Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 9, 2017
It was a night that eight of the nine Canadians on the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo contestant roster would like to put behind them.
Only bareback rider Jake Vold was able to cash a cheque. In an incredible night of bareback riding, it came down to World Champion on World Champion. Tim O’Connell, the 2016 titleist, matched up with C5 Rodeo’s Virgil, the Canadian horse that has been crowned both Canadian and World champion in 2017, were spectacular for a 91.5 point ride, equaling the arena record and earning the defending champion and 2017 season leader his first go round win.
“You just don’t know what that horse is going to do,” O’Connell commented after the ride. “All you know is that he’ll do anything to get a guy off his back. And I was doing everything I could to stay there.”
The all-Canadian matchup of Vold and the Northcott-Macza’s nine year-old mare Spilled Perfume, resulted in 87 points and a third place finish for the three-time Canadian champion for $15,653. The Airdrie talent remains in third place in the world standings, $94,999 back of the dominating O’Connell who has also taken the lead in the average.
Orin Larsen, the Manitoba bareback rider, managed a 73 point ride on this night to finish out of the money but continues to hold onto third place overall.
‘Scooter”, the steer wrestling horse, co-owned by Tyler Pearson and Kyle Irwin, was the star of night number three in the bulldogging. The 2017 AQHA/PRCA bulldogging horse of the year carried cowboys to 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th in the go round. Kyle Irwin, 3.4 seconds; Ty Erickson, 3.7; Tyler Pearson, 4.0; and Tyler Waguespack, 4.1 all tipped their hats to the tremendous gelding.
Canadians Scott Guenthner at 4.5 seconds and Tanner Milan at 4.9 both finished out of the money.
It was a disappointing night for Jeremy Buhler in the team roping as the defending world champion was blazing fast with his heel loop but lost his dally and he and heading partner, the Arizona cowboy, Tom Richards took a no-time and have yet to hit the pay window. The round win went to Luke Brown and Jake Long as their 3.9 earned them the $26,230 first place cheques.
The best of the three Canadian saddle bronc riders in the Friday night go-round was Canadian champion Layton Green with his 83.5 score. Clay Elliott checked in at 82 while Zeke Thurston was only able to collect 79.5 points on the night. All three were out of the money as season leader and 2015 World Champion, Jacobs Crawley, won the round and padded his lead at the top of the standings. Coburn Bradshaw has gone by Zeke and has taken over second place in the world standings.
In the tie-down roping, the Texas cowboy with the British Columbia roots, Timber Moore, won the go-round. Moore, the 2013, Canadian Champion was 7.1 seconds for the win.Tuf Cooper continues to lead the world standings with a hard-charging Trevor Brazile not far behind.
Hailey Kinsel decided bareback rider, Tim O,Connell, wasn’t going to be the only one to write his name into the record books on Saturday night in Las Vegas. The Cotulla, Texas cowgirl didn’t simply break the arena record, she smashed it to smithereens with a phenomenal 13.11 seconds. Her amazing run came just moments after Cassie Mowry had established a new mark at 13.36, one one-hundredth of a second faster than the previous record time of 13.37 established by Taylor Jacob in 2013 and equaled by Amberleigh Moore in 2016.
Jordan Hansen, the 2015 Canadian Bull Riding Champion bucked off Stace Smith Pro Rodeo’s Torch on night number three, as the bull riders saw the eliminator pen for the first time and only four men made the horn. Meanwhile the battle for the world title continued and this time it was Sage Kimzey making a move and putting some distance between himself and the Canadian Champion from Idaho, Garrett Smith, who was bucked off. Kimzey, the three time title-holder joined Cole Melancon at the top of the board—both posted 91.5 scores.