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.
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