SAN ANGELO, Texas – Tanner Aus had a spectacular 2015.
He won several big rodeo titles, including Cheyenne, Wyo.; he earned his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualification; and then he closed out the year by proposing to his longtime girlfriend, Lonissa Jones.
Now he’s trying to make 2016 even better. On Saturday night, Aus spurred J Bar J Rodeo’s Pass The Hat for 90 points to take the bareback riding lead at the San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo; it was the first time the Granite Falls, Minn., has ever been marked that high in his ProRodeo career.
“My highest score up to this point was 87,” said Aus, 25, the 2012 College National Finals Rodeo champion. “I was just pushing for that 88, so it feels really good to go to 90. It’s crazy.”
It also was the first time the young cowboy had matched moves with Pass The Hat, but he had done a little homework before the competition began.
“I knew Kaycee (Feild) had won a round on him at the finals this last year,” Aus said of the four-time world champion. “That’s all I could really think about. I’ve been drawing pretty good, and a lot of times the difference is what’s going on between the ears. I had just been going through the motions.
“Tonight I had it in my mind that I had to set the tone, and I knew I had the horse to do it on. I just need to get in that frame of mind from now on.”
The Minnesota cowboy is coming off his best season in rodeo. He earned nearly $170,000 riding bucking horses and finish sixth in the world standings. He pointed back to San Angelo as the key factor in his strong campaign. He placed in both go-rounds and finished in a tie for second overall. He pocketed $4,600 in West Texas, then just kept adding to it.
“All these winter rodeos are important, and last year, it was here that set my season up,” he said. “I went from San Angelo to San Antonio to Tucson (Ariz.), and I ended up with a pile of money.”
He earned $15,632 between those three rodeos and found himself inside the top 20 in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world standings.
“I didn’t win a buckle or a title at any of them, but it showed me that I could do pretty well if I just placed at them.”
Now he sits fifth in the 2016 world standings and knows how important the winter run can be. He also felt the excitement inside the San Angelo Coliseum on a Saturday night.
“They had the place packed,” Aus said. “R.C. (Landingham) was one of the first ones to go, and he was 88. That set the tone early, and that’s hard to top. I’m glad I was able to do it.”
Now he will wait out the final three performances of this year’s preliminary go-rounds to see where he will sit during next Friday’s championship round. He’s set the bar high, but that also means he has a target on his back for the rest of the week.
That’s just how he likes it.
San Angelo Stock Show and Rodeo
Feb. 5-7, Feb. 12-14, Feb. 17-19
Bareback riding leaders: 1. Tanner Aus, 90 points on J Bar J Rodeo’s Pass The Heat; 2. Jake Vold and R.C. Landingham, 88 each; 4. Caleb Bennett, 86.5; 5. (tie) Mason Clements and Jamie Howlett, 84.5 each; 7. (tie) Luke Creasy and Jake Brown, 84.
Steer wrestling: First round leaders: 1. (tie) Josh Clark and Riley Duvall, 3.6 seconds each; 3. (tie) K.C. Jones, T.J. Hall, Dakota Eldridge and Heath Thomas, 3.9 each; 7. (tie) Stan Branco and Orrin Fontenot, 4.0 each. Second round leaders: 1. Jacob Talley, 3.5 seconds; 2. (tie) Blake Knowles and Cody Woodward, 3.8; 4. (tie) Clayton Tuchscherer and Mike McGinn, 3.9 each; 6. (tie) Rowdy Parrott and Clint Shofner, 4.1 each; 8. Cameron Mormon, 4.2. Average leaders: 1. K.C. Jones, 8.2 seconds on two runs; 2. Riley Duvall, 8.4; 3. Stan Branco, 8.8; 4. (tie) Nick Guy and Trevor Knowles, 9.1 each; 6. Jacob Edler, 9.5; 7. Timmy Sparing, 9.7; 8. Matt Reeves, 10.0.
