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.