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LAS VEGAS â€“ The National Finals Rodeo is no different than any of the numerous trips across the country for tie-down roper Tyson Durfey.
Along the way, a cowboy will experience the highs and lows â€“ the trips to the peaks of the mountaintops followed by the ever-braking skids to the valleys with those rides along the plateaus. That describes Durfeyâ€™s NFR to a tee. He roped and tied down eight of 10 calves in a qualified time but placed just three times. In all, he earned a shade more than $19,000 in Las Vegas.
Still, he moved up one spot to 14th in the world standings, and earning almost $20,000 in 10 days is an outstanding paycheck for most.
Durfey, though, expects better. He knows what it takes to win go-rounds, much less just place in them. Heâ€™s placed as high as third in the average standings, that coming in 2009. He has finished the season among the top five in the world standings.
â€śTo me, rodeoing is all about keeping your mind centrally located, trying not to let your emotions take over,â€ť said Durfey, who grew up near Savannah, Mo., still claims Colbert, Wash., as home and spends a good portion of his time in Weatherford, Texas.
That worked for the most part.
Durfey placed in the second go-round, then just missed the pay window in Rounds 3-4. He returned to the top in the sixth go-round before suffering back-to-back no-times. A 10-second broken barrier in the ninth round couldâ€™ve derailed everything, but he bounced back quite well on the final night of the 2014 season, Saturday, Dec. 13.
Durfey roped and tied his calf in 7.3 seconds to finish in a tie for third place with Reese Reimer. How fast was the final round? That same time wouldâ€™ve won four other go-rounds.
â€śRodeo is such a funny sport, but I couldnâ€™t do this without my sponsors,â€ť he said, noting his agreements with Next IT Corp., Zoetis Animal Health, Pro Vision Equine Digital Surveillance, Cinch, Corral Boots, Logan Coach Horse Trailers, Willbros Group Inc., Swift Transportation, HR Workplace Services, Priefert and Silver Lining Herbs.
â€śThere are so many variables in roping that you just have to take what you get.â€ť
LAS VEGAS â€“ Cort Scheer entered the 2014 National Finals Rodeo with hopes of a world championship.
Instead, he pocketed more than $93,000 over the 10 days of ProRodeoâ€™s grand championship event and left Las Vegas with a big piece of disappointment. How can that be?
He needed $10,000 more.
Instead, he finished the season No. 2 in the world standings with $195,586, $9,800 behind world champion Spencer Wright of Milford, Utah. It was a fantastic finish for the gold buckle, and it came down to the final round to decide the champion.
Scheer, 28, of Elsmere, Neb., placed in five go-rounds, including a first-round victory. He also finished second in the average behind Wright â€“ they were the only two men to ride all 10 horses; it marked the second straight season Scheer finished second in the average and rode all 10 broncs at the NFR. By finishing with 764 cumulative points, he added $39,537 in average money.
Scheer, who attended Montana State University, Garden City (Kan.) Community College and Oklahoma Panhandle State University on rodeo scholarships, had a strong NFR. The main difference between first and second was their payoffs in the average. Still Wright â€“ who brought his bronc riding family their fourth gold buckle, joining big brothers Cody (2) and Jesse â€“ earned more than $145,000 in Sin City.
None of that takes away from the exceptional season Scheer had in 2014. In the PRCA alone, he had eight event titles, including big-rodeo victories in Pendleton, Ore., and Denver. He also added championships at Cinch Shoot-Outs throughout the season.
That all added up to a great way to make a living on the backs of bucking horses. But thatâ€™s what fans have come to expect of Scheer, who has been among the top 5 in the final world standings each of the past two seasons. He has consistently been one of ProRodeoâ€™s elite bronc riders â€“ the only season in which he hasnâ€™t made the NFR came in 2011 when he suffered a knee injury and finished 25th.
Where he goes from here remains to be seen, but heâ€™s proven a gold buckle is within reach.
Now he just needs to grasp it.