January 16 | Red Deer, AB — Tonight, hundreds of people turned out in anticipation to hear the major announcement that sparked huge social media attention when the invitation was sent out this past Friday.
The room was filled with excitement from beginning to end with video presentations, flashing lights, live music and fireworks that went off in celebration to announce the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) is coming to Red Deer.
“We feel honoured that the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) has chosen Red Deer to be the new home for CFR,” says Ben Antifaiff, CEO and General Manager at Westerner Park. “Together as a community, we should be very proud of this moment and celebrate that the CFR will continue its legacy right here in Central Alberta.”
Westerner Park and Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce began working on their vision for a multi-year proposal to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association several months ago and pitched their bid by hosting an event to showcase Red Deer as a strong contender.
“Our city and our region has been buzzing with excitement since we went public with our proposal to host the CFR,” says Robin Bobocel, CEO of Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. “We are a vibrant community that can accomplish anything it sets its sights on, and with the help of our partners in the community, and the CPRA, we will make CFR 2018 a huge success.”
Canadian Professional Rodeo Association went on stage following the big reveal that Westerner Park and the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce were successful in their efforts to bring the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) to Red Deer.
President of the CPRA, Terry Cooke, echoed the excitement expressed by the Red Deer group. “We see this as a wonderful new opportunity for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, our contestants, sponsors, partners and fans,” Cooke said. “Central Alberta has long been known as a hub of rodeo talent and community support for our sport. The combination of great rodeo fans in this region, coupled with the influx of visitors that make the CFR an annual destination, point to a tremendous future for the CFR in Red Deer.“
“The CPRA Board would like to thank all the cities that have expressed interest in the Canadian Finals Rodeo,” noted Jeff Robson, CPRA spokesman. “This process was obviously accelerated with the closing of the Coliseum in Edmonton one year sooner than expected. The moving of an event of this magnitude and heritage that has only had one home certainly wasn’t taken lightly. We looked at a number of factors in selecting Red Deer as our new host city. Their excitement for the event and facilities to not only host the rodeo, but to host various other activities during the week will continue to support the economic impact that CFR brings to the host community. We would like to thank Westerner Park and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce for all their work on this bid and look forward to working with them on the event.”
Brett Gardiner was the emcee for the evening event and closed off the celebration by thanking everyone in attendance as “your presence here is a testament to the passion for rodeo that we have in Central Alberta.”
The countdown for CFR 45 taking place on Oct 30 to Nov 4, 2018 in the ENMAX Centrium at Westerner Park starts now!
Red Deer, where champions are made and legends continue.
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 16, 2017
It was a Gold Buckle night at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and while there were a few races that were all but decided before the night began, there was no shortage of drama on this Saturday night.
It went down to the last run in the steer wrestling before Tyler Pearson of Louisville, Oklahoma finally emerged as the 2017 World Champion. When Helena, Montana’s Ty Erickson finished fourth in the round with a 4.5, it meant the man who had led virtually all season would finish second to Pearson by just $2200.00. ($265,457 to $263,267). The die was cast in the ninth round when Erickson encountered all kinds of trouble and had to chase his steer around the arena on foot before finally having to settle for a 26.4 and the deficit after that run was just too much to overcome in just one round.
But one of the cool stories at this year’s Finals was fashioned by Provost, Alberta cowboy, Scott Guenthner, who finished second in the tenth round with a 3.6 second run. That came on the heels of his go-round win the night before; the first time WNFR qualifier wound up 5th in the average and took $87,000 out of Las Vegas over the ten days – finishing up 6th in the world with $186,839 in season earnings. The second of the Canadian contingent, two time Canadian Champion, Tanner Milan, had a no time in the final round, his second of this WNFR, but he also had two of Canada’s five go round wins and finished eighth in the world with $156,265 on the season.
It was another photo finish in the team roping as the Arizona duo of Erich Rogers and Cory Petska were fifth in the final round with an 8.3 second run which kept them in second place in the average. That was enough to hold off Georgia’s Kaleb Driggers and his partner, Junior Nogueira, the defending All-Around World Champion, by $11,000. The final round was won by Garrett Rogers and Jake Minor who roped their steer in 4.1 seconds. The Canadian presence in the team roping was defending World Champion, Jeremy Buhler, who was teamed with Arizona header, Tom Richards after the Arrowwood, Alberta heeler’s partner for that world title and this year’s Canadian championship, Levi Simpson, just missed qualifying. Richards missed the head catch and the team took a no time in the final round. Buhler earned $30,096 at the Finals for a season total of $98,101.
The bronc riding had a different kind of drama. When the teenage sensation from Utah, Ryder Wright, missed his horse out in round 10, it looked like the world title he’d been chasing may have eluded his grasp. But his four go round wins, coupled with a seventh place cheque in the average, gave him $284,938 and a narrow $2700 margin of victory over the hard-charging Wyoming hand, Brody Cress, who won the average. Wright, even with his 10th round disqualification, won $185,576 at the Finals en route to his winning total.
