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Courtesy of CPRA

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

Goodwin Enjoys a ‘Sonny’ Result on a Rainy Weekend

* Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

Airdrie, ALTA – June 13, 2017 – Bobbie Goodwin tries not to set barrel racing goals.

But when you’ve won over $5500 before the 15th of June, it’s hard not to at least have a thought about the Canadian Finals Rodeo in the back of your mind.

“It’s something I think about, that’s for sure,” the Cranbrook cowgirl admitted, “but my horse is 16 and he’s really sound and I just don’t want to run the legs off him.” Factor in a two and a half week family vacation to Alaska in July and there’s no doubt that a lot of things will have to go right for the Goodwin team to make the trip to Edmonton in November.

But things have been going right over the last two weekends as the veteran BC hand picked up wins at Leduc last weekend and Lea Park the weekend just ended.

“I tend to go to places that he really likes to run at,” Goodwin said of ‘Sonny’ – registered name Raisin Speedy, a Raise a Native bred gelding. “We placed at Lea Park last year and this time he really cranked first and just worked really well. In fact, I thought my time was going to be faster but then they announced we were leading so that was great.” Goodwin clocked a 16.576 for a $2462 payday.

Sonny is something of a story himself having survived impaling himself on a pole as a five year-old. “The pole went into his body about where the cinch goes and went all the back to the stifle. “We had to lay him down to get the pole out, then he had surgery; it’s a miracle he’s alive,” Goodwin admitted.

But the next year, Sonny had a tremendous Derby season and Goodwin knew she had something special. In fact, although the former Skookumchuck resident has never been to the CFR, Sonny has. Deb Renger leased him from Goodwin and rode him there in 2015 to win two rounds and $27,000 on the miracle horse.

So Bobbie Goodwin knows that things could go rather well if she and Sonny can earn a CFR qualification. “I’ll just have to see how it goes,” she stated. “I’ll go to as many as I think he can handle and especially the ones he tends to do well at. I’d really like to get to the Grass Roots Final in Calgary and see if that could jump us into the twelve that will be going to the CFR.”

One of the rodeos Sonny has excelled at just happens to be Innisfail, a rodeo the duo won two years ago. If history could repeat itself this week, and Goodwin and Sonny can win enough with a limited rodeo schedule, who knows. CFR fans may be cheering the BC gal and her amazing survivor, Sonny, at the 44th Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Other big winners from the Rocky Mountain House, Lea Park and Brooks weekend included Manitoba bareback rider, Orin Larsen, who posted wins at (the returning) Rocky Pro Rodeo – 85 points on Duffy Rodeo’s Blue Jeans for $1264, then added an 85.5 first place finish at Lea Park on the Calgary Stampede’s Wanaka Rocket for another $2039. Team ropers Garrett Rogers of Baker City, Oregon and Jacob Minor of Ellensburg, Washington, runners-up for the Canadian team roping title a year ago, made a big move, winning the Brooks Kinsmen Pro Rodeo with a 4.8 second run for $1329 each, and nailing second place $1250 cheques at Rocky Mountain House with a 4.4.

Stony Plain, Alberta steer wrestler, Derek Frank, clearly wanting to reprise his CFR appearance of 2016, placed at all three rodeos including a three way split of first place at Lea Park with a 4.7 (to equal Matt Richardson and Scott Guenthner) and earn a total of $3033 for the weekend’s work. And in the bull riding, Riker Carter made the trip from Stone, Idaho worthwhile, winning Lea Park with an 85 point score on Franklin Rodeo’s Red Dirt Road for $2063 and picking up the second place cheque at Rocky with an 81 score (behind Stephen Woolsey’s 87 point winning ride) and another $1094 for Carter.

For complete results from the weekend’s action, head to rodeocanada.com

This week the rodeo trail takes contestants to Innisfail for the Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo and to Okotoks for the Big E Round Up Team Roping Special Event.

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

Champion Sets Sights on CFR

*Courtesy of the CPRA

Airdrie, ALTA – June 6, 2017

Richmond Champion is a man who tends to reach his goals.

And the Stephenvile, Texas bareback rider has made it clear that one of his 2017 priorities is an appearance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

“It’s always been a thought,” the two time WNFR qualifier admitted, “but this year, next to the WNFR, getting to the CFR is absolutely a goal—it’s important to me. I’d love to get up there to Edmonton and chase Jake (Vold) and Caleb (Bennett) for that Canadian championship. They stayed at my place recently and I was giving them the ‘twenty questions’ about it, that’s for sure.”

