LAS VEGAS – Montana is doing its best to make a noticeable statement in Nevada as Round 9 of the National Finals Rodeo approaches Friday night.
Corvallis cowboy Caleb Bennett leads the bareback standings with $240,389.73 earned this season. Bennett, originally from Trementon, Utah, leads world champion Tim O’Connell by just more than $13,000, but might not place high enough in the average to hold on for his first gold buckle.
Bennett has been requested by multiple outlets to stop by the media room for interviews, but, as of Friday afternoon, he had not made an appearance.
Bridger Chambers and Cort Scheer are turning into great storylines.
Chambers is a steer wrestler who grew up in Stevensville. This is the first time he’s ever tried to reach the NFR, and he nailed it. Chambers is sixth in the world standings and third in the high-paying average. He’s also won money in half the rounds.
The tall cowboy now lives in Butte with his wife and four kids, but he actually grew up playing basketball for his dad, then ultimately chose rodeo over hoops.
“I did,” Chambers said with a big grin, “and he (dad) was OK with that. It was something that was awesome. He loved coaching, and it was awesome to play for him. He was a great coach. Played basketball at Dillon, there at Western, so it was good. But this was it for me, so I couldn’t ask for anything more.”
Chambers said he and his father now run a dog business together. Bridger says when he started to heat up this year on the rodeo trail, his dad held down the fort and supported Bridger’s idea of chasing the dream. Talk about a payoff.
Saddle bronc rider Cort Scheer is full of smiles at this NFR. He’s a Nebraska native who spent a year on the rodeo team at Montana State. Scheer has won money in six of the eight rounds. How did he end up at MSU for only one season?
“Just trying to see more country and broaden my horizons,” said Scheer. “I’m from Nebraska and went to college in Garden City, Kansas, and I just wanted to see some country and get my name out there a little bit. I knew there were great bucking horses up north, and so that’s kind of where I wanted to go and get on them.”
Scheer is No. 4 in the world. He’s won more than $200,000 this season, and if the chips fall right he could approach $300,000 when it wraps up Saturday night.