As far as Canadian success in Round 10, Clay Elliott, from Nanton, Alberta, picked up a fifth place cheque of 2016 Canadian Champion took home $32,423 as the 2016 Canadian Saddle Bronc Champion finished up 14th in the world. Last year’s World Champion, Zeke Thurston, was 79.5 on C5 Rodeo’s Double D to finish just out of the money in the round. The second generation bronc rider finished 10th in the average, won $29,461 and finished up 7th in the world with $199,917 in season earnings. And the third member of the Canadian bronc riding trio, Layton Green, bucked off the 2017 World Champion saddle bronc, Beutler and Son’s Wound up to wrap up his first finals. Green the 2017 Canadian Champion, placed three times at the Thomas and Mack Arena and picked up $45,679 as he finished 13th in the average and ninth in the world.
The drama reached fever pitch in the tie down roping as two guys went head to head for the title. Three time World Champion, Tuf Cooper, and the Brazilian sensation, Marcos Costa, would be the last two to rope. Costa was the second last man to go and was 7.8 to move to first place in the round. When Cooper could manage only an 11.0 flat, it meant the go-round, the average and the world title would go to Marcos Costa – the man who a year ago was runner-up for the championship.
However, Cooper wouldn’t go home empty-handed as the talented Texan won his first All-Around title, edging his brother-in-law and thirteen time World AA Champion, Trevor Brazile by $22,000.
And in the barrel racing, California cowgirl, Nellie Miller came from behind to win the world title. She and her amazing blue roan mare, Sister, put together a brilliant finals and though she finished one spot out of the money in round ten, she held on to win the average by eight one-hundredths of a second over Ivy Conrado. Miller’s amazing WNFR haul of $177,961, combined with a difficult ten days for the regular season runaway leader, Tiany Schuster meant Miller captured her first world title with a total of $308,498. Hailey Kinsel, the Texas rookie WNFR qualifier, won the round in a blistering 13.17 to finish up second in the world. Kinsel and her palomino horse, had set the all-time arena record earlier in the week with an even faster 13.11. And, for Tiany Schuster, there was disappointment as the Texas cowgirl fell to third place overall, after an outstanding regular season that had her well in the lead coming into the Finals.
In the bareback riding, Iowa cowboy, Tim O’Connell, made his championship clinching ride on Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Mucho Dinero. The nine year-old grey was making his fourth appearance at the WNFR and carried O’Connell to 85.5 and while that left O’Connell in seventh place in the go-round and out of the money, the score was enough to carryhim to the average title (853.5 points on ten head) and the world title by a margin of an amazing $103,000. That is the definition of a dominant season.
The bareback go-round was split between Steven Dent and Mason Clements, both with 88 points. Dent was on Pete Carr’s Classic Pro Rodeo’s Scarletts Web—it was the fifth time WNFR go rounds have been won on the mare while Clements rode Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Top Flight. The lone Canadian, Orin Larsen of Inglis, Manitoba, was 81.5 on Pete Carr’s Classic Rodeo’s Fancy Free to finish out of the money in the final round. Larsen ended up 12th in the average and eighth in the world standings.
Things were pretty cut and dried in the bull riding as Sage Steele Kimzey, the superstar from Strong City, Texas, put the exclamation point on his fourth consecutive title with a spectacular 88 point ride on 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Girl Money, a bull that had been unridden in 2017. The go round win and the average title gave Kimzey a season earnings total of $436,479, and that, like so many of Kimzey’s achievements in a brilliant career, is a record setting total.
2016 Canadian Champion, Jordan Hansen bucked off his bull, 4L and Diamond S Rodeo’s Last Cigarette. But Hansen, competing at his first WNFR won round eight and placed in three others. He also picked up a sixth place cheque in the average for an NFR total of $84,038 and season earnings of $180,294.
Three time Canadian Champion Jake Vold suffered a knee injury in round eight when his horse fell into the chutes with him and the Airdrie cowboy missed the last two rounds after leading the average after the first seven performances.
While Canadians did not win any world titles this time around, they gave a tremendous account of themselves as both the two-legged and four legged superstars from north of 49 were tremendously successful. The nine Canadian cowboys riding for the Maple Leaf earned over $536,540 while over $350,000 was won on Canadian stock over the ten rounds.
Top Stock of the WNFR:
Bareback riding – (tie) C5 Rodeo’s Virgil and Powder River Rodeo’s Craig At Midnight
Saddle bronc riding – Andrews Rodeo’s Brutus
Bull riding – D & H Cattle Company’s SweetPro’s Bruiser
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 15, 2017
Those who follow Canadian rodeo knew it was coming. Scott Guenthner is just too good to have only one cheque (a 3/4/5/6 split) through the first eight rounds of action. That all changed on a cool Las Vegas Friday night as Guenthner heated things up with a blistering 3.3 second run for his first go-round win and a sweetheart $26,230 cheque.
“It means a lot,” the Provost, Alberta cowboy acknowledged. “I was a little disheartened, that’s for sure but I was trying not to think about it. But this whole experience is all so amazing right from the grand entry on and now winning tonight—it sure makes you want to come back.”
Guenthner changed horses on Thursday night, going to Tom Lewis’ horse, Maverick, the horse traveling partner Milan has been on all week. “I knew I had to change something so I figured I might as well get on a horse they’ve won three rounds on here already. And he was awesome tonight.”
The win means Guenthner joins Milan, the two time Canadian champion, who also had his first-ever (and second) rounds earlier in the week.
Meanwhile disaster struck season leader Ty Erickson from Helena, Montana as he missed the nose on his steer and finally, after chasing the steer on foot around the arena, settled for a 26.8 and fell from 1st to 7th in the average. That opens the door for the second place man, Tyler Pearson from Louisville, Oklahoma who sits just $25,000 behind the man the bulldoggers have been chasing all year. But Pearson sits second in the all-important average, which will pay more than enough to carry him to the title depending on what happens in the all-important tenth round.
