Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
December 8, 2017
Tanner Milan led the Canadian parade to the winner’s circle on night number two of the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
After being out of the money in the first round, the two-time Canadian Champion dropped his steer in a speedy 3.5 seconds to claim the $26,230 first place cheque on Friday night at the Thomas and Mack Arena.
“I was a lot sharper on the barrier tonight and being sharper and getting a good start really helped me.”
Mounted on Tom Lewis’ doggin’ horse, Maverick, and with brother and talented hazer, Baillie on the other side of the steer, Milan won his first ever go-round at the WNFR. “It’s something I’ve always dreamed of and it dang sure feels good to get it done.”
The Cochrane cowboy, appearing at his second National Finals, jumped three places to fifth overall in the world standings and gained much-needed ground on season leader, Ty Erickson. Milan moved to within $53,000 of the leader. Erickson and the second half of the Canadian steer wrestling tandem, Scott Guenthner, of Provost, Alberta, both finished just out of the money with identical 4.5 second runs.
In the bareback riding, Canadian frowns turned upside down when Jake Vold’s announced 77 score earned the three-time Canadian title holder a re-ride. And given a second chance, last year’s runner-up for the world title didn’t waste the opportunity, recording an 87 score on Beutler and Son Rodeo’s Hollywood Hills to split 3/4 in the round and pick up $13,326 for the effort. The bad news for Vold was that he was unable to narrow the gap on front-runner and defending World Champion, Tim O’Connell who equaled Vold’s score with an 87 point ride of his own.
Vold’s 174.5 on two leads the average with O’Connell in second spot and Manitoba’s Orin Larsen in third. Larsen picked up a sixth place cheque in the go round, courtesy of his 85 score on Pickett Pro Rodeo’s Uncapped for a $4230 payday.
And in the bull riding, 2016 Canadian champion, Jordan Hansen, cashed his first-ever cheque at the WNFR as he rode Sutton Rodeo’s High Roller to 84.5 points and a $6769 haul, a nice bounce-back performance after the Calgary talent bucked off his opening night bull. Things got a little tighter at the top end of the bull riding leaderboard as 2017 Canadian Champion, Garrett Smith, won the round with an 87.5 and inched closer to overall leader and three time title holder, Sage Kimzey who was 86.5 to spilt 2/3 in the round. Smith, the Rexburg, Idaho sensation, is now just $12,000 back of Kimzey and is second in the average with the Texas superstar holding down 4th spot. Wayne Vold’s Heaven’s Basement took home the rank stock award as the seven year-old brindle bucked off the very tough Tim Bingham.
Things did not go well for the trio of Canadian saddle bronc riders on a Friday night that felt like Friday the 13th. In a round that saw the bucking horses dominate, there were only seven cowboys able to record scores. Reigning World Champion, Zeke Thurston, 2017 Canadian Champ, Layton Green, and 2016 titleist, Clay Elliott weren’t among the seven success stories on this night as CoBurn Bradshaw rode Calgary Stampede’s Tiger Warrior to a whopping 89 score to win the round. If there’s a silver lining for the Canadian trio, it’s that the guy all three are chasing, season leader Jacobs Crawley was also victimized by the tough Friday pen of broncs. Bradshaw, however, has moved to third in the standings and is now very much in the championship conversation as he also leads the average after two rounds.
In the team roping, Arrowwood, Alberta’s Jeremy Buhler remains in 15th spot overall after a no time on Friday night. The defending world champion and 2017 Canadian champ is roping alongside Arizona roper, Tom Richards, after regular partner (for both of those championships) Levi Simpson, finished one spot out of the top fifteen and is having to watch his longtime partner from the sidelines. Former Canadian Champions, Dustin Bird (twice) and Russell Cardoza won the round with a blistering 3.9. Kaleb Driggers and 2016 World All-Around Champion Junior Nogueira continue to lead the world standings.
And in the barrel racing, Salem, Oregon’s Amberleigh Moore posted a go-round winning 13.54 second run while Tiany Shuster’s seeming insurmountable lead coming to Las Vegas seems even more secure after Friday night. While Shuster has been out of the money through two rounds, her nearest rival, Stevi Hillman had a difficult round two run (23.67 seconds) and took herself out of the average and very likely out of the title chase as well.
Trevor Brazile, seemingly on a mission to take back his All-Around crown after a year’s absence from the PRCA, won the tie down roping with a Brazile-esque 7.4 run on Friday night.