LAS VEGAS – Justin McDaniel knows as well as anyone what it means to get on a roll athletically.
In 2012, McDaniel utilized a late-season run to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the fifth time in his young career. Now that he’s in Las Vegas, he’s ready for that roll to carry him to success in ProRodeo’s grand finale.
It might have started Friday night during the NFR’s second go-round. He rode Sankey Rodeo’s Mony for 81.5 points to finish sixth in the round, worth $2,945. That could be all it takes to make things happen for McDaniel, the 2008 world champion bareback rider from Porum, Okla.
“You have a chance to get on the best bucking horses in the world every night for 10 nights,” said McDaniel, who won the coveted average title at the NFR twice for having the best cumulative score – 2008 and 2010. “You know you’re going to draw good horses here, and you’ve just got to do your part.”
McDaniel has pushed his season earnings to $61,244, but he knows there is a great opportunity to make a significant living during his two-week stay in Las Vegas. Go-round winners earn checks worth $18,257 for each of the 10 nights. The best part for McDaniel is that he’s got eight more chances to finish strong. In addition, to the nightly opportunities to cash in, the average winner will pocket a bonus worth $46,821 when the NFR concludes Dec. 15.
“You can’t think about that, especially at this point,” McDaniel said. “You’ve just got to try to win every round and take a run at $18,000 each night. If you do that, the average will take care of itself.”