Anderson closes successful NFR

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LAS VEGAS When the curtain closed on the 2023 National Finals Rodeo, Bridger Anderson realized he’d earned $120,939 during his stay in the City of Lights.

“It was a great week, and we had a lot of fun,” said Anderson, a two-time qualifier from Carrington, North Dakota. “It’s awesome to have family here the whole time, and I’m very thankful for the time we got to spend together and live the dream.

“We had great starts. Whiskers felt great and showed he can do a great job out there. I feel like both horses are feeling good.”

Whiskers is Anderson’s bulldogging mount, and NFR veteran Clayton Hass was riding Metallica, a haze horse owned by 2017 world titlist Tyler Pearson. That team found great success, including a 3.9-second run to finish third in Saturday’s 10th round, worth another $18,325. The bulldogger finished the season with $206,540 and moved up seven spots to seventh in the final world standings.

“We’re feeling confident, and hopefully we can let that roll into the upcoming season and make it back,” he said. “In that last round, we had a good steer. We were a little tight and we missed the barrier a little bit, but Whiskers did a great job of firing and running hard. He gave me a good go, and Hass did a great job hazing on Metallica for both of us.

“We got a little further down the pen and made it happen quickly on the ground to get a check and finish out the week.”

Raised by Tyler and Jackie Schau, Whiskers has been a staple for Anderson for several years. He was one of the guiding forces behind the cowboy’s 2019 national championship while at Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

“He was definitely feeling good and running hard this week,” Anderson said of the bay gelding. “He did a great job of running those steers down, and he really felt like he was really running this week.

“He’ll definitely get all the hay he can ask for, and he’s going to get a little break now. He did a great job, and he’s ready to home and get a little R and R.”

It’s difficult to qualify for the National Finals. Only the top 15 in the world standings at the conclusion of the regular season advance to the 10-round playoffs. At this year’s finale, he placed five times, including two go-round wins. He has a lot to take out of his week and a half in Las Vegas.

“You’ve got to go out there and take it just one run at a time if you want to make it back,” Anderson said. “There are a lot of good rodeos, and we’ll go to the best rodeos in the world. We’re hoping we start off by just having a good winter and let that stack up before we head out for the summer.”

Being in the Nevada desert in December is the place to be for professional rodeo cowboys, and Anderson has $120,000 reasons to return.


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