Champion took a big step toward fulfilling that goal with a terrific weekend that saw him split 1-2 at the Grande Prairie Stompede with an 89 point ride on Vold Rodeo’s One More Reason; then he spurred out an 88 score on Northcott-Macza’s Call Me Kindra for the win at Leduc Black Gold Rodeo before finishing off an impressive three days with a third place cheque (80.5 points) at the Hand Hills Stampede.

“He surprised me,” Champion said of Wayne Vold’s 7 year-old bay horse. “They’d moved him from the saddle bronc riding to the bareback riding and he was all there. I was first out and he was a little nervous but he got right to business and was just what I needed to get their attention up there.”

The Grande Prairie result—he split top money with Wyatt Bloom—netted the Texan $2152. Then it was on to Leduc and his date with Call Me Kindra. “I’d seen the video of her from a couple of weeks before with Ty (Taypotat). I was really happy when I got the call that I had her—she’s pretty well-known everywhere.”

That pay cheque was a tidy $1689 and coupled with his Hand Hills earnings gave Champion a $4300 weekend and a run at the top five in the Canadian standings.

The Tarleton State University grad leaped to prominence in 2014 when he was the one million dollar winner at the inaugural “American.” As for the whopping pay cheque that early in his career – he was 21 at the time – he said, “I invested most of it in a broad range of investments but I bought ten acres and built a house in Stephenville; I’ve enjoyed tinkering with that.”

Champion, who also placed at Silver City, New Mexico on the weekend, will continue his pursuit of a CFR berth next weekend when he heads for Brooks, Lea Park and Rocky Mountain House. With five Canadian rodeos already to his credit, the rodeo count (15) to qualify for the CFR shouldn’t be a problem. “I told my dad the other day that it’s going to be easier to get my Canadian count than my Texas count (for the Texas Circuit Finals),” he chuckled.

Top money honours for the weekend went to Athens, Louisiana roper Randall Carlisle who took home first place money at Grande Prairie (7.9 seconds for $2842) and a 1-2 split at Leduc (8.2 seconds, $2067) for just over $4900. Steer wrestler, Dayton Roworth of Czar, Alberta, was right behind Carlisle as he parlayed a win at Grande Prairie (4.1 seconds, $2939) and second at Leduc (3.7 seconds, $1899) into a $4800 plus weekend. Also enjoying a productive and profitable stay on Canadian soil was Cameron, Texas tie-down roper, Blaine Cox who spilt 1-2 at both Leduc (with Carlisle) and Hand Hills (8.3 seconds, $1445) and added a 7th place cheque at Grande Prairie for a $4500 haul. Brett and Justin McCarroll were double winners as well with the outright win at Leduc and a split of top spot at Hand Hills, netting the veteran duo $2962 per man.

For complete results from Grande Prairie, Leduc, Hand Hills and the Wildwood Bronc Bustin’ go to

rodeocanada.com.

This weekend sees the return of the Rocky Pro Rodeo to the June calendar as well as CPRA stops at Brooks, Alberta, for the Brooks Kinsmen Rodeo and Marwayne, Alberta for the Lea Park Rodeo.

 

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

Clay Elliott – No One Trick Pony

Airdrie, ALTA – May 15, 2017 – Sometimes things just work out. And for Clay Elliott, the weekend just completed was one of those times.

First of all, there was his draw in the bronc riding at the Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo, on the longtime Vold Rodeo superstar, Pedro. “I’d never been on him,” the reigning Canadian champion acknowledged. “So that was obviously something I’d been looking forward to.

“He’s pretty electric feeling,” Elliott said of the 12 year-old brown gelding. “He stays low to the ground and makes a few lead changes out there. I thought he’d maybe bucked me off at about four seconds and I was glad to get by him. I’d say he’s kind of a semi-eliminator and I’d love to draw him again.

”Elliott followed up his first place 85.5 point, $1566 bronc ride with an 8.4 second run in the tie down roping, that netted the 23 year-old Nanton, Alberta cowboy fourth place and another $1263. It was the first time this year the second generation cowboy had entered the roping.

“I enjoy roping,” Elliott admitted, “but I also know that it takes as much time and energy and dedication to be successful at that as it does in the bronc riding. And I just don’t have the time to do all the things it would take to be successful in the tie down or team roping events. Plus it’s hard to work it when you’re entering with three other bronc riders. This worked out great because it was twenty minutes from home. Dad (Vern) got my horse ready and I roped for a couple of days at Taylors over in Parkland but I know it won’t work that way very often.”

