LAS VEGAS â€“ Cort Scheer doesnâ€™t pay attention to the numbers.
Heâ€™s in Las Vegas to ride bucking horses, and thatâ€™s all that matters to the Elsmere, Neb., cowboy. His goal is the gold buckle awarded to the world champion saddle bronc rider, and all those numbers that decide that will work out.
Everyone else in his life is concerned with the numbers, especially that No. 1 spot. Scheer now occupies that with three rounds remaining at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. He moved up from third to first on Wednesday night after a second-place finish in Round 6, where he rode Pete Carrâ€™s Classic Pro Rodeoâ€™s Spur Strap for 80.5 points, pocketing $15,018.
â€śI think I couldâ€™ve ridden that horse a lot better,â€ť said Scheer, who attended Montana State University, Garden City (Kan.) Community College and Oklahoma Panhandle State University on rodo scholarships. â€śThe last time I rode him, I think I was 86 on him at San Antonio.
â€śIâ€™m almost going to benefit from it, because I want to go that much more know. I know what I did wrong, so I can make the next one count. My spur out was week, so Iâ€™m excited to spur the heck out of one tomorrow.â€ť
Bronc busters must have their feet above the breaks in the horsesâ€™ shoulders to start the ride, which is known as the mark out or spur out. It allows the horse a head start, but it also sets up the rhythm of the spurring motion for the cowboys. Scheer thinks a stronger mark out will help his riding motion work better.
â€śWeâ€™ve still got some good pens coming,â€ť he said, referring to the 45 horses the bronc riders will be matched with over the final three go-rounds. â€śItâ€™s just going to come down to drawing good, spurring horses out right and going at it.
â€śIâ€™m just having fun and forgetting about everything else that happens. Iâ€™m excited about getting on. I feel like I ride better after screwing up.â€ť
If he can screw up and finish in second place, the skyâ€™s the limit for the top-ranked cowboy in bronc riding He has earned $56,635 at the NFR and pushed his season total to $156,049. He owns an $11,218 lead over the No. 2 man, Heith DeMoss of Heflin, La. Two-time world champion Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M., who was Scheerâ€™s teammate at Panhandle State, is third with $141,437.
Scheerâ€™s lead can evaporate quickly with go-round winners earning $19,000 a night and the average champ pocketing $48,732 for having the best cumulative score at the conclusion of the 10-round championship. The race will come down to the wire.
â€śI love it,â€ť he said. â€śRiding with those cats â€¦ it makes it more exciting, and it makes you want to win a little more.
â€śThis is the best year Iâ€™ve ever had. This is the best shot (at the world title) Iâ€™ve ever had. Everything has been working great.â€ť