Team roping: First round leaders: 1. Adam Rose/Walt Woodard, 4.0 seconds; 2. Colby Lovell/Will Wodfin, 4.1; 3. Cody Snow/Dugan Kelly, 4.2; 4. (tie) Billy Bob Brown/Garrett Jess and Bart Brunson/Zack Mabry, 4.5 each; 6. (tie) Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis and Justin Davis/Zane Bruce, 4.6 each; 8. (tie) Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger, Tyler Wade/Kinney Harrell and Spencer Mitchell/Justin Davis, 4.7 each. Second round leaders: 1. Kolton Schmidt/Shay Carroll, 3.6 seconds; 2. (tie) Spencer Mitchell/Justin Davis, Brady Tryan/Tommy Zuniga and Tate Kirchenschlager/Trevor Kirchenschlager, 3.9 each; 5. (tie) Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler, Casey Tew/John Robertson and Drew Horner/Trey Johnson, 4.0 each. Average leaders 1. Spencer Mitchell/Justin Davis, 8.6 seconds on two runs; 2. (tie) Adam Rose/Walt Woodard and Colby Lovell/Will Woodfin, 8.7; 4. Nathan McWhorter/Dustin Davis, 9.0; 5. Blake Hirdes/Joseph Shawnego, 9.3; 6. Tyler Wade/Kinney Harrell, 9.4; 7. Caleb Smidt/B.J. Dugger, 9.5; 8. (tie) Brandon Webb/Mickey Gomez and Justin Davis/Shane Bruce, 9.8.
Saddle bronc riding leaders: 1. Jacobs Crawley, 88 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Rich n Fancy; 2. Allen Boore, 85.5; 3. Rusty Wright, 85; 4. Curtis Garton, 83; 5. Joey Sonnier III, 82; 6. Brody Cress, 80; 7. CoBurn Bradshaw, 79.5; 8. Shorty Garrett, 79.
Tie-down roping: First round leaders: 1. Jake Pratt, 7.9 seconds; 2. (tie) Michael Otero and Caleb Smidt, 8.0 each; 4. (tie) Garrett Hale and E.J. Roberts, 8.1; 6. (tie) Chant DeForest and Ike Fontenot, 8.2; 8. Cody Quaney, 8.3. Second round leaders: 1. Marcos Costa, 7.4 seconds; 2. Riley Pruitt, 7.7; 3. J.D. Kibbe, 7.8; 4. (tie) Hunter Herrin and Justin Macha, 7.9 each; 6. Sterling Smith, 8.1; 7. (tie) Tyler Prcin, Quay Howard and Jerrad Hofstetter, 8.2 each. Average leaders: 1. Caleb Smidt, 16.7 seconds on two runs; 2. Tyler Prcin, 17.4; 3. E.J. Roberts, 17.6; 4. Garrett Hale, 17.7; 5. Chant DeForest, 17.8; 6. Marcos Costa, 18.0; 7. (tie) Trey Young, Cody Owens and Jayce Johnson, 18.2 each.
Barrel racing: Second round leaders: 1. Tana Poppino, 13.97 seconds; 2. Alexa Lake, 14.19; 3. Lisa Thonton, 14.22; 4. Tori Morris, 14.25; 5. Kelly Clifton, 14.27; 6. Pamela Capper, 14.29; 7. Cindy Wheeler, 14.30; 8. Sabrina Ketcham, 14.31; 9. (tie) Sherrylynn Johnson and Cassie Moseley, 14.36. Average leaders: 1. Pamela Capper, 29.96 seconds on two runs; 2. Tana Poppino, 29.98; 3. Sherry Cervi, 30.09; 4. Kelley Schnaufer, 30.16; 5. Cindy Wheeler, 30.30; 6. Lisa Thornton, 30.33; 7. Sherrylynn Johnson, 30.3; 8. Brooke Rix, 30.43; 9. Kelly Clifton, 30.44; 10. T.K. Lawrence, 30.50.
Bull riding leaders: 1. Dustin Bowen, 87.5 points on Lancaster & Jones’ Total Bull Battle Born; 2. Joseph McConnel, 86.5; 3. Tim Bingham, 86; 4. (tie) Reagan Avery, Jeff Bertus and John Young, 84.5 each; 7. Josh Frost, 84; 8. Toby Collins, 83.5.