Cue a huge sigh of relief from the other tie down ropers. The bronc riding win moved Elliott in to the top ten in the Canadian standings and gave him a nice bump in the world standings where he had been sitting in ninth place going into the weekend. The BC bred talent jumped on a plane after his Stavely effort to fly to Goodwell, Oklahoma where he was helping with a bronc riding school. Later this week he’ll make his way to Redding, California, then back to Canada for stops at Falkland and the non-sanctioned invitational Cloverdale Rodeo.

Other Stavely winners included Dewinton bull rider, Brock Radford who conquered the Vold bull, Corona Time for a spectacular 91 points and a $1547 payday. Three time Bareback Riding Champion, Jake Vold, continued his winning ways with an 87 point showing on Vold’s Dancing Queen to pocket $1492 and in Team Roping , it was the Barrhead Brandens, Grady and Quentin, with a 4.5 second run sending each home with $1329.

The steer wrestling saw a split of top spot with Ty Miller of Wainwright and Jay Many Grey Horses of Standoff both posting 3.5 second runs for $2000 each while another split in tie down roping featured a couple of CFR veterans, Carstairs cowboy, Kyle Lucas and Logan Hofer of Magrath who cashed identical cheques for $1940 by virtue of their 8.2 second runs.

In the barrel race, Rebecca Miller continued her climb up the Canadian standings. The Dalemead cowgirl’s 13.645 second time, earned her a tidy $2039.

Reigning Canadian champion, Dixon Tattrie of Youngstown, Alberta claimed the Stavely steer riding title with a 77 point ride for $426.

For complete Stavely results go to rodeocanada.com.

The Road to the CFR heads west for its next action—a May 20-22 stop at the Falkland Stampede in Falkland, British Columbia.

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About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alta. is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) November 8-12, 2017 at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.

* Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

TOFIELD AND PARSONAGE – A WINNING COMBINATION

Tofield, Alberta (April 17, 2017) – “I’m a small town guy so I love these deals in the local hockey rink that’s packed with fans and everybody’s having a great time.”

That was Jared Parsonage’s reaction to his successful weekend foray into Tofield, AB, the newest bull riding stop on the CPRA 2017 calendar.

The Maple Creek cowboy put together rides of 81 in the long go (Girletz’s Rodeo’s Okie from Muskogee) and 82.5 in the short go (Ellie Skori’s Jawbreaker) for 163.5 on two and the win. The 27 year-old Saskatchewan hand was the only man to ride two bulls at the Bull Bash and collected $3967 for his efforts.

“They were both good bulls,” Parsonage noted. “My short go bull went out there a little ways but then he turned back to the left and he was really good.”

While the win moved the likable Parsonage from 11th spot in the Canadian standings to 6th place, it didn’t help the tall cowboy with another of his 2017 rodeo goals.

“I’m really wanting to take a run at qualifying for the All Around this year,” he admitted. “I’m hoping to pick a few cheques in the team roping to see if I can make that happen. Last year I was hurt and things didn’t work out on the roping side but I’ve been practicing a lot this winter so that’s definitely one of my goals.”

Fifteen time CFR qualifier and two time Canadian champion, Scott Schiffner, won the long-go at Tofield with an 84.5 score on the Girletz bull Wonderlust and finished second overall,. His $4100 payday jumped the venerable Strathmore bull rider to the season leader position, a spot he’s occupied many times in his iconic career. Reigning Canadian champion Jordan Hansen finished third overall to take home $3200 and move into the top five in the Canadian standings.

Parsonage will get the opportunity to get after that all-around aspiration when the CPRA makes its annual stops at Camrose (Camrose Spring Classic) and Coleman (Kananaskis Pro Rodeo). Both events are slated for April 28-30.

For full results from the Tofield Bull Bash, see rodeocanada.com

* Courtesy of the CPRA

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

CPRA ANNOUNCES NEW RODEO ADMINISTRATOR

Airdrie, Alberta (April 17, 2017) – The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is pleased to announce that Randa Nugent has come on board as Rodeo Administrator.

From a rodeo family that spans three generations, Nugent has been a member of the CPRA since the early nineties. Randa Nugent served seven years as Ladies Barrel Racing Director and is a former CPRA Cowgirl of the Year.

“I’m passionate about rodeo and the betterment of Pro Rodeo in Canada,” the Water Valley, Alberta resident explains. “Preserving our Western Heritage is an ongoing challenge. I’m think it’s important to continue educating younger generations about the sport of rodeo – including Junior, High School and College Rodeo. I’d like to contribute to that.”