In the team roping, the duo of Jeremy Buhler, reigning world champion heeler, and Arizona’s Tom Richards picked up their second cheque of the week, a fifth-place $6769 payday courtesy of their 4.1 second run. In a speedy round, the duo of Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira set a new arena record of 3.3 seconds and reclaimed the lead in one of the events that will be decided on the final day with several teams too close to rule out of the running. Cory Petska and Erich Rogers are sitting in second place in the average giving them a slight advantage heading into Saturday.
Another interesting race heading into the home stretch is in the tie down roping where three-time champion Tuf Cooper’s lead is a tenuous $23,500 over the Brazilian Marcos Costa who leads the average with Cooper in second spot. The difference between first and second in the average is $13,000 ($67,000 to $54,000), not enough for Costa to overtake the leader. The Brazilian has to place a couple of spots higher in the final go-round and hold onto the average lead to keep Cooper from winning his fourth title.
A similar scenario is shaping up in the barrel racing event where what appeared to be an unassailable lead all season long has now come down to what happens on championship Saturday. Nellie Miller of Cottonwood, California is now within $44,000 of the Texas cowgirl, Tiany Schuster, who has led from wire to wire. But Miller leads the average and if she can hold that spot and not lose ground to Schuster in the go-round, the seemingly impossible could happen..
In the bull riding Trey Benton lll and Boudreaux Campbell were the only two to ride on Friday night and they split the round with identical 88 point scores as Canada’s Jordan Hansen bucked off at 7.4 seconds to snap his riding streak at three. Three time champion Sage Kimzey holds a $61,000 advantage on Benton lll who leads the average and, like Kimzey, has ridden six of his nine bulls to date. They sit first and second respectively in the average.
With Jake Vold sidelined with a knee injury incurred in go round eight that ended his 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, it was up to Manitoba’s Orin Larsen to carry Canada’s colours in the bareback riding. Unfortunately, Revolving Door, the Summit Pro Rodeo horse, threw a nasty move at Larsen about six seconds into the ride and the three time WNFR qualifier was forced to double grab, resulting in a no score. After a solid start to his ten days in Las Vegas, that saw him place in five of the first six rounds, Larsen has struggled in the last three rounds–coming up empty in all three. That’s the reverse of his 2016 Finals when he was beat up in the opening round and didn’t settle into a winning groove until the sixth round. Tonight’s ninth round was won by Cleveland, Texas cowboy Jake Brown with an 87.5 ride. But for the second year in a row it’s been the Tim O’Connell show both at the Finals and throughout the season. O’Connell was 85 points for a 4/5 split in round nine and carries a lead of $92,000 into Saturday’s tenth round.
The bronc riding Gods were not smiling on the Canadian trio tonight as reigning world champion Zeke Thurston was disqualified while both 2015 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott, and reigning Canadian title-holder, Layton Green, were both bucked off. Meanwhile the unbelievable story of 19 year-old Ryder Wright continues to unfold in front of the Thomas and Mack faithful. Wright won the 9th round with an 87 point effort on Korkow Rodeo’s Kitty Whistle. The win was Wright’s fourth of this Finals after he won five rounds in his rookie season a year ago. The son of World Champion Cody Wright, the sensational sophomore now holds a $47,000 lead heading into Saturday and sits 4th in the average. Hillsdale Wyoming cowboy, Brody Cress, who leads the average, made the most of his third meeting of 2017 with Calgary Stampede’s Stampede Warrior. This time the pair combined for a 3/4 split and a $13,326 payday leaving Cress with an outside shot at a world title.
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 14, 2017
On a night when there were ups and downs for Canadian competitors and their fans, Canada finished on a big high as Calgary bull rider, Jordan Hansen won his first-ever go round.
“Yeah, I couldn’t have picked a better night to win it,” the 2016 Canadian Champion bull rider grinned after his 86 point ride on Corey and Lange Rodeo’s Tequila topped the field and won the $26,230 first place cheque. “My family’s here and I’m really excited.”
The personable 24 year old has made no secret of the fact that his dream since he was a steer rider – and had the iconic yellow chutes etched in his mind – was to ride in Las Vegas. That dream is not only a reality; Hansen has ridden three in a row and four of eight at his first WNFR. He has $67,538 in earnings to date.
“Yeah that was always my dream and now with winning a round, that’s one I can check off the list for sure,” Hansen added. “I made a rope change three nights ago and it’s really helped. I wish I’d done it a little sooner.”
Orin Larsen, the Manitoba bareback rider, kicked off the Canadian contribution to Canada Night with a 75.5 score on Calgary Stampede’s Princess Warrior, not enough points to get to the money. Then came a little more drama than the Canadian diehards had hoped for as Jake Vold’s draw, Redigo from the Beutler and Son Rodeo Company fell up against the chute coming out – leaving the three time Canadian Champion on the ground – obviously in pain. Vold was awarded a reride but was medically unable to take it. The three-time Canadian Champion had been leading the average going into the round but now his return to action is questionable.
Richmond Champion, the Alberta Circuit Champion on the north side of the 49th parallel, had an outstanding day aboard Hi Lo ProRodeo’s Pretty Woman to mark 88 points to claim the $26,230 first place cheque. Reigning champion, Tim O’Connell, from Zwingle, Iowa captured 4th in the round with an 85 score as he looked to extend his lead atop the world standings.
