Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
The Chad Besplug Invitational has been known throughout its five year history as a great place to kickstart your season. In fact, through its first four years, the winner of the event has gone on qualify for the CFR—Dakota Buttar in 2014, Devon Mezei in 2015, Brock Radford in 2016 and Garrett Green in 2017.
Green, the Meeting Creek bull rider is hoping that statistic holds up in 2018 as he won a head to head confrontation with Radford at the Claresholm venue on Saturday night.
“It’s pretty cool to be 90 points in the short round last year and then to do the same thing this year,” Green smiled after his winning ride. This time around the 90 score came on the back of the Wild Hogs bull, Smiling Bob, and combined with his long-go score of 83.5, gave the 26 year-old 173.5 on two for a $3712 payday and a beautiful custom painted electric guitar.
“I can play a little bit,” Green grinned, “so this is awesome.”
The only real challenge came from 2016 champion, Brock Radford, who won the long go with 84, then added an 85.5 mark in the short round for a 169.5 total good for second place and $3656.
“Winning this event twice in a row means everything to me,” Green admitted. “Chad (and Alpha bull) do an amazing job putting on this bull riding and the crowd here is totally into it. It’s so much fun riding here.”
Green and Radford from Dewinton, Alberta then battled it out one more time in the Don Mills $2500.00 Country Chrysler Shoot Out but this time neither man rode (Green on Outlaw Buckers’ Anika’s Pet, Radford on Mud Bog), and Mills donated the money to the Ty Pozzobon Foundation.
The win, for Green, at the Xtreme Bulls event, keeps the three-time CFR qualifier solidly in 4th place in the Canadian standings. Third place in Claresholm went to Maple Creek bull rider, Jared Parsonage, who moves past Zane Lambert into first place in the Canadian standings.
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And on one of the richest weeks south of the 49th parallel, Canadians made some serious noise on the world rodeo stage.
At the San Antonio Stock Show and Rodeo, 2016 World Champion Saddle Bronc rider, Zeke Thurston, led the Canadian charge to the pay window. His 3/4 split overall netted the Big Valley, AB cowboy $13,983. In the steer wrestling, Curtis Cassidy – holder of 12 Canadian championships – split fourth overall for a lucrative $9616 payoff while in the bareback riding event, three time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier, Orin Larsen, topped the Canadian bareback riders with $6354. Other Canadians to cash in at the rich Texas stop included bareback riders Clint Laye ($4831) and Luke Creasy ($2378); steer wrestlers Scott Guenthner ($3270) and Tanner Milan ($595); bronc rider Sam Kelts ($2378); barrel racer Carman Pozzobon ($2378) and tie down roper Kyle Lucas ($1784). The San Antonio Finals saw two Calgary Stampede horses in the spotlight. In the saddle bronc riding, 2015 World Champion Jacobs Crawley put together an 87 point ride on Tokyo Bubbles en route to the overal championship and $25,767. And in the bareback event, Mason Clements, topped the Finals with a spectacular 90 point ride on 2012 Canadian saddle bronc, Special Delivery.
At Tucson, Arizona’s La Fiesta de los Vaqueros, Clint Laye carried the Canadian colours very well in the bareback riding as he placed in both the long go and short go, finishing third overall, for $5907. Luke Creasy won the long round to collect $3868 and continue enjoying his best ever early season results to remain solidly in the world standings. (The bad news is that Creasy suffered separated ribs and will be out for a few weeks.) Michael Solberg finished up 8th in the average to take home $387. Steer wrestler, Harley Cole, placed in one round and the short go, finishing up fifth in the average for a sizable $3781 payoff and Curtis Cassidy collected $1661 by placing in the second round of the tie down roping. Barrel racer, Kirsty White caught a 7th place average cheque of $1072 while bronc rider Jake Watson ($514) and team roper Clay Ullery ($118) also cashed cheques at Tucson.
At the mega-profitable non-sanctioned ‘The American’, seven Canadians qualified for Sunday’s Final: bronc riders Clay Elliott, Zeke Thurston, Layton Green; steer wrestlers Tanner Milan and Scott Guenthner, bareback rider Orin Larsen and barrel racer Carman Pozzobon. Larsen, Guenthner and Elliott advanced to the Showdown round-of-4 in each event where Larsen was the big winner – finishing second for $25,000. Neither Elliott nor Guenthner were able to cash in on Sunday. In the bareback riding, C5 Rodeo’s much-celebrated Virgil did it again! The great gray carried 4 time world champion, Kaycee Feild, to 90.75 for the win and a share of the million dollar sidepot as a qualifier.