Nugent feels that her experience as a contestant at all levels of rodeo, along with her background on the CPRA Board of Directors will be an asset as she moves into her new role. Completion of two PRCA Judges’ seminars and a significant investment of time on a recent revision of the CPRA rule book will be helpful as well.

As the CPRA Rodeo Administrator, Nugent will liaise with committees in the whole rodeo approval process from start to finish. She will work closely with the CPRA CRES department in setting up rodeo entry dates, performance and slack times, and will help coordinate the full rodeo schedule. The rodeo administrator is also responsible for coordinating with the judging commission to set judges schedules, clinics and interpret and enforce the rules of the association. Nugent begins work immediately.

*courtesy of the CPRA

 

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

Schiffner Does It Again

Medicine Hat, Alberta (April 10, 2017) – In a sport in which the athletes traditionally have relatively short career spans, Scott Schiffner is re-writing the rules of nature.

The two time Canadian bull riding champion rolled into Medicine Hat on Saturday night and rolled out a few hours later with an 89.5 point ride on a Kesler Rodeo outlaw called Rock This Way to take top honours at the weekend’s Broncs and Honky Tonks event and a tidy $1417 pay cheque. The win propelled Schiffner to a customary spot in the top five of the Canadian bull riding standings.

After his first bull fell, Schiffner climbed aboard Rock This Way, a black bull he’d seen before but never met up close and personal. “He was really nice,” Schiffner stated. “He spun to the right into my hand and jumped out of it and back the other way right at the whistle.”

After the ride, Schiffner reflected on where he’s at in what has been a memorable career. “It’s simple really,” he noted. “I probably enjoy putting my hand in that rope and nodding my head to ride as much as I ever have. Some of the other stuff—the travel and having to be away—that part’s a lot harder than it was when I was starting out.”

But even the challenges of the miles on the road have been more than offset by the fact that Schiffner often has at least one family member at his side on those journeys to distant cities and towns. This weekend it was middle daughter Hadley who joined Dad for the journey down the Trans Canada to the annual Medicine Hat spring rodeo stop.

“What’s really special for me,” the 2012 Cowboy of the Year commented, “is not only that I love the sport but that my kids are getting to the age where they really understand it and love it as much as I do. That’s definitely one of the benefits of being able to ride as long as I have.”

The Strathmore bull rider/rancher/family man, who celebrated his 37th birthday just a week before Medicine Hat’s spring rodeo, holds the record for CFR qualifications in his event with fifteen (and counting). And while there’s an old adage that says “every record is meant to be broken”, this is one that will likely remain in the record books for a very long time. Particularly when you realize the ageless Schiffner may add a few more CFR appearances to that number before his amazing career wraps up and the next closest man is the now retired Stephen Turner with 10 qualifications.

Other Medicine Hat winners included Seth Hardwick, who got along with Kesler’s ten year-old buckskin stallion, Copper Cat, to the tune of 87 points to earn the Wyoming bareback rider $1276; PRCA Rookie SW of the Year, Stephen Culling and Consort, Alberta’s Scott Guenthner who shared top spot in the steer wrestling with identical 3.8 second runs, earning each man $1697; Texas barrel racer Kellie Collier whose 12.839 second run was good for $1751 and team ropers Cole Bevans and Ty Cahoon who spun one in 4.6 seconds for $1221 per man. The tie down roping title was shared by

Nanton’s Logan Bird and the reining Canadian high point champion, Morgan Grant—both men got the job done in 8.7 seconds for $1657 apiece while in the saddle bronc riding, Meeting Creek, Alberta’s Layton Green, rode Kesler Rodeo’s Country Trail for 86.5 points and $1303. In the junior steer riding, it was the northern Alberta cowboy Jett Lambert, posting a solid 79.5 to collect $300.00

Next CPRA action will be the Bull Bash at Tofield, Alberta on April 15.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alta. is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) November 8-12, 2017 at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.

** Courtesy of the CPRA

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA

Chasing the Yellow Chutes

Jordan Hansen has never wavered.

Moments after winning his first Canadian bull riding title at last year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo, he announced that his next goal was a spot at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.
“I close my eyes and I see those yellow chutes,” he proclaimed. “I want to be part of that.”

The Okotoks cowboy took another step toward realizing that dream on the weekend when he won the
Rebel Energy Services Bull Riding event in Red Deer. The CPRA event, the first of this calendar year,
and second of the 2017 season, was also an Xtreme Bulls event, the first Canadian bull riding to receive that PRCA distinction.

