After Tanner Aus, 29 of Granite Falls, tore two ligaments in his knee, he was forced to decline an invite to the Calgary Stampede Rodeo in Canada last summer.
“I gave up my spot due to an injury and you always have that thought cross your head, like ‘Maybe I’ll never get back to Calgary,’ ” Aus said. “So when I got an invitation again this year after missing the finals (National Finals Rodeo) last year, it was one of them calls that just left me smiling all day long.”
It seems that the unexpected haitus hasn’t diminished Aus’ skill or tenacity. On Monday, July 15, Aus had one of the best runs of his career. He earned a 92.5-point ride atop Yipee Kibitz, landing Aus his first Stampede title in the bareback event. He was able to edge out 2013 champ Caleb Bennett of Tremonton, Utah, by just one point to secure the first place finish. The title also came with a $100,000 prize.
“To come out with the victory is life changing,” Aus said. “This is amazing. This is an incredible place to be. This committee works hard to make this rodeo special and this crowd’s just phenomenal.” The following Tuesday, Aus earned an 87.5-point hookup with Kesler’s Critical Smile, giving him the best bareback ride in the opening go-round of Pool B. This score also earned Aus a $5,500 check and a bronze medal.
“I have one other bronze (from Calgary) decorating the house,” Aus said. “My wife loves how I decorate — trophies and trinkets all over the place. But I’m pretty proud of that one and happy to have another one.” “We’ll make a spot for it. It can go on the kitchen table if it has to,” he added.