Stroh caps stellar September with trip to NFR
Shaun Stroh was a ways outside of the National Finals Rodeo picture a month ago.
Now, he's heading to Las Vegas on one heck of a hot streak.
A huge September, capped off with a big payday at the Justin Boots Championships last weekend in Omaha, Neb., helped the Dickinson saddle bronc rider earn a spot in the NFR.
Stroh punched his ticket to December's Finals after earning $17,625 at Omaha's River City Roundup, which served as the championship event of the Wrangler Million Dollar Tour.
"The month in general, I don't know. It's just a blessing, I guess, to sum it up," Stroh said. "It was pretty awesome."
In September, Stroh scored big money wins at rodeos in Pendleton, Ore., Puyallup, Wash., Lewistown, Idaho, Albuquerque, N.M., and even came home to earn a little cash at Bowman.
At the beginning of the month, Stroh was 22nd in the PRCA saddle bronc riding standings with $33,802 in earnings. As the 2009 regular season came to a close Sunday, he was seventh in the standings with $82,159, putting his September earnings at more than $48,000.
"All year, I was just kind of dragging along there, quite a ways out," said Stroh, who barely cracked the top 15 much of the season. "At the end of the year there, I was out far enough where you could look at the glass half full or half empty. I guess I was blessed to have it fall together at the right time."
While Stroh is heading to the NFR on a hot streak, another Dickinson saddle bronc rider wasn't so lucky.
Dusty Hausauer appears to be on the outside of the NFR picture despite earning $2,200 at Omaha. He had a 78 to win some money in the second round, which allowed him to pocket some average cash, and also earned money with an 84 in the semifinals.
However, on Monday, Hausauer stood in the worst place a cowboy could be at the end of a season -- 16th place in the standings, one spot after the top 15 cutoff for the NFR.
While Hausauer earned $62,586 this season, he was more than $3,000 behind 15th place Chad Ferley of Oelrichs, S.D., who has $65,788 in earnings and was one of a handful of bronc riders who used big weekends in Omaha to reach the NFR finals.
Hausauer entered the weekend 14th in the standings and watched as Isaac Diaz and Ferley leapfrogged him.
"It's dang sure bad he missed it by so little," Stroh said.
Stroh shared a runner-up finish with Diaz in the second round and shared a semifinal win in Omaha with Heath DeMoss. Stroh finished third in Saturday's Justin Boots Championships finals with an 83. He earned cash in every round but the first round.
Stroh said he looked to Hausauer, who was plagued with back problems late in the summer, as a source of inspiration as he began
"He's riding good all year long and I was bringing up the bottom," Stroh said. "That was what's kept me going here."
Calls to Hausauer's cell phone rang unanswered. His mother, Diane Hausauer, said he was traveling home to Dickinson on Monday.