Consistency paid off for Bridger Anderson this week in Las Vegas.
The 19-year-old steer wrestler from Carrington, North Dakota, put together three impressive runs, including a 4.0-second run in the short go-round Saturday, to win the average in the Steer Wrestling competition at the Junior National Finals Rodeo presented by YETI.
“I just wanted to come here and make the best run I could on my cattle,” Anderson said. “I didn’t want to worry too much about being too fast. I just wanted to be on the barrier and max out my cattle. There were a few things I could have made up for, but I thought it went all right.”
It’s hard to argue with the results.
In addition to finishing second in the short go behind Lorango, Louisiana, cowboy Marc Joiner’s 3.9-second run, Anderson finished in a three-way tie for the first round win with a time of 4.3 seconds. He finished out of the money in the second round with a 4.9, but his three-run time of 13.2 seconds was enough to make him a world champion.
Anderson also received a check for $13,833 and a spot in the semifinals of The American, the world’s richest one-day rodeo.
“I had completely forgot about that,” Anderson said, when asked about The American. “That’s pretty cool to think about.”
Anderson, a freshman at Northwestern Oklahoma State University in Alva, Oklahoma, is currently tied for sixth place in the Central Plains Region bulldogging standings.
He’ll head back to school in January, but for now he’s enjoying his time in Vegas. This year marked the first time that steer wrestling was a part of the Junior NFR after former Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world champion Ote Berry came on board as the event programmer.
“This is my first time in Vegas and it’s been awesome,” Anderson said. “I didn’t want to come here until I made it and I’m just glad that Ote gave us a chance to make it here at such a young age.
“It was awesome just to be able to bulldog with the yellow bucking chutes and the yellow roping chutes. And to be in this kind of setting competing against this level of bulldoggers.”
Joiner finished second in the average with a time of 13.4 seconds, with Dawson Stewart of Erda, Utah, third in 13.5.
In the 16 & Under division, Cash Robb of Altamont, Utah, won the average with a three-run time of 15.3 seconds, followed by Clay Islet of Lincoln, Texas, with a 16.2 and Gus Franzen of Kearney, Nebraska, with a 16.3.
Joiner and Myles Neighbors of Benton, Arkansas, had the fastest runs of the week with 3.9-second runs.
As for Anderson, the fact that he came to Las Vegas and is leaving with a $13,833 check, puts him in the rare category of people who come to Vegas and leave with more than money than when they arrived.
“Yeah, I won all that money without even gambling,” Anderson laughed. “It’s by far the biggest check I’ve ever won and it’s definitely going to help me pay for some stuff.”