C5 Rodeo’s Virgil was the Rank Horse of the Night in the Bareback Riding as the tremendous grey with Canadian and World titles already to his credit in 2017, carried Texas cowboy Jake Brown to 86 points and third place in the round.
In the steer wrestling, Tanner Milan bounced back from a disastrous no-time in round 7 to split 5/6 in this round for a $5500 payday while Provost, Alberta’s Scott Guenthner twisted one down in 5.6 seconds, a little too long to be in the money. It was 2012 Canadian Rookie of the Year, Chason Floyd who won the round with a smooth 3.7 second run. And with just two rounds remaining, the battle for the steer wrestling title continues to be intense as Montana’s Ty Erickson leads the Mississippi dogger Tyler Pearson by $25,000 and the two sit first and second in the average as well.
One relieved cowboy. That was Nanton, Alberta’s Clay Elliott as marked a solid 87.5 to win third in the go round. The 2016 Canadian Champion made a Clay Elliott ride on Mo Betta Rodeo’s Sue City Sue for a $15,653 cheque, his first of the finals.
Unfortunately Lady Luck failed to smile on either of the other Canadian bronc riders, Zeke Thurston and Layton Green, as both men recorded no score for their Thursday night efforts. And at the top of the bronc riding standings, a brand new script if being written. The 19 year-old Utah phenom, Ryder Wright, was 92 points on Powder River Rodeo’s Show Me Again. That score was just a point off the arena record held by the famed Billy Etbauer who was in the audience to see the youngest member of the amazing Wright family do what he has done so often in the last two years in Las Vegas. Wright has now gone to the lead in the world standings with 2015 World Champion Jacobs Crawley and Wright’s uncle, CoBurn Bradshaw in third spot. And with the pot of gold that is the average payoff looming ever larger, Bradshaw is sitting first there, with Wright in fifth and Crawley back in seventh place.
The team roping race remains tight with just a few thousand separating the leaders—the team of Cory Petska and Erich Rogers and the duo of Luke Brown and Jake Long. Rogers and Petska, the two Arizona ropers, do have the advantage in the average however, as they sit first with Brown and Long back in third. And for Canadian and defending World Champion heeler, Jeremy Buhler, it was another frustrating night as he and header, Tom Richards took a no time and have only one placing to their credit so far; that came courtesy of a 4.0 second round and a 4/5 split go-round number five. Tonight the round was split between Brown and Long and the team of Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill. Both teams checked in with rapid 4.1 second runs.
Just when you thought the picture was becoming clearer in the barrel race, that picture got real fuzzy all over again. Season leader, Tiany Schuster, hit two barrels on this night to take herself to 8th place in the average where she had been much higher going into Thursday night. Then the rookie, Hailey Kinsel, who with her palomino, Sister, had been the story of the first six rounds hit a barrel for the second night in a row. So now Nellie Miller of Cottonwood, California, appears to be the biggest challenge to what looked like the unstoppable Schuster at the beginning of the week. Miller trails Schuster by $65,000 but is second in the average. It will come down to what happens over the final two nights of action.
Amberleigh Moore won the round with a 13.54 but unfortunately for the talented Colorado cowgirl, it has been feast or famine almost every night with a little too much famine in terms of hit barrels that have all but taken her out of contention.
And in the tie down roping, Brazilian cowboy, Marcos Costa, continued his head-to-head battle with Tuf Cooper. In a round that was split between Cory Solomon and Caleb Smidt, with 7.6 second runs, Costa collected a fourth place cheque to move to within $24,000 of the three-time World Champion. Costa sits first in the average with a brilliant 65.1 second total on eight runs, with Cooper in second spot.
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 13, 2017
It’s all about the draw in the saddle bronc riding and that was certainly the case again tonight as cowboys faced the rank pen for the second and last time of this Finals. Reigning Canadian Champion, Layton Green, placed for the third round in a row. The Meeting Creek, AB cowboy was a solid 83 on Korkow Rodeo’s Meat Cracker to cash a 4th place cheque of $11,000 to go over $45,000 for the week.
“Everybody here has been riding so amazing,” Green acknowledged. “The horse that can get you even one more point is the one you want. My horse tonight was dang sure some work but he was a good draw in this pen.” The first time WNFR cowboy struggled through the early rounds as he drew a series of horses it was really tough to win money on. “I just told myself I’ve worked my whole life to get here and to just slow down and enjoy it. Now that I’ve been here once, I can’t wait for next year and I can’t wait for the next three days this year.”
The battle at the top of the bronc riding still has Jacobs Crawley in first place with Ryder Wright in second spot and brother-in-law CoBurn Bradshaw right behind him. But as the average becomes a bigger and bigger factor as we move to the final three rounds, Bradshaw is second, Wright is fifth and Crawley is back in eighth. Big Valley, Alberta’s defending world champion, Zeke Thurston was 75.5 on Dakota Rodeo’s Chirrkawa, did not place in the round and fell to 4th place in the average. And the dry spell continued for Clay Elliott as the 2016 Canadian Champion was bucked off Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Faded Away. Elliott, at his second WNFR, has yet to place through the first seven rounds. And the Calgary Stampede’s electric Tiger Warrior was the Rank Horse of the Night as he dispatched Heith DeMoss in spectacular fashion.
