Mandan News

Ty Breuer competing in his first NFR

When he has been healthy, Ty Breuer has proven time and again that he is a special talent. This year, the Mandan cowboy has taken it to the next level — the highest level — qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo in bareback riding.

And he scored an 83.5 in last Thursday’s first round in a three-way tie for fourth place, and was ranked 13th in the world and 13th in the average at the NFR after the go-round on Wednesday, Dec. 11..

The NFR began last week in Las Vegas and will run through Saturday, Dec. 14. The event is being televised by the Great American Country network. GAC is channel 206 on Midcontinent Communications, channel 165 on Dish TV and 326 on Direct TV.

“It’s a dream come true,” said Breuer. “It’s been cool. That’s something I’ve wanted to do since I started rodeo is to make NFR.”

The 23-year-old Breuer was ranked seventh in the world bareback standings heading into the NFR, his first time competing in the event considered the Super Bowl of the sport.

What allowed Breuer to finally make his lifelong dream a reality? “I was healthy all year long,” he said. “That really helped.”

Breuer made his first splash on the national rodeo scene in 2010. First, competing for Central Wyoming, he won the College National Finals Rodeo bareback title. He followed that up with a stellar showing on the pro circuit. Despite competing for a short time, he finished 34th in the world standings —earning $25,231 — and winning the PRCA bareback rookie of the year award.

Breuer accomplished all those things despite breaking his right ankle, which required a metal plate to mend, in February of that year.

Breuer was poised to accomplish even bigger things in 2011 — until he broke the right ankle again. “The second time it bent that plate and shattered in a bunch of different spots,” Breuer said. “It took longer to get fixed.”

Breuer finished 53rd during the injury-shortened season, but rebounded nicely in 2012, placing 23rd with $40,712 in earnings.

Breuer kicked off 2013 with a bang, winning the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver. It was the first of 13 events he won outright — he was co-champion at four others. In all he had earned $84,321 going into the NFR.

“I got a good early win at Denver. Cody (Wyo.) was another one that I won that was pretty cool. They all helped me out get to where we are.”

Breuer got into rodeo at an early age. “I started when I was little, all the way from riding calves, then I rode miniature bulls,” he said. “… I started riding bareback horses when I was sophomore in high school. Both my dad (Ed) and uncle (Dean) rode bareback horses, and that helped a lot.”

Breuer said he was drawn to bareback in particular because he found it “wilder.” “I don’t know the secret of success,” he said with a laugh. “A lot of it is just doing the basics — like the markout, staying square and spurring. If you do the basics, you’ll be able ride a lot longer in your career, because it doesn’t beat up your body as bad.”

The family bonding over rodeo continues to this day. Breuer’s younger brother, Casey, also competes. This was the first year the Breuer brothers traveled together on the pro circuit, and Casey is 39th in the rankings with $19,779.

“We both want to excel in riding bareback horses, and we both help each other out a lot,” Breuer said. “By critiquing your riding, we’re the only ones who get to see it — at every rodeo we watch each other, it can help you out.”

Breuer said he’s ready to enjoy the first of what he hopes turns out to be many trips to the NFR. “I’ve known it since I was growing up that this is what I wanted to do. It’s cool that it worked out,” he said. “I’m going to have fun and ride bareback horses out here and see what happens.”

By Lou Babiarz