ARLINGTON, Texas – College students around the world spend tens of thousands of dollars for their educations.
Northwestern Oklahoma State University senior Bridger Anderson just received the biggest lessons of his life over the last 10 days at the National Finals Rodeo. On top of it, he made $77,068 at ProRodeo’s premier event.
“Things just didn’t play out the way we expected it to, and we just rolled with it,” said Anderson, a steer wrestler from Carrington, North Dakota. “My steer (Friday) night didn’t leave like we wanted to, but we did exactly what we were planning on.”
He threw the steer down in 4.4 seconds, but he broke the barrier – not allowing the steer an appropriate head start – and was penalized 10 seconds. A 4.4 wouldn’t have placed in the ninth round, but it would have helped him stay a little higher in the average race, which pays bonuses for the fastest cumulative times on 10 runs.
Anderson still finished sixth in the aggregate, which was worth $16,500. He finished the year with $120,934 and ninth in the world standings. That’s proof of just how tight the bulldogging race was in 2020.
“I feel very fortunate,” he said. “It’s not every day you win over $70,000 in a week and a half. I’m happy that I’m pretty healthy and my horse was pretty healthy. Stockton (Graves) did an outstanding job for me as my hazer, and I couldn’t ask for a better week.
“I couldn’t be happier for Jacob Edler. I think I might be one of the most pumped people about it.”
Edler, a Northwestern alumnus, earned twice as much NFR money as Anderson, won the NFR average title and claimed the steer wrestling world title.
“We practice together all the time,” Anderson said of Edler. “We practiced our butts off for years, but especially the last two months leading up to this thing. Jacob didn’t get this given to him by accident. He damn sure earned it.”
That’s the same for Anderson. Just qualifying for the NFR is a big deal, especially in 2020 with the schedule reduced and the competition as strong as ever. He placed in just three years, including a share of the second-round title, and gained more from the experience than he would have imagined heading in.
“I don’t thing we necessarily did our job quite to the expectation of what we could have,” he said. “I learned what it takes to win a world championship. We’re going to go home and work our tail off until we are in a spot to do that. I won more money than I have in my life, and I learned exactly what it takes to be great. That’s what we’re going to focus on right now.
“You’ve got to strive to be the best, but only one guy gets to be the best every year.”
At just 22 years old, Anderson will have plenty more chances to be the best.