LAS VEGAS – Seth Glause had a terrific 2011 ProRodeo season, earning more than $105,000 and finishing in the top 10 in the bull riding world standings.
This year is about to be better.
So far this season, Glause has earned $94,170 and sits fifth in the standings heading to his fourth qualification to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, set for Dec. 6-15 in Las Vegas. Each round will be televised live, beginning at 9 p.m. Central, 8 p.m. Mountain on GAC.
“It means the world to me to be able to go back to the NFR,” said Glause, 24, of Rock Springs, Wyo. “It’s everything I’ve dreamed of since I was a kid. To go once was amazing, but to be there four times now, it’s a great accomplishment for me.
“Hopefully I can keep getting back there as many times as possible.”
That’s the goal of every rodeo cowboy who makes a living on the rodeo trail. Glause earned the right to play for the biggest pay in the sport by riding well and earning top paychecks. He won bull riding titles at eight events along the way.
“I started the year winning Denver and ended up winning the Xtreme (Bulls Tour) in Ellensburg (Wash.), so that did a lot for my confidence heading to the NFR,” said Glause, whose father, Tom, was a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association saddle bronc rider. “I won a few checks in between. I feel like I rode pretty decent over the Fourth of July.
“I felt like I won at least a little something once a week until the end of the season.”
That’s how one makes a living in rodeo. His first trip to the NFR came in 2008, when he was coming off a great sophomore season at Central Wyoming College in Riverton, where he was the Central Rocky Mountain Region’s all-around champion and a bull riding qualifier to the College National Finals Rodeo.
Since then, Glause has qualified for the finals every year but one – he missed the 2009 championship after suffering a knee injury in July of that year and sitting out the remainder of the regular season.
“Seth is a great kid and a great athlete,” said Craig Latham, rodeo coach at Oklahoma Panhandle State University, where Glause attended college after transferring from Central Wyoming. “I’d say his strengths are, bottom line, try … there’s no quit in him, and there’s just try every time he gets the chance.”
That is a fantastic trait, especially when a cowboy rides bulls for a living. When faced with the rugged test of the 10-round NFR, it takes a great mental approach to handle the roller coaster rides that come with the stress of competition.
“It’s the same thing you go through all year,” Glause said. “You’re still going to have your peaks and valleys, so you have to maintain your constant mindset that no matter what bull they run under you, you’re going to try your heart out and try to win every time.”
Trying is the easy part. Trying to ride a bucking beast is a much different story. In the rough-and-tumble sport, the man who rides most often has the best chance to make the most money. Sometimes it takes a great support team to make it happen, and Glause has that with his traveling partners, primarily Ty Hamaker and Tyler Willis, the latter of whom competed at the NFR last December.
“Tyler, Ty and me grew up together, and we’re all good friends,” Glause said. “Being around people you like and you know helps a lot throughout the year. We all support each other and want to see each other do real well.”
If it’s not his brothers in arms, his biggest cheerleaders are family, which includes his mom, Kim Cary, and his dad. From regular phone calls to a lifetime of support, a lot of credit for his success comes from those who know him best.
“My family means everything to me,” he said. “I talk to my mom and my dad, and they all come out to support me when they can. My grandparents always check up on me and make sure I’m doing alright. They’ve always been there to support me whether it’s been good or bad. They’re my biggest fans, my biggest supporters.”
So are his sponsors, Wyoming Tourism, B Tuff Jeans and the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.
“The sponsors are everything to the sport, and mine help me get up and down the road,” Glause said. “It’s amazing to have a state behind you such as Wyoming is for us. They go above and beyond for us. It’s dang sure nice to have them backing us.”
It all helps the business aspect of rodeo, but the bottom line is performing well when money’s on the line. That will be the case during the 10 days of championship rodeo in Las Vegas. The NFR boasts of a $6.5 million purse, where go-round winners in each event will earn about $18,000 each night. The pressure is high, but that’s what helps mold champions.
“I think this is the most confident I’ve been going into the NFR,” Glause said. “It just seems like Vegas has been getting better every year for me. I’m more comfortable out there. I’m just excited to see how it goes. There’s a lot of money to be won and a lot of bulls to get on.”