Dirty rotten steer.
Those were the words, or words very similar to that, that every Canadian rodeo fan used after Tanner Milan’s go-round seven steer wrestling run at the Thomas and Mack Arena. The steer ran hard, wouldn’t take the fall and finally escaped the desperate effort of the two-time Canadian Champion to get a time to stay in the average.
When that didn’t happen, Milan’s no time dropped the Cochrane cowboy from 4th in the average to 10th and his world championship aspirations took a major hit. Provost, Alberta bulldogger Scott Guenthner had a 4.8 run but finished out of the money as Dakota Eldridge was a sizzling 3.3 on a steer that as good as Milan’s was bad. Helena, Montana dogger, Ty Erickson, continues to lead both the average and the world standings with three rounds remaining.
The team roping pairing of Tom Richards and Canadian Jeremy Buhler continued to struggle as they took a no time on Wednesday night. At the top end of the standings, Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira went back to the lead in their back and forth battle with Cory Petska and Erich Rogers but Petska and Rogers, the Arizona pairing, lead the average while Driggers and Nogueira, the defending All-Around titleist, had a couple of no times earlier in the week and are well out of average contention.
In the bareback riding, Jake Vold battled a tough Wayne Vold bucker called The Ritz for 83.5 points and a 4/5/6 split in the round. Vold continues to lead the average by a half point over Tim O’Connell who is on cruise control atop the world standings with a commanding $88,000 lead over second place cowboy, Tanner Aus. And for the second of the Canadians in the bareback riding, Orin Larsen, it was even more of a battle as Kesler Rodeo’s Candy Smile was a handful with the Manitoba cowboy managing to stay on but able to garner only 66.5 points for the effort. Minnesota cowboy Tanner Aus won the go round with an 87 score on Three Hills Rodeos Jr Bonner.
2016 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, Jordan Hansen, improved to three of seven and has ridden two in a row as tonight the Calgary cowboy, also at his first WNFR, rode Silver Creek Pro Rodeo’s Sudden Debt to 83 points and a 4/5 split for an $8883 payday. Hansen now has over $41,000 in earnings to date. Utah bull rider, Joe Frost, won the round with a terrific 87 point ride on Wayne Vold’s Heaven’s Basement, the Rank Bull of the Night earlier in the week.
“I didn’t know that bull but I was happy to have him, Frost noted. “I do better on big strong bulls like that. I made a point not to ask anybody about him. I prefer to trust myself. I ride better that way.”
And there was a big change in the barrel racing tonight. Season leader Tiany Schuster likely breathed a sigh of relief when rookie sensation Hailey Kinsel hit a barrel to put the brakes on what had been an amazing Finals that saw her closing fast on the leader through the first six rounds. Schuster finished 6th in the go-round and sits 4th in the aggregate. Fort Worth, Texas cowgirl, Tillar Murray, was on the bottom of the ground, but nevertheless put together a speedy 13.40 for her first ever WNFR go round win.
The tie down roping race continues to be very tight although season leader Tuf Cooper put a little more distance between himself and the rest of the field as he posted an 8.0 second run, second only to Randall Carlisle’s 7.5 (which was achieved on Canadian roper Kyle Lucas’ horse).. Cooper’s world standings lead over Brazilian Marcos Costa now stands at $35,000 but Costas leads the average with 56.6 seconds on seven runs with Cooper nipping at his heels with 59.3 over the seven days.
With several races still much too close to call, the final three days of Las Vegas action promise both jubilation and heartbreak.
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 12, 2017
Jordan Hansen capped off a solid night by the Canadian contestants at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 2016 Canadian Champion conquered Beutler and Son Rodeo’s El Diablo to the tune of 84.5 points to finish third in the round and cash his second cheque of the week, this one for $15,653. Coupled with his fifth place finish for $6769 in round two, the young man – who as a kid dreamed of the yellow chutes of Las Vegas – now has just over $22,000 in his first appearance at the Thomas and Mack arena.
“I cracked out a new rope and just tried to stop thinking about things,” the twenty four year-old Hansen commented. “I needed that one tonight. I just got sick of falling off and got a little angry at myself. Now I’m excited for the rest of the week.”
But the story of the night in the bull riding was Trey Benton lll who made it five of six with a spectacular 92.5 ride on Rocky Mountain Rodeo’s Bomb Pop. The Rock Island, Texas cowboy is first in the average with 442 points on five rides. The only other man to ride five so far is the man who is quickly turning the bull riding into a coronation. Sage Steele Kimzey keeps adding to his earnings record and did it again tonight with a second place finish and now sits at $340,000, almost $90,000 ahead of 2017 Canadian Champion Garrett Smith who has been giving it a gritty effort but is battling a series of injuries including a torn ACL suffered in an earlier round. Kimzey looks more and more like a lock to take his fourth consecutive gold buckle back to Strong City, Oklahoma four nights from now.
Layton Green is another Canadian who appears to have found his mojo after a slow start at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The 2017 Canadian Champion rode the Pete Carr Pro Rodeo bronc Cool Runnings for 85.5 and a 4/5 split that earned him $8884. That followed his 87.5 point ride twenty-four hours ago that gave him a 2/3/4 split and the back to back successes have boosted his WNFR earnings to just over $24,500. The other two members of the talented trio of Canadian bronc riders finished just out of the money. Reigning World Champion, Zeke Thurston and 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott posted identical 83.5 scores as did 2015 World Champion and 2017 season leader Jacobs Crawley who continues to lead the world with $220,000 won, just $20,000 ahead of Thurston in second spot.
