Everything else worked out pretty good.”
Yes, it did. Not only did Edler earn money for the fifth time in seven nights at ProRodeo’s grand championship, he also moved up a spot to No. 1 in the all-important average race, which will pay a bonus of $67,269 when the NFR concludes Saturday night. He has wrestled seven steers to the ground in a cumulative time of 30.7 seconds and owns a six-tenths-of-a-second advantage over the previous leader, Stetson Jorgensen, with whom Edler shared the Round 6 title.
“I don’t pay any attention to that,” Edler said. “I’m just going to keep bulldogging.”
That approach has worked out well. When his horse, Ditto, started to veer away from the steers during his runs, Edler made some risky jumps and still earned money in three rounds. He made a horse change prior to the sixth round, and he’s pocketed more than $32,000 in two nights since.
More importantly, he’s in position to claim the most coveted prize in the game, the Montana Silversmiths gold buckle awarded to the world champion.
“That’s why I came here,” he said. “It’s been a heck of an experience so far. I’m just going into the next three rounds like I’ve approached the last seven. I know I’m riding a great horse, so I’m going to go and do my job.”
The NFR competition is always tough, but there’s something special going on in steer wrestling, where there have been no repeat champions and 12 men have earned at least a share of a go-round win. In most years, some cowboy has separated himself from the pack by the later rounds of the event.
“I think everybody’s excited we’re even having an NFR,” Edler said. “Everybody here is a competitor and can win on any given day. These are the 15 best athletes in the world as far as steer wrestling goes. It’s been an incredible bulldogging to watch.”
Edler has a front-row seat, and he’s doing quite well. Of course, whatever earnings he can take from Arlington will be grand as he sets off to plan a wedding and a life with his fiancé, Moriah.
“It’s nice knowing we’re going to be able to have a start in life,” he said. “We’re going to leave here with a bunch of money and make down payments on a bunch of stuff we’re going to need for the future.”
That future looks pretty bright inside Globe Life Field.