LAS VEGAS – Athletes understand they can’t attack each opponent the same way.
If a pitcher knows a batter is a fast-ball hitter, the pitcher will throw more off-speed and try to hit a target directionally. The same can be said in rodeo. For bareback rider Tanner Aus, he tries to make his spur ride the same on ever horse, but he understands that there are differences he needs to make depending on the horse.
Such was the case in Wednesday, when Aus rode Bridwell Pro Rodeo’s Meat Sweats for 81.5 points to finish sixth in the seventh go-round of the National Finals Rodeo. It was a much different ride than the 88-point marking he had Tuesday on J Bar J Rodeo’s Straight Stick.
“It could have went a little better, but the last time I got on that horse was the first round of 2019, and I took myself out of the average last night,” Aus said of how he played it a little closer to the vest and didn’t expose himself to as much danger. “I had a little bit of a vendetta for that horse, and it went better than it did last time … not by a lot, but still by a lot.”
It was more than that: He was 81.5 points better than three seasons ago. While it was the bottom payout of the placing scale at the NFR, it was still worth $4,664, which pushed his Las Vegas earnings to nearly $58,000. He has collected $184,700 this season and is sixth in the world standings with three nights remaining.
It’s all about taking a fundamental approach to his game.
“The good rides that I made all go back to the stuff I learned with I was 13, 14 years old,” said Aus of Granite Falls, Minnesota. “From my dad and going to Wayne Herman’s school a couple of times at the Anchor K with the Korkows’, it’s just the fundamentals. It is what carries me through.
“If that’s the key to success here, I don’t know, but I sure feel like I ride a lot better when I focus on those things. It’s just one rodeo every night for 10 days. If I can get in the money amidst this crowd of competition, which is as tough as it’s ever been, then that’s great.”
Wednesday’s round served as a warmup for Round 8, which will feature the eliminator pen of bareback horses. Aus admitted there is a different feeling when the cowboys know they’re about to strap themselves to the hardest-to-ride broncs in rodeo.
“I still get a little nervous; it gives you butterflies,” he said. There are some (horses) in there that darn sure strike fear in the hearts of man. They are the best of the best when it comes to bucking horses and what a bucking horse.
“You think if you can ride a semi-eliminator that with a little more try, you can ride an eliminator, too. It is a part of rodeo. It is a fun night to get through, a fun night to have over with.”
One thing Tanner Aus knows is that he’ll make the most of every opportunity he has to earn Las Vegas dollars while he’s here.