Hansen noted that he couldn’t have hand-picked two better bulls than what he drew in Red Deer. “I
had Too Dark 2 C in the long go,” Hansen recalled. “I’ve had him before and I’ve won on him before;
he’s the perfect long go bull.

“Then I had X6 Ranch’s Jesus N Bocephus in the short round. I rode him at Oyen last year so I knew
what to expect,” Hansen added. “He’s got a bit of a hair trigger in the chute but he gives you a chance
to win every time. I was excited to have him again.”

Hansen posted an 83.5 on Too Dark 2 C, then added a big time 88 score on Jesus N Bocephus for
171.5 on two and a comfortable margin of victory. Second place went to Kamloops, BC’s Jackson
Scott, the only other man to cover two bulls. Scott was 155 on two.
For Hansen the $3250 payday coupled with a tidy $2412 cheque for a 4/5/6 spilt at San Angelo,
Texas that also wrapped up on the weekend, vaulted the talented twenty-three year-old into the top
ten in the world standings.

Hansen, who still wears a brace on his leg when he rides, a holdover from a broken ankle that sidelined him for a good chunk of the 2016 season, was philosophical as he looked back on the start to his season. “I’ve made some good rides at some good spots,” he acknowledged, “but I’ve also fallen off some I shouldn’t have. Overall I’d say I’m pretty happy with where I’m at right now.”
Nest up for Hansen as he pursues that elusive WNFR berth are stops at Tucson on the 23rd of April
and San Antonio, another Xtreme Bulls event on the 25th. The San Antonio date means Hansen will
not be on hand for the Chad Besplug Invitational CPRA Bull Riding in Claresholm that same night.

“I wish I didn’t have to miss Claresholm,” said Hansen. “Chad does such a great job there, but there’s
a hundred thousand dollars added at San Antonio so I can’t really miss that one.”
No you can’t—not as long as that dream of those yellow chutes lives on.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

There were several solid showings by Canadians at this year’s The American that was staged Sunday at the AT & T Arena in Dallas, Texas. Of the eight contestants who qualified for Sunday’s Final, only Jake Vold and Orin Larsen in the bareback riding and Clay Elliot in the bronc riding were able to move on to the final four round. Vold, the three-time Canadian Champion, fared the best of the three as he matched up with an old friend, C5 Rodeo’s sensational Virgil, for 88 points and $25.000, second only to champion Tim O’Connell who was 90.25 for the $100,000 win. Larsen, the Inglis, MB two-time WNFR qualifier finished up 4th with an 83.5 point ride on another C5 Rodeo product—Makeup Face.

Elliot who was one of the qualifiers eligible for the million dollar payoff drew Frontier Rodeo’s World
Champion bronc Medicine Woman but fell short in his quest for the title (and the big money) as he
and Medicine Woman put up an 84 score to finish 3rd overall.

The other Canadians who competed on Sunday, but did not qualify for the final four
Championship round were World Champions Zeke Thurston (saddle bronc) and Levi Simpson and
Jeremy Buhler (team roping) along with bronc riders Jake Watson and Layton Green.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

Eleven Canadians will continue their quest for San Antonio Rodeo supremacy as four days of semifinal action kick off today in the Texas city leading to the Finals February 25. Three time Canadian bareback champion Jake Vold, 2 time Canadian all around champion Morgan Grant and CFR steer wrestling qualifier Scott Guenthner will be joined by a cast of bronc riders that includes reigning world champion, Zeke Thurston; along with three time Canadian titleist Dustin Flundra; reigning Canadian champ, Clay Elliott; 2012 Canadian title holder Luke Butterfield, NFR qualifier Tyrel Larsen, two time Canadian novice champ, Lane Cust and CFR qualifier Layton Green. As well, 21 year old Maple Creek bareback rider Wyatt Maines enjoyed his biggest professional career moment to date in also qualifying for the semi-final.

Next up on the CPRA rodeo roster is the Chad Besplug Invitational Bull Riding event February 25 in
Claresholm, Alberta.

About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alta. is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) each November at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.

Press release courtesy of CPRA*

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA Results

Three World Champions For Canada!

It might have been the greatest fifteen minutes in the history of Canadian Professional Rodeo.

For the first time ever Canadians have ridden away from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with three world titles. Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler in the Team Roping and Zeke Thurston in the Saddle Bronc Riding are all sporting the coveted gold buckles of World Champions.

