postheadericon Aus finds way back to pay window

Tanner Aus watches the replay of the action during Tuesday's sixth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He has placed in two go-rounds so far. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

Tanner Aus watches the replay of the action during Tuesday’s sixth round of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He has placed in two go-rounds so far. (TODD BREWER PHOTO)

LAS VEGAS – Tanner Aus understands the ups and downs that come with rodeo.

In his inaugural Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in 2015, he placed in just three rounds, including the, a share of the 10th-round victory, and earned $74,000. Last year, he earned $100,000 and left Sin City No. 5 in the world standings.

Tanner Aus

Tanner Aus

This year, has been more downs than ups. He shared the second-round victory but didn’t place any other time until Tuesday’s sixth go-round. He matched moves with Calgary Stampede’s Tootsie Roll for 84 points to finish in a tie for fifth place, worth $5,500. He has earned $38,981 through the first six nights of ProRodeo’s championship.

“I’ve felt good,” he said. “I stumbled the first round a little bit; I think I could have ridden that horse better. Last night and tonight looked good, and I felt strong, and there are only four rounds left.

“I can only do what I can do, and I knew that coming in here. I drew outstanding last year, and I was really thankful for that. This year has been a little up and down.”

He’s ridden well – he was 86 points in the fifth round, for example; while that would have placed third on Tuesday, it wasn’t worth a paycheck Monday. The bareback riding has been a true showcase of amazing athletes, both equine and human.

“It has been incredible, and it has been awesome to watch,” said Aus, 27, of Granite Falls, Minn. “That is what I thrive off of, what makes me love it. The fact that I get to stand on the back of the bucking chutes and watch it is pretty incredible.”

The bareback riders all agree that this has been one of the best competitions they’ve seen in the game in years. What’s even greater is that they have been a support system together. It makes for a great team atmosphere, despite the competition.

“Everybody is there for one another,” he said. “That’s what makes it cool.

“It is incredible. Everyone is feeling good, for the most part, after six rounds, and that is a testament to the preparation we all have put in. We are fortunate right now. Bring on the next four rounds.”

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