Aus wraps NFR with top finish

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LAS VEGAS Concluding his eighth National Finals Rodeo, bareback rider Tanner Aus took many things back to his Minnesota home: Confidence, talent and satisfaction that he got on nearly a dozen of the greatest bucking horses over consecutive nights.

There’s also that $90,480 in earnings.

It was a job well done, and he wrapped his NFR experience with a 10th-round bow by placing on the final night of the 2023 season. He rode Frontier Rodeo’s Breaking News for 87.5 points to finish in a tie for fourth place, worth $10,401. He also placed sixth in the aggregate race, riding 10 broncs for a cumulative score of 837 points, which paid a bonus of $19,315.

“I’m very thankful to place in this 10th round,” said Aus, 33, of Granite Falls, Minnesota. “This is undoubtedly the 15 best guys in the world this year, and we got on 15 of the best horses we could put together for the 10th round.

“That horse had a fantastic trip. Mason (Clements) won the third round on that horse, and we moved him from the eliminator pen to the TV pen. I was happy to have him, because if there was one in there that was just a tick ranker than the rest, that’s the one I want. It might be money or mud, and I got a piece of the money. It was good, and I’m thankful.”

He finished the season with $210,377, good enough for 10th in the world standings. He placed in five rounds at ProRodeo’s grand finale and is already looking forward to what he can do the next season, which actually began Oct. 1.

“It was a great NFR,” he said. “It certainly wasn’t perfect, but I tried my hardest every chance I got. There are things I can improve on still and hope to; 2024 started two months ago.”

Even after 10 days in the Nevada desert, there isn’t much of a break for the Minnesota cowboy. The Chase Hawks Rough Stock Weekend takes place this next week in Billings, Montana, and he’s exited to compete.

“I’ve entered that every year,” Aus said. “There have been years when I leave here and I’m just banged up that I have to turn out. That’s a bummer, because that’s an awesome rodeo, an awesome benefit.”

His plan, of course, is to return to Las Vegas next December. It’s the world’s richest rodeo with a $14 million purse. This year, nightly winners earned nearly $31,000 for 10 rounds. Aus collected a go-round buckle, sharing the sixth-performance title with Idaho cowboy Jacob Lees.

Money has changed since his first qualification in 2015. When he won the 10th round that year, he made $21,000 and finished the championship with $74,000. He earned less then and finished four spots higher in the world standings.

“It’s unreal what we’re experiencing with the money in rodeo,” he said. It’s cool to see the direction the sport is headed and the great sponsorships we have, both association-wide and individually. The partners I have make it possible. Without them, I couldn’t rodeo the way I need to in order to be here.”


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