What was a good night for Canada actually started early for the guys representing the Canadian Maple Leaf. In the night’s first event, Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen rode J Bar J Rodeo’s Beyond Bugs to a solid 85.5 to win third in the round and $15,653. The talented 26 year-old, competing at his third WNFR has placed in five of six rounds and has won over $71,000. Larsen sits 5th in the average after six go rounds.
And not to be outdone, Jake Vold, the Ponoka raised, Airdrie, Alberta resident, was just a half point back of his countryman to finish 4th and pick up a tidy $11,000 on Summit Rodeo’s Revolving Door. Vold’s solid performance gives him $76,211 in money won so far and, more importantly, puts him in first in the average with 515 points on six head. The payoff to win the average is a whopping $67,269.
Tanner Milan maintained his momentum from last night’s go round win, his second of this Finals, with a sixth place 4.0 run on a rapid night of steer wrestling. The $4230 payday gives the two time Canadian Champion a total of $66,692 WNFR dollars and he is now third in the average and 4th in the world standings, about $80,000 back of the leader. The round was won by Tremonton, Utah bulldogger Baylor Roche with a 3.6 while Helena, Montana’s Ty Erickson continues to lead both the average and the world standings.
In the barrel race, season leader Tiany Schuster had been okay through the first five go-rounds. But ‘okay’ hasn’t really been her M.O throughout the 2017 season. The Krum, Texas cowgirl who has been the dominant force all season long, looked more like that Tiany Schuster as her 13.52 second run was second only to Hailey Kinsel’s 13.49. However, the barrel race is no longer the runaway it has been throughout the season. Kinsel, a first time qualifier, leads the average and trails Schuster by just $62,000 – no longer the seemingly insurmountable obstacle that faced everyone in the field not named Schuster when the Finals kicked off six days ago.
The plot has definitely thickened in the tie down roping race as well. What had been a three man race between Tuf Cooper, Marcos Costa and Trevor Brazile is still a three man race. Except that the third man in that battle is now Marty Yates, as Brazile may have taken himself out of contention with a no time in round six. Yates, the Stephenville, Texas man, tied the go round record with a 6.9 second run for his second go round win in a row; he now sits third in the world behind Cooper and Costa.
And in the team roping, the round was split between Riley and Brady Minor and the duo of Cody Snow and Wesley Thorpe, both teams posting blazing 3.7 second runs. The hands-across-the-border team of American Tom Richards and Canadian Jeremy Buhler took a no time as the defending world champion missed his shot on the back side. Arizona cowboys Cory Petska and Erich Rogers continue to cling to a narrow lead with just four rounds remaining.
The drama wil continue to unfold in Round 7 tomorrow evening.
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 11, 2017
After a couple of sub-par nights, Team Canada bounced back with a strong performance in the fifth go-round of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Five members of the nine-man Canadian contingent cashed cheques, making this easily their best night to date.
It was a case of saving the best for the last as two-time Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion, Tanner Milan, was 3.8 seconds on the last steer in the round to pick up his second go-round win and the $26,320 first place cheque. The win moved the Cochrane, Alberta man to 4th place in both the average and the world standings.
“I just have to keep running at it every night,” Milan noted. “I can’t back off. The horse I’m riding, Maverick who belongs to Tom Lewis, has been getting my feet on the ground really fast and I just have to stay aggressive.”
Ty Erickson, the Montana cowboy, continues to lead the world standings but Milan has moved to within $63,000 of the leader with five rounds and the all-important average still to be decided. Provost, Alberta bulldogger, Scott Guenthner checked in with a 6.6 second run and was out of the money. Guenthner sits in 10th place on the world leaderboard.
You know the pen of bareback horses is pretty sweet when 87.5 is good for only a 5/6 split. That was the case in go-round number five of the 2017 WNFR. Canadian cowboy Orin Larsen was that guy on this night as he matched up with Wilson Sanchez from the Hi Lo ProRodeo Company. The horse, born and raised near Rocky Mountain House, actually came from the Hollingsworth family of Eckville and to add to the intrigue, Larsen’s sister is married to a Hollingsworth. You know Central Alberta was cheering for the Manitoba man who is at his third WNFR. Larsen has placed in four of five rounds for over $56,000 won and sits in fifth place in both the average and the world standings.
Santaquin, Utah cowboy, Mason Clements, won the round with an 89 point ride while Tim O’Connell maintained his big lead at the top of the standings. Jake Vold whose 85 score wasn’t quite enough to get into the money, has dropped back to fourth place in the world standings behind the seemingly unstoppable Tim O’Connell, Richmond Champion and Tanner Aus.
You knew it was just a matter of time for Jeremy Buhler. And tonight was the time. The defending world champion and his WNFR partner, Arizona header, Tom Richards. posted a 4.0 to catch a 3/4 split in the round and a pair of $13,326 cheques. It was the first qualified time and the first payday for the duo that was thrown together when Buhler’s longtime partner Levi Simpson just missed qualifying for this year’s WNFR. Erich Rogers and Cory Petska split the round with Clay Tryan and Jade Corkill. The 3.9 second result took Rogers and Petska, the Arizona superstars, to a narrow lead in the world standings.