Simpson from Ponoka (via Claresholm) and Buhler from Arrowwood had already made history when they became the first all-Canadian team to qualify for the WNFR. But that apparently wasn’t enough for the Alberta duo as they put together a 4.3 second run in the tenth and final go round at the Thomas and Mack Arena to split 1/2 and pick up a cheque of $23,480.77. That was good enough to take the team to the average title and a whopping $67,269.23 per man.

Put all that together along with the fact that some of the teams they were chasing struggled in the final round and the first-time qualifiers were World Champions—Levi with $249,133.31 in season earnings and Jeremy, sporting the most famous beard in rodeo, earning $258,311.13.

The talented twosome roped nine of ten steers, placed on seven, winning the first round and splitting first and second in two more including the critical tenth round. When the announcement was made, both cowboys were close to speechless, unlike the Canadian fans, both in the arena and back in Canada. The roar of approval was long and very loud.

Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt, and American partner Shay Carroll, after winning the ninth go-round with the fastest time of the entire WNFR (3.6) took a no time in the tenth round.

The saddle bronc riding event follows team roping on the NFR program which meant that almost exactly fifteen minutes after Simpson and Buhler had laid claim to their title, Big Valley, Alberta cowboy, Zeke Thurston, climbed down in the chutes on the back of the Andrews Rodeo bronc, Fire Lane. The second generation qualifier, who came into the final round two points out of the lead for the average put together another solid ride for an 86 score to split 3/4 in the round and a cheque for $13,326.92. When Jake Watson posted 82.5 points and world leader/defending champion, Jacobs Crawley missed his horse out, Thurston vaulted to first place in the average and a season total of $265,449.45 to edge Crawley for the world title by just $2831.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” the recently married Thurston grinned. “I just can’t believe it. It’s crazy. I had a good week. I started off a little slow but things picked up. Luckily I was able to stay on nine of them. I knew the only way I could beat Jacobs was if they got him down or they missed him out and that doesn’t happen very often with Jacobs. It just goes to show you that anything can happen.”

For Watson, the Hudson’s Hope, BC cowboy, the 82.5 on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop was enough to split sixth in the round and finish up second in the average. The twenty-three year-old had a brilliant WNFR in his own right, as he climbed all the way from 15th place going in to fifth place in the world standings.

The third member of the talented Canadian bronc riding trio, Canadian champion Clay Elliott, captured fifth place in the final round on Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Force to collect $6769.23. The Nanton cowboy finished up 11th in the world with season earnings of $139,759.79.

Jake Vold ended his Wrangler National Finals Rodeo almost exactly the same way he started with a sixth place finish, this time with an 84.5 score on J Bar J’s All Pink. In between the first and last rounds, Jake won three go-rounds and finished the WNFR with $165,339.75 in earnings to end up second in the world standings with $240,161.06.

Manitoba’s Orin Larsen who re-injured separated ribs in the first round of this Finals, finished strong – placing in the last five rounds including a go round win in round #8, and wound up third in the world standings with $219,372.59

That means that of the eight competitors who proudly rode for the maple leaf, there were three firsts (two in one event), a second a third and a fifth, and a total WNFR haul that exceeded one million dollars – making this group easily the most successful in Canadian rodeo history.

Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa won both the average and the world title in the bareback riding.

There was a Canadian connection in the Tie Down Roping as well as three time Canadian Champion Tyson Durfey, the Weatherford, Texas hand, roped his way to the world title with $212,445.46 to slip by the Brazilian Marcos Costa by less than $4,000. Riley Pruitt of Gering, Nebraska was the average winner.

Tyler Waguespack, from Gonzales, Louisiana, was the average winner and world champion steer wrestler as well as the Top Gun winner, emblematic of being the highest money winner of the finals.

One of the very popular wins took place in the barrel racing where 68 year old Oklahoma barrel racer, Mary Burger, hung on to win her second title with just a five thousand dollar margin of victory over first time qualifier Amberleigh Moore of Keizer, Oregon. Four time Canadian champion, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota won the average title with ten clean runs.

And in the bull riding, it was Sage Steele Kimzey, the mega-talented Strong City, Oklahoma cowboy, making it back to back to back titles as he finished up with earnings of over $300,000 and a $24,000 margin of victory over fellow Oklahoman Breenon Eldred. Former world champion, Shane Proctor, of Grand Coulee, Washington won the bull riding average title.

Team roper Junior Nogueira was the All-Around champion with $231,728.33.

