Young steer wrestler Bridger Anderson comes to the finals of RFD-TV’s The American with big dreams

Ever since Bridger Anderson was 3-years-old, he wanted to rodeo.

“When I was three, I told my mom I wanted to be a steer wrestler,” he told Rodeo News. “I was going to be a Paleontologist during the day and professional steer wrestler at night.”

Anderson grew up on a ranch in Carrington, North Dakota with his parents (both ropers) and two sisters Cedar and Dawsyn, who also rodeoed growing up.

Anderson first competed as a calf roper, where he made it to Nationals twice in junior high and once in high school.

But in 2015, he finally got his start bulldogging and his crash course came from none other than five-time world champion Luke Branquinho. Anderson’s mother reached out to the veteran bulldogger on his fan page on Facebook and 20 minutes later, Luke had agreed to let Bridger and his mother come to California to spend a week throwing steers with him.

Anderson has been vying for a spot in the finals of RFD-TV’s The American, which he says is a truly life changing rodeo, since he was 16 and finally broke through in 2020.

“We have had our sites on running them at the American for quite a few years now, and I can’t wait to feel that atmosphere and nod my head for a chance at a million dollars,” he said.

Anderson was second in qualifying at the semi-finals. He stopped the clock at 3.78 in Go 1 and 5.90 in Go 2.

“I am feeling confident coming off of this last week of semi-finals, and we are focused on making the best runs we can come this weekend,” he said.

Anderson, the reigning College National Champion, enters the finals of The American just outside the Top 10. He is No. 11 in the world standings having earned just over $17,000 so far in 2020.

Helping him along the way in the professional ranks has been another big name in the steer wrestling world - seven-time NFR qualifier Stockton Graves.

Graves is Anderson’s hazer at PRCA events and his college coach at Northwestern Oklahoma State.

“I’ve learned a lot from him,” Anderson said, “and being able to get to rodeo with him the last couple years, I continue to learn from him every time we get to run a steer. But, he’s taught me a lot, and I’m glad I have him hazing for me and get to compete with him.”

Like everyone who rodeos professionally, Bridger Anderson has his sights set on the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, especially after a stellar start to the season.

“Big goals are to make the NFR and win a world championship,” he said. “So far, it’s been going well and hopefully we can keep progressing and see how far it goes.”

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