Things finally went the way Canadian saddle bronc riding fans thought they’d go right from the start as the reigning world champion, Zeke Thurston and 2017 Canadian Champion, Layton Green were part of a fifth go-round 2/3/4 split. Both cowboys cashed cheques for $15,794 and for Thurston it meant he was able to gain a little ground on the season leader, Jacobs Crawley.
The Big valley, Alberta 23 year-old’s ride on Wound Up, the 2017 Saddle Bronc of the Year, enabled him to climb back into second place in the world standings ahead of CoBurn Bradshaw, the third place man who leads the all-important average. For Green, the Meeting Creek, Alberta man, it was his first cheque of this – his first WNFR. The third Canadian, 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott finished out of the money in the go round with an 80 point ride. C5 Rodeo’s Double D won the Rank Horse of the Night award as he parted company with Jake Wright before the eight second horn.
Tie Down Roper, Marty Yates, turned in the fastest run of this WNFR at 7.0 seconds flat for the go-round win with season leader Tuf Cooper just one tick back at 7.1. It was a critical run for Cooper as he was able to put some space between him and second place man, Marcos Costa, and Trevor Brazile who had been closing fast on the leader and now sits third. Costa, the Brazilian roper, leads the average with Trevor Brazile second and Cooper right behind. Cooper’s run tonight also tightened the race for the All-Around title where he and brother-in-law, Brazile, are duking it out as well with Brazile holding a $47,000 lead over Cooper.
And in the barrel race, Colorado cowgirl, Ivy Conrado and four time Canadian Champion, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota split the round, both with 13.59 runs. Season leader, Tiany Schuster, had her fastest run of the Finals with a 13.90 but for the fifth night in a row, was out of the money. Schuster who sits 6th in the average has to be feeling the heat just a little as three or four cowgirls are all mounting a charge at the Krum, Texas cowgirl who was so dominant throughout the regular season.
2016 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, Jordan Hansen, of Calgary bucked off a tough outlaw called Crime Boss from Universal Rodeo. The result leaves Hansen at 1 for 5 at the midway point of the rodeo. Meanwhile Sage Steele Kimzey is starting to distance himself from the field as he pursues a fourth consecutive title. Kimzey, who hails from Strong City, Texas, rode Beutler and Son’s Shootin’ Stars to 89 points and the round win. He sits second in the average to fellow-Texan, Trey Benton lll who bucked off for the first time on Monday night.
Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 10, 2017
Bareback rider, Orin Larsen, had his best ride of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with a terrific 86 point effort on Four Star Rodeo’s Big Star. The Manitoba talent finished third in the go-round as only Ty Breuer of Mandan, North Dakota was better with a huge 90.5 score – courtesy of his effort on Brookman Rodeo’s Risky Business. Larsen has been very consistent to date, having placed in three of the four rounds with over $40.000 in the bank. Three-time Canadian Champion, Jake Vold, collected 83.5 points on J Bar J’s Dirty Rags for a 7/8/9 split in the round, just out of the money. He sits second in the average and third in the world standings as we near the halfway point of this edition of the WNFR . Zwingle, Iowa superstar, Tim O’Connell had to get on two but finished up with an 84.5 for fifth in the round and is looking more and more like an awfully good bet to win his second consecutive world title.
Two time Canadian Champion steer wrestler Tanner Milan was out of the money on a very rapid night number four of the WNFR. Milan’s 4.4 second run split 7/8 on the night but the Cochrane, Alberta man remained in 6th place in the average and is 6th in the world standings as well. The second of the Canadian doggers at this year’s Finals, Scott Guenthner, of Provost, AB. struggled to a 7.3 second run on Sunday night and sits 9th in the average and 10th in the world. The big surprise in the go-round was the no time of Tyler Waguespack. The reigning World Champion missed the nose on his steer and fell to 11th place in the average, and with $50.000 dollars to make up on leader Ty Erickson, he’ll have to be lights out in the rounds if he hopes to repeat as champion. The Oklahoman, J. D. Struxness, who won four go-rounds a year ago, was the top gun on the night with a 3.6 second run.
The struggles continued for the Canadian trio in the saddle bronc riding. 2017 Canadian Champion, Layton Green, managed an 80 score but was 8th in the round while reigning World Champion Zeke Thurston was 11th in the round with a 72.5 score. 2016 Canadian Champ, Clay Elliott has had a frustrating Finals to date. He’s been bucked off twice, including tonight and, like Green has yet to hit the pay window. Ryder Wright, of the amazing Utah family of saddle bronc riders won the round with an 89 point score, while 2015 World Champion Jacobs Crawley continues to lead the world with CoBurn Bradshaw in second place and Thurston hanging on to third. Three time Canadian Champion saddle bronc, Get Smart, from the Northcott Macza firm, dispatched 2015 Canadian champ and perennial WNFR qualifier, Cody DeMoss well before the whistle, while the Calgary Stampede’s Stampede Warrior did a similar number on 2012 World titleist, Jesse Wright.