Courtesy of the CPRA*

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA Results

How To Spell Relief… W-I-N

For Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and American partner, Shay Carroll, it took nine rounds to get the monkey off their backs and win their first cheque of this WNFR. But when they did it, they did it right, making that cheque a first place payoff ($26,239 per man) while recording the fastest time of the rodeo through nine rounds—a sensational 3.6 seconds.

Schmidt, riding the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year, Badger, and Carroll had come to the Finals with a legitimate shot at a world title but encountered a series of frustrations though the first eight days of the rodeo.

“It’s kind of funny,” Schmidt chuckled. “This was the fastest time of the week and the slowest I’ve gone in my mind. I think I’ve just been going too fast up until now. I knew with my horse and my heeler if I did my job, it would work out.”

Carroll agreed. “I picked this guy for a reason at the start of the year,” he said of his heading partner. “I’m not surprised at all. I knew he’d rope like he can and I just wanted to be ready.”

Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and his Arrowwood, Alberta partner Jeremy Buhler bounced back from their first no time of this Finals in the eighth round to post a 4.6 second run to place 4th on this night and move up a notch in the average race to second spot. The Alberta cowboys are 8 of 9 and just 1.6 seconds out of first place in the average and the $67,000 first place aggregate cheques.

Leading the world standings heading into the final round are Luke Brown of Stephenville, Texas and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas.

The phenomenal comeback story of this WNFR, bareback rider, Orin Larsen, placed in the round for the 4th night in a row. He’s had to battle back from re-injuring the rib-tear he suffered back in September. After being blanked through the first five rounds, he made the statement, “I have no choice – I have to win.” Since making that pronouncement, winning is exactly what he’s done, including taking his first-ever victory lap at the Thomas and Mack Arena in go round number eight.

Tonight the Manitoba cowboy was 86.5 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s former world champion bareback horse, MGM Dirty Jacket, to collect a third place cheque of $15,653 and give him $62,190 over the last four rounds.

Three time Canadian champion Jake Vold continued his outstanding WNFR, placing 4th for an $11.000 payday. The Ponoka product has also climbed to 3rd place overall in the average at a finals that has seen him win three rounds and place in six overall.

Tanner Aus was the top gun in the round with an 88.5 score and Tim O’Connell continues to hold a comfortable lead in the world championship race heading to the final day. Wayne Vold Rodeo’s outstanding grey, True Grit, carried Ty Breuer to 83.5 and a sixth place cheque of $4230 to kick off the go round.

The saddle bronc riding wasn’t as good to the youthful Canadian trio as it had been in recent rounds that saw all three place on each of the previous three nights. In round nine, Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston was out of the money with a 77.5 score while both Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) and Jake Watson (Hudson’s Hope, BC) were bucked off. The silver lining in this cloud is that despite bucking off for the first time in nine rounds, Watson will go to the last go round in first place in the average, with 663 points on eight rides, just one point ahead of reigning world champion and overall leader, Jacobs Crawley. Thurston is another point back in third spot in the average.

Eighteen year-old Ryder Wright has ridden five horses at the 2016 WNFR. And he’s won all five of those go-rounds. This time around, the youngest of the remarkable Utah family, posted an 88.5 on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Alpha Dog for the win.

2012 World Champion (and Ryder’s uncle) Jesse Wright rode Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles to an 85.5 for second place in the round.

A couple of races tightened up in this second last round of what cowboys call ‘the Marathon’. In the bull riding, Brennon Eldred posted the third highest score in the history of the WNFR – 94.5 points – to win the round and close to within shooting distance of two time champion Sage Kimzey for this year’s title. The Sulphur, Oklahoma man rode D and H Cattle’s SweetPro’s Bruiser for the $26,230 cheque and forces a showdown with Kimzey and third place man, Shane Proctor, on Saturday night.

In the barrel race, Mary Burger who brought a sizable lead to the Finals has seen that lead eroded by the amazing performance of Amberleigh Moore. Mary, the 68 year-old former champion hit a barrel in round nine while Moore, the Keizer, Oregon cowgirl, won the round with a 13.49 and like the bull riding, the barrel racing championship will come down to the final runs on the final night to determine the 2016 title holder.

The steer wrestling go round winner was Riley Duvall in 3.6 while Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, Louisiana leads the average and the world standings heading to the final round. And in the tie down roping it was Marty Yates and former world All-Around champion Ryan Jarrett sharing the victory lap with a pair of 7.4 second runs. Brazilian Marcos Costa leads the world with Yates who started in 15th place now sitting second but neither man is in the average. That gives a bit of an edge to the third place man, Oklahoman Hunter Herrin, who is holding down 4th place in the all-important, and very lucrative, average. This race too will be decided in Saturday night’s tenth and final go-round.

