Courtesy of the CPRA
When Bailee Switzer was offered the opportunity to climb aboard Twila Zunti’s talented mare, Joanie, late last spring, the Aneroid, Saskatchewan barrel racer didn’t hesitate for long. After confirming she could purchase the horse if things worked out, Switzer made her first run at Ponoka. The 2017 season had its ups and downs but overall the duo enjoyed some strong placings on the pro trail.
Fast forward to spring 2018 where Switzer and 14 year old Joanie just enjoyed their second rodeo win of the season this past weekend at the Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo.
“I’m super happy and kind of shocked,” the many time CCA finalist commented after a 13.521 second run that topped the field of 107 barrel racers and earned $2152.60 for her rodeo account. And this on the heels of a win at Coleman two weeks prior. “We’re still figuring each other out,” she admitted, “though Joanie is so great. I just push, kick and I need to ride up into my turns.”
Switzer keeps the Special Effort-Streakin Six mare happy by hauling a buddy along to the rodeos but with young horses on the go, that’s easy to do.
When asked about the season ahead, Switzer summed things up pretty quickly, “Make as much money as I can and qualify for the CFR… but I’m going to take it one rodeo at a time.”
It was “Déjà vu all over again” as Yogi Berra famously said for 2016 Canadian Champion saddle bronc rider, Clay Elliott as for the second year running, the Nanton cowboy teamed up with Vold Rodeo’s Pedro, this time for 87.5 points and a $1584 first place cheque. The score was two points higher this time around on the celebrated bronc Wayne Vold has called the ‘Sidney Crosby of his herd’ and the win enabled Elliott to sustain his run at the bronc riding standings leaders.
Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan’s Jesse Popescul continued to have the hot hand in the tie down roping as he went back to back, following up his Drayton Valley win of a week ago with a 7.9 second effort good for a $2010 boost to his bank account and a further climb up the Canadian standings.
Reigning Canadian Bareback Riding Champion, Seth Hardwick of Ranchester, Wyoming climbed aboard Wayne Vold’s bareback riding slot machine, Mucho Dinero for an impressive 87.5 points; when the dust settled, Hardwick padded his Canadian season earnings by $1354.
Two time titleist, Tanner Milan, was on his game as the Cochrane steer wrestler dogged his steer in 3.9 seconds for a tidy $1794 payday while the team roping was split between Steele Depaoli and his partner Chase Simpson and the duo of Grady Branden and Colten Fletcher. Both teams recorded 5.6 second times with each of the four pocketing $1192.
And in the bull riding, Nick Tetz of Calgary mastered Vold Rodeo’s Fire Nails for 84 points and a $1713 haul for his trouble. Red Deer steer rider Carter Sahli rounded out the roster of champions with a 75.5 point ride to earn $436.
And just a little way up Highway 2, the Night at the Ranch Bull Riding in Innisfail saw Montana cowboy Luke Gee amass 84 points on C5 Rodeo’s Hot Roddy Road. Gee collected $1694 in winning the long go and the same amount in the average as there were no qualified rides in the short go.
For complete Stavely and Innisfail results go to rodeocanada.com.
Next up for cowboys and cowgirls is the 100th Anniversary Edition of the Falkland Stampede May 19-21.