by Tracy Renck
LOUISVILLE, KY. – Bareback rider Tanner Aus is in the midst of preparing to compete in his inaugural Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER next month.
Well, the Granite Falls, Minn., cowboy couldn’t have had a better tune-up at the RAM Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo.
Aus swept all three rounds to win the average with a 250-point score to earn a trip to the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo April 7-10 in Kissimmee, Fla.
“I knew if I wanted a shot at Kissimmee, I had to win the average, but I definitely didn’t expect to come in and win all three rounds,” said Aus, 25. “I had three great horses drawn when it was all said and done, and it felt good because those will be the last three horses I get on before the Finals (Dec. 3-12).”
Aus punched his ticket to the RNCFR with a dominating performance in Louisville. He won the first round with an 87-point ride on Dakota Rodeo’s War Rocket. He followed that up with a 79-point ride on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Bottoms Up to win the second round.
Aus clinched the RGLCFR average crown by winning the third round when he rode for 84 points on Three Hills Rodeo’s Mr. Harry.
“This (performance) was because of the guys who I ride against,” Aus said. “There’s a balance of kids and guys who have been around a long time, and everybody shows up to ride.”
Despite his stellar rides in Rounds 1 and 2, Aus wasn’t crunching numbers before the third round.
“I had never been on that horse (Mr. Harry) before, but I had good reports on him from my buddies,” Aus said. “I knew these were going to be the last three horses I got on before the Finals and I don’t know what to expect at the Thomas & Mack (Center in Las Vegas), but I treated these three rides at the Great Lakes Circuit Finals as my first three rides of the (Wrangler NFR). I can’t even explain how excited I am for the Finals.
Reaching the WNFR is a dream, he said.
“This is pretty much what I wanted to do my whole life,” he said, “and my parents spent a lot of money to get me down the road as a kid. I have a lot of people to thank.”
Aus heads to Las Vegas eighth in the world standings with $85,660.
Other winners at the $190,691 rodeo were all-around cowboy Kadin Boardman ($4,502, tie-down roping and team roping), steer wrestler Jon Ragatz (12.6 seconds on three head), team ropers Shaw Loiseau and Matt Zancanella, (18.4 seconds on three head), saddle bronc rider Keith Brauer Jr. (230 points on three head), tie-down roper Cody Huber (26.6 seconds on three head), barrel racer Kristine Knauf (47.95 seconds on three runs) and bull rider Eli Vastbinder (155 points on two head).
Read more about the RAM Great Lakes Circuit Finals Rodeo in the Jan. 15 ProRodeo Sports News.
Courtesy of PRCA