ARLINGTON, Texas – The Wrangler National Finals Rodeo features the 100 best bucking horses and bulls in the game, but there are still some that are better than others.
Out of six nights to open this year’s championship, bareback rider Tanner Aus of Granite Falls, Minnesota, has drawn toward the bottom end four times. The two times he’s had a solid chance to cash in, he’s done so in fine fashion.
“That is part of rodeo,” said Aus, who matched moves with Calgary Stampede’s Zulu Warrior for 86.5 points to finish in a tie for second place in Tuesday’s sixth round, worth $18,192. “You want to draw the best one in the pen every night when you’re at the NFR, but it doesn’t work out like that. I just try to keep doing my job.
“We’re having fun. This place is amazing. They have done a lot to accommodate us, and they are making it work. It has been awesome.”
The NFR is taking place inside Globe Life Field, home of the Texas Rangers, instead of its typical home in Las Vegas because of the pandemic. It’s a big change, and there are safety measures in place to help keep everyone in good shape through a recent explosion of COVID-19.
“We’ve been trying to be pretty careful; we want to stay healthy through the end of this deal,” said Aus, who has earned more than $54,000 in the two rounds in which he’s placed, which includes the second-round victory last Friday. “My mom, dad and my wife, my kids … we are all staying in a house we rented.
“There’s a park right down there, so we can go run off a little energy. The time we’ve got to spend with my folks and my kids during this week and a half has been pretty good. It’s not Vegas wild, but that’s to be expected.”
The wild times are happening in the ballpark. Having a horse like Zulu Warrior is a big part of why he had so much success.
“It has been a little quiet for me, but it has been good,” Aus said. “I have been getting on good horses, and I’m healthy. Zulu Warrior is an awesome horse, and I was happy to have that. To get a check and be able to place is great, and hopefully we keep it rolling now.”
He has four nights remaining on this ProRodeo season, and he hopes the right horses can help him cash in even more during this NFR, his fifth in six years. If not, the Minnesota cowboy will just keep a brilliant smile on his face and handle what comes his way
“You can’t ever hang your head here; that’s the bottom line,” he said. “If there is one performance left, you’ve got a big rodeo to go to. Just keep on charging. I always say that, but it is just one horse at a time. It is just doing the same things that got you here.”