In the bull riding, 2016 Canadian Champion, Jordan Hansen, bucked off Bridwell Pro Rodeo’s Boot Hill at 7.3 seconds to remain one for four at his first WNFR. The round win went to Trey Benton lll, as the Texas hand is only guy to be four for four on a night that saw both front runners, Sage Kimzey and 2017 Canadian Champion Garrett Smith among the twelve buckoff victims of this tough pen of bulls. Wayne Vold’s 2017 Canadian Bull of the Year, Johnny Ringo carried Colorado bull rider, Ty Wallace to an 80.5 for third in the go round while Kesler Championship Rodeo’s Flight Plan put Jordan Wacey Spears on the ground and Outlaw Buckers’ Chrome did the same thing to Tim Bingham.
And in the team roping, Arrowwood, Alberta’s Jeremy Buhler remains in 15th spot overall after a no time on Sunday night. The defending world champion heeler and 2017 Canadian champ is roping alongside Arizona roper, Tom Richards, after regular partner (for both of those championships) Levi Simpson, finished just out of the top fifteen. The duo of Richards and Buhler have been blanked to date through the first four rounds. Tonight’s honours were split between Jake Long and Luke Brown and the combination of Kory Koontz and Dustin Egusquiza with both teams posting 4.1 second runs. Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira continue to lead the world standings but several teams are within spitting distance in what might prove to be one of the hardest fought battles at this year’s Finals.
Alma, Kansas first time WNFR tie down roper, Cooper Martin, won the 4th go-round with a 7.6 second run to get his first $26,230 cheque while the two iconic front-runners, Tuf Cooper (first) and Trevor Brazile (second) both finished out of the money.
Amberleigh Moore, the Salem, Oregon cowgirl, won her second go-round of this finals (13.56 seconds) and is one of three or four cowgirls with a shot at catching Tiany Schuster who came to Las Vegas with what looked like an insurmountable lead. The Texan has yet to place at the Thomas and Mack and what looked like a coronation might still be a race. Schuster does sit sixth in the average with another Texan, Hailey Kinsel, atop the average leaderboard and California’s Nellie Miller is in second spot. Kinsel is the only barrel racer to have placed in all four rounds.
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.
Canadian cowboys got off to a fast start at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Three time Canadian champion, Jake Vold, wasted no time in resuming his signature lights-out performances in Las Vegas. Vold who finished second in the world a year ago and won three rounds and $165,000 in the Thomas and Mack Arena, picked up where he left off with a tremendous 87.5 on Kesler Rodeo’s Oakridge. The win netted the Airdrie cowboy the $26,230 first place cheque and moved him to third in the world standings with $138,391 in the bank, now $87,000 back of season leader and defending world champion Tim O’Connell.
“It’s a good confidence builder,” Vold noted of his first night ride. “There are a lot of horses here and going at that kind of money, I find quite exciting. It’s keeps your blood flowing. I need to win a lot of money to have a chance at a world title. To get the win right off the bat is definitely key. Hopefully a guy can keep it rolling and see what happens after the 10 days”.
Provost, Alberta steer wrestler, Scott Guenthner, did not appear to feel any nerves as he made his first-ever appearance at the WNFR posting a solid 4.3 second run to be among a cluster of bulldoggers with that time. Guenthner split 3/4/5/6/6 for a nice $7530 start to his Finals. Cochrane’s Tanner Milan, at his second Las Vegas Finals, was 6.6 seconds on his steer and finished out of the money. Defending world champion, Tyler Waguesback, won the round with a 3.5 second run to keep his repeat title hopes very much alive. He sits third in the world at $140,000, $33,000 behind Helena, Montana dogger, Ty Erickson.
In the saddle bronc riding, defending world champion, Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alberta, closed the gap on the season leader and 2015 World Champion, Jacobs Crawley. The 23 year-old Canadian now trails Crawley by just $9,000 after a 5/6/6 split on the Calgary Stampede stallion Timely Delivery. The second generation bronc rider was 85 points on the horse on this night, as the pair reprised their July Calgary Stampede matchup that ended with Thurston collecting 90 points. Crawley finished out of the money on a night that saw Oklahoma cowboy Hardy Braden win the round with an 87.5 score. Utah’s Ryder Wright (86.5) and 2015 Canadian champion Cody DeMoss (85.5) won 3rd and 4th respectively on a couple of Canadian broncs, C5 Rodeo’s Black Hills and Outlaw Buckers’ three time Canadian champion Lunatic Party.
Clay Elliott and Layton Green, the other two Canadians in the bronc riding, both managed 79 scores on night number one.
Defending world champion team roping heeler, Jeremy Buhler of Arrowwood, caught a leg and was 9.3 seconds with partner Tom Richards after Canadian partner, Levi Simpson, finished just out of the 2017 WNFR. Buhler remains in 15th spot in the world standings in a round that was won by Kaleb Driggers and reigning All Around Champion, Junior Nogueira, who also sit atop the world standing, both with over $170,000 on the season.
And in the bull riding, Calgary’s 2016 Canadian champion, Jordan Hansen, first Canadian to qualify for the WNFR since 2001, was bucked off by Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Lumberjack. Hansen came to Las Vegas in 13th place overall. The round was won by Trey Benton lll, as he rode the Big Stone bull, Mortimer, to 90 points. Joe Frost, he Utah bull rider rode Outlaw Buckers’ Bomb Shell to 84 points for 5th place in the round. 2017 Canadian champion, Garrett Smith from Rexburg, Idaho, narrowed the gap on season leader Sage Kimsey as he posted an 85.5 point ride for 4th place in the round while Kimsey, the three-time titleist, finished out of the money with a 79 mark. Smith moves to within $20,000 of the leader as he vies for his first world crown.