MANDAN, N.D. - It's the biggest rodeo in the world and it starts on Thursday. The National Finals Rodeo (N.F.R.) in Las Vegas is 10 straight days, and only the top 15 in the world standings are able to compete.
A pair of North Dakotans qualified this year.
Cameron Morman from Glen Ullin is a first timer. He missed it by three places last year.
Morman is in steer wrestling. His path to the top 15 was interesting because it came right down to the end of the regular season.
"I was pretty hot this winter and won a lot in Kissimmee and I kind of placed a lot through 4th of July, and then after the 4th of July, I couldn't win a lot. I wasn't having a lot of luck. I just kept placing along, and then the last week I won Kansas City, and that's pretty much sealed the deal."
Morman enters the N.F.R. ranked 14th in the PRCA world standing with $76,703 won so far this year.
He gets $10,000 just for making it to the N.F.R. Each night there is over $84,000 available in each event, add in the average and a total of $1,100,000 will be paid out per event at the Finals.
"I got pretty serious about it when I first started. I was chute dogging in junior high and I was decent at it and I started jumping steer's. Tyler and Jackie Schau having an indoor arena 17 or 18 miles away from my place so I always went over there. Her dad, Joel Olson, I got quite a few horses from and he kind of helped me start roping so the first day I jumped a steer I was pretty hooked on it I guess and just been working at it ever since," said Morman.
After graduating from Glen Ullin in 2012, Morman went to Dickinson State University where he continue to hone his skills.
Three years ago, he went to the N.F.R. as a fan but, of course, this year will be a much different experience.
"My family has supported me through thick and thin. Nobody else in my family rodeoed. My brother played football and my other two brothers played football but none of them rodeoed. I think they're just as excited as I am to get to go out there and wee what it's all about," said Morman.
Morman and his horses have been in California getting ready for Las Vegas. Your News Leader talked with Morman when he flew back to North Dakota to sell some calves before heading back to the West Coast.
Mandan's Ty Breuer and his family left Monday for Las Vegas. Ty has qualified for the finals for the fifth time in his pro rodeo career.
We will hear from the 12th-ranked bareback rider in the world Tuesday.