Ponca City tie-down roper Jerome Schneeberger won his eighth championship on the Prairie Circuit this season.
The national circuit title, however, has always eluded him. He’s gotten close to that crown, missing on his final calf one year that cost him the national championship.
Schneeberger is making his ninth appearance in the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo and says winning the crown would mean almost as much as winning the average at the National Finals Rodeo, which he accomplished in 2001.
“It would be darn close,” Schneeberger said. “It would be right up there.”
The first time Schneeberger qualified for the RAM National Circuit Finals, he was a 21-year-old young gun coming off his inaugural appearance in the NFR.
Now 37, Schneeberger hasn’t qualified for the NFR in three years, a place where he once was a regular, earning 11 trips in his career to pro rodeo’s top event, including seven straight from 2001 to 2007.
He now rodeos primarily on the Prairie Circuit which encompasses Oklahoma, Kansas and Nebraska and no longer chases the dream of becoming a world champion in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association.
“The kids are getting older and I just wanted to stick closer to home,” said Schneeberger, who has four children ranging in ages from 11 to 1.
However, Schneeberger admits that he often gets the itch to rodeo as hard as he once did.
“There are times I wish I would just drop everything and go, but I think about that guaranteed check at the end of the day,” said Schneeberger, who has a full-time job in the construction business. “You get a craving and want to do it, but you just wake up to reality, I guess.