MANDAN, N.D. - Every sport has its big event. For professional rodeo, it's the National Finals in Las Vegas.
Mandan's Ty Breuer qualified for the N.F.R. for the 3rd-time this season and he headed for Vegas on Monday. The top-15 advance to the National Finals in each event and Breuer is 14th in the world bareback standings with just under $90,000 won so far. Ty was on the bubble for most of the final month.
"There was two weeks left, and I dropped out of the top 15. And, we were going to rodeos every day as many as we could get to, going to rodeo's I've never heard of before. Me and Steven Dent, and all of the sudden that last week I drew some good horses at the two biggest rodeo's that were left and won one and ended up second in the other one. And, kind of clinched my spot so that last weekend it was more fun because I knew that I kind of had it made and a lot of pressure was off, but that last month was a lot of pressure," said Breuer.
Breuer was at the National Finals last year, and in 2013. Just because he's a veteran of the NFR doesn't mean the largeness of the moment gets any easier.
"A guy doesn't think he's going to get those goose-bumps, but when you get there and you get to walk down the hallway and see the horse that you're going to ride, they usually have them penned there. I mean, it puts goose bumps on your back every time. You walk down and if it didn't that would be kind of weird. It's like the Super Bowl, but it seems like I really calm down when that horse gets in the chute, and I start putting my rigging on I really start focusing," said Breuer.
A lot has gone on in Breuer's life in the last few months. His brother and travel partner Casey suffered a broken back at a rodeo and Ty recently became a dad for the first time.
"Me and Kelly just had a little girl, Kayd on the 9th of November and she was actually supposed to come this week so it was going to be a lot more crunched but it ended up working out well, and everything is good and she's healthy and they plan on coming down to Vegas. So, we're hoping everything goes good there, but yes, it's life changing when you have a kid that's for sure and just trying to concentrate on the NFR. It's pretty cool and it's made me push harder to be better at what I want to do," said Breuer.
When Breuer is not riding horses, he's raising cows, so he basically has two full-time jobs.
"I got the best of two worlds! I get to do my two favorite thing that I like doing, ranching and riding bareback horses and it's pretty awesome that I get the opportunity to do both of them and to be where I'm at with both of them also. There's been a lot of people who have helped me and that's who I give all of my success to, is my family and friends and also the neighbors and everyone else that helped me get to where I'm at," said Breuer.
He'll be riding 10-days in a row at the Thomas & Mack Arena beginning on Thursday. The winner of each event, each night makes over $26,000 and the total payout for the NFR this year in Las Vegas is $10 million.