Courtesy of the CPRA*

Arena Chatter Courtesy of CPRA Results

Canada Night – Half a Million and Counting

The Canadian contingent went into their night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo needing just $38,000 to top the half million dollar mark in take home pay from the ten million dollar event, easily surpassing the best previous Canadian performance.

And Orin Larsen wasted no time in getting ‘Team Canada’ closer to that milestone payoff as he made his best ride of the 2016 WNFR with an 87.5 score on Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage to win his first ever go-round and the $26,000 plus first place cheque. The talented Manitoba cowboy has fashioned an inspirational story as he re-injured a painful rib tear in the opening round but has refused to give in. And over the last three days, Larsen has placed in all three rounds to win almost fifty thousand dollars.

“Full Baggage – he’s a big, strong horse that I’ve always wanted to get on and there’s no better place to do that than right here,” Larsen noted with a smile. “That trip to the South Point (nightly go-round buckle presentations) is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid – that’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for sure.”

Referencing the pain that has been an unpleasant accompaniment to every one of his rides at the Finals, the two time WNFR qualifier was philosophical. “It’s not too bad during the ride other than the popping and crunching that’s happening. But after the ride, that’s when I can feel it. But tonight I won so I feel pretty good.”

Airdrie’s Jake Vold who won three rounds in a row earlier at this Finals, had some trouble with the Pickett Rodeo bareback horse, Top Notch and had to settle for just 70.5 points.

Canadian bareback horses had a big night as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil packed Winn Ratliff to 86.5 and second place while Big Stone Rodeo’s Call Me Kindra carried JR Vezain to an 85 point 3/4 split.

For the third night in a row all three Canadian saddle bronc riders were in the money. The ‘kids’ (the oldest is 23) were led by Nanton’s Clay Elliott who rode Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic Fringe to an 86 point second place finish and a $20,730 dollar payday. Big Valley cowboy Zeke Thurston spurred out an 85 point effort on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Manhattan Moon for third place money of $15,653 and the guy who has been Mr. Consistency through the first eight days in Las Vegas – Jake Watson of Hudson’s Hope, BC – made it eight for eight with an 82 point ride on JK Rodeo’s Dakota Babe for 6th place and $4230.

Watson sits in top spot in the average and Thurston who has bucked off only one horse (at 7.92 seconds) is right behind Watson in the average with just two go-rounds remaining.

Two time World Champion, Cody Wright turned back the clock on this night and rode like his two sons Rusty and Ryder who are among the five Wrights qualified for Las Vegas in 2016. The elder statesman of the family was a brilliant 88 points on Lipstick and Whiskey from Powder River Rodeo, a horse that eighteen year-old Ryder rode to a go round win earlier in the week.

The lone disappointment for the dedicated Canadian fans, who had the flags waving with attitude tonight, came in the team roping as Levi Simpson (Ponoka) and Jeremy Buhler (Arrowwood) took their first no time of the rodeo and fell to third place in the average. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt went after it but broke the barrier to take him and Texas partner Shay Carroll to a 13.9 with the ten second penalty.

The 2016 Canadian champion team of Dustin Bird from Cutbank, Montana and Russell Cardoza from Terrebonne, Oregon were picture perfect in making the fastest run of the week, a sensational 3.7 seconds to win the round and keep Bird in the #1 spot in the All-Around standings.

Terrell, Texas bulldogger Clayton Hass won the round in his event with a 4.1 second run and remains in contention for both the steer wrestling and all-around titles. And in the barrel race, Oregon cowgirl, Amberleigh Moore, equaled the arena record with her 13.37 to win the round while former champion, Mary Burger, at 68 years young finished third in the round with a 13.66 to inch closer to her second world title.

Three Canadian champions finished atop the tie down roping leaderboard for the eighth go-round. Sulphur, Louisiana’s Shane Hanchey topped the round with a 6.8 second run; Blackfoot Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa (the reigning Canadian Champ) was second at 7.1 and the new dad from the state of Washington, Tyson Durfey, finished up in third spot with a 7.3.

It was fitting that in the Canada Night finale, it was a Canadian bull, Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Cooper’s Comet, that carried Fruita, Colorado cowboy, Tyler Smith, to an 89 point win in a round that saw only two men able to ride. In two trips at the 2016 WNFR, Cooper’s Comet, the 2016 Canadian Bull of the Year, has been 88.5 and 89 points and his riders, Smith and Roscoe Jarboe have both won the rounds.

Courtesy of the CPRA*

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