Bowden, Alberta cowboy, Ky Marshall, has enjoyed some major successes in the sport of rodeo. The 26 year-old has already captured two All-Around titles. But he’s very clear that there’s another goal in his sights—the Canadian Bareback riding title.
And so far in 2018, that goal looks like a very realistic aspiration for the six-year pro. After kicking off the season with a major win at Regina’s Agribition Rodeo, Marshall has been a picture of consistency to this point in the season. And a productive weekend at Lea Park, Brooks and Rocky Mountain House added a tidy $2897 bump to the bank account, giving him $11,069 in season earnings and first place (unofficially) in the bareback standings, just dollars ahead of second place man, Ty Taypotat.
The lion’s share of Marshall’s weekend haul came from Lea Park Rodeo where he teamed with Calgary Stampede’s Rum Flavoured, a Grated Coconut/Zippy Delivery daughter, for 87 points and the win.
“I’d had that horse twice before,” Marshall recalled. “She bucked me off at the CFR maybe four years ago and then I had her in the Wild Card round at Calgary and I was 87 there as well. But this was the best trip I’ve seen her have. She stayed close to the chutes and just bucked higher and harder as the ride went on.”
Then it was off to Brooks for a 5/6 split on Kesler Rodeo’s Critical Smile and Rocky Mountain House where Marshall and Wayne Vold’s Sheer Ice splashed their way to an 82 and third place.
The central Alberta talent acknowledges that it’s tough getting to the pay window in the spring as the early rodeos often attract guys who’ve been getting on bucking horses all winter in the US.
”With my family and cows and commitments up here, I just haven’t been going south at all,” he acknowledged. “The guys who do are in really good shape but I found that this year after a couple of rodeos I had kind of caught up—that I was riding good and feeling good.”
Marshall also noted that he’s continually tweaking his rides, trying to do little things to make himself better. “I’m really concentrating on finishing strong every time I get on. I think I was starting horses pretty well in the past but sometimes I wasn’t as strong as I needed to be for the whole ride. Now I’m really working at being aggressive and strong right to the eight seconds and even a little beyond. I think that’s really helped me.”
After two days of glorious sunshine, the rain and mud made Rocky’s last day a little challenging—but a lot of fun, especially in the steer wrestling. Amazingly three bulldoggers were under four seconds on Sunday afternoon. First Scott Guenthner posted a tremendous 3.9 second run and moments later Harley Cole duplicated the feat, then celebrated by diving into ‘Rocky Lake’, a massive puddle that sat almost directly in front of the timed event chute. But it was Cochrane’s Straws Milan who made the biggest impression, first with an unbelievable 3.6 second run for the win, then with an even more spectacular splash into that same body of water.
Ponoka barrel racer, Shayna Weir, enjoyed the biggest weekend of her career as she placed at all three events, including a first place finish in Rocky Mountain House, a sixth at Lea Park and a ninth place cheque at Brooks for a $3092 boost to her season total, vaulting her from 33rd place in the standings to a top fifteen spot on the 2018 leaderboard.
Another interesting sidebar to the season is the performance to date of veteran Oklahoma roper, Mike Johnson, as he seeks to plug one hole in his brilliant resume—a trip to the Canadian Finals Rodeo. The genial Johnson, who has spent a lot of time on the north side of ’49 over the years was sitting ninth in the standings heading into the weekend and, courtesy of a win at the Brooks Pro Rodeo and a sixth place finish at Lea Park, collected $2622 and a solid move still further up in the standings. The 54 year-old Johnson, a 23 time NFR qualifier and his barrel racer wife, Sherry-Lynn, were married in Canada and are popular figures at every Canadian rodeo stop they make.
For complete results from Brooks, Lea Park and Rocky Mountain House, go to rodeocanada.com
Next up on the CPRA schedule is a trip to Innisfail’s Daines Rodeo Ranch, longtime home of the Innisfail Pro Rodeo, slated for June 15-17.