MANDAN, N.D. - Ty Breuer is a veteran of the biggest rodeo in the world. This is the 5th-time the bareback rider from Mandan has qualified for the N.F.R. in Las Vegas.
The top 15 in the standings at the end of the regular season qualify for Las Vegas and Breuer heads in ranked 12th in the world with over $88,000 in earnings so far. Ty's year and been interesting to say the least.
Ty Breuer, "I had a great winter. It couldn't have gone any better actually. I did good at all of the big rodeo's and then toward summer I ended up getting an illness and we weren't quite sure what it was and we never really did figure out what it was really. No energy and kind of sick all summer. It showed mono for a little but then they thought maybe West Nile, but I finally got over that."
Just to show you how good Ty's start was he lost $10,000 in official earnings because he only went to 27 rodeos. They're required to do at least 40 but Breuer's illness prevent that.
Ty says the setting at Thomas & Mack is electric, no matter how many times you've done it.
"Best rodeo of the year! It pays the best. It's what you work for all year," said Breuer. "When you get there you don't think it's going to send chills down your back, but every time, and those first couple rounds you walk down and the bucking horses are in pens right next to you. They all got their own pens at the NFR and you see your opponent, who you're going to ride and go against that night. It's pretty awesome. I can picture it in my mind because I've done it but it's just awesome. It feels like you're achieved something when you get there that's for sure."
Another thing that's for sure in Las Vegas is the riders will face what's called the eliminator pens.
"That's the rankest horses in the world. A lot of times you're going to be 90 or you're going to get bucked off and some nights a guy doesn't really sleep before that round but when the round is over you're pretty happy because it's usually some juiced up hoppers and the TV pens so usually if you can get past those two "E" pens then you're pretty safe in the average," said Breuer.
Speaking of getting thrown off a horse, Breuer says their riding glove has a trio of bumps on it designed to help keep your hand locked in place.
"And that goes into a rawhide handle, and when your hand shuts, you have to put it in at an angle. And, when your hand shuts and your crank is back, they all catch. The pressure points all catch and you're in there pretty good for sure, and if you do go off the wrong side you're going to be hung up and sometimes even can hang up in your hand, too. They're in there but I'd rather hang and drag than have my hand blowout and go out the back door and get kicked of something," said Breuer.
Bareback is often called the most physical event in pro rodeo, not the most dangerous, that's bull riding.
The NFR starts Thursday night and goes for 10 straight days.