It was another solid night for Canada in the saddle bronc riding as 2016 World Champion Zeke Thurston split the round with Nebraska’s Cort Scheer, both men recording 89.5 scores to tuck $23,480 into their Wranglers. Thurston’s ride came on the outstanding mare from Powder River Rodeo—Miss Chestnut.
“I’d never been on her but they’ve won lots of go-rounds here and lots of rodeos on her and I was really excited to have her,” Thurston commented. “She’d not very big but she’s got a big heart and she’s the kind we love to get on.”
When asked about how he’s feeling about things heading into the latter rounds of the Finals, Thurston was definite. “It’s too early to be thinking about anything but doing my job every night. You can only do what you’ve got control of. I used to get really mad if I bucked off or didn’t ride good. But since the birth of my little girl, Lucy, I know she’d gonna be my biggest fan no matter what I do at the rodeo. And (recently-injured bareback rider) JR Vezain is my good friend and I know how lucky I am to get up every morning and be able to stand up on my own. Those are the things that really matter.”
Thurston, who has placed in five of the six rounds, is splitting 2/3 in the aggregate and sits fifth in the world, very definitely within striking distance of the leader—reigning World Champion, Ryder Wright. Nanton’s Clay Elliott, two-time and reigning Canadian Champion, recorded an 85 score and was just one spot out of the money. Elliott sits sixth in the aggregate and 10th in the world standing after six rounds.
It’s been chicken or feathers for steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy at this WNFR. The 12-time Canadian Champion came to Las Vegas as the number one ranked bulldogger in the world. Round six saw Cassidy turn in his second 3.6 second run, both of those times resulting in go round wins for the Donalda, Alberta cowboy who is once again on top of the season standings. The down side (the feathers part of the equation) is the two no times in his results package, one in the opening round at the Thomas and Mack arena and the other in round five, sandwiched between the go round wins.
“Steer wrestling is probably the most humbling event in this sport, maybe any sport,” Cassidy acknowledged with a grin. “One day you’re on top of the mountain and the next day you’re at the very bottom. I remember Barry Burk telling me a long time ago that you try to win as much as you can every day because you don’t know what’s going to happen the next day. Although I have to say that the cheer I got from the women in the crowd last night when that steer ripped my shirt off might have been bigger than
the one I got for winning the round tonight.”
Cassidy laughingly referenced the friendly rivalry he has with fellow Canadian, Scott Guenthner who also rides Cassidy’s outstanding horse, Tyson. “I was probably more nervous with that steer tonight than any so far. Scott had him and won the round the other night so I didn’t want to screw up tonight for sure.” There was definitely no worry in that regard for the second generation cowboy as he extended his lead at the top of the world standings. Cassidy has $184,000 in the bank and a $28,000 cushion over Will Lummus who sits in second spot but is leading the average.
“I know I’m not in the average but my goal is to have $60,000 more won than the next-placed guy going into round ten because I’m not in the average.” (The average/aggregate pays a whopping $67,000 to win it.)
Guenthner, the recently crowned Canadian Champion turned in a 4.5 run in the round to split 6th place with Lummus. The Provost, Alberta cowboy fell to 4th in the world standing and sits 9th in the aggregate.
For the second night in a row a Canadian bucking horse was in the spotlight in the bareback riding. This time around it was the Calgary Stampede’s Tootsie Roll carrying the North Dakotan, Ty Breuer, to 88 points and the first place cheque of $26,230. 2018 Canadian Champion – Richmond Champion – rode another Canadian four-legged legend, Kesler Rodeo’s Street Dance, a nine-time WNFR qualifier, to a 2/3/4 split with 87.5 points. The payoff for the Texan was $15,794 and he shared the honours and the cash with Tilden Hooper and Steven Dent. Two-time and reigning champion, Tim O’Connell, continues to lead the world with Caleb Bennett and Clayton Biglow not far behind. The lone Canadian in the bareback riding, Orin Larsen, checked in with an 82.5 point ride and was out of the money. Larsen now sits 7th in the world standings.
A pair of Texans – header Tyler Wade and his partner Cole Davison – earned their first 2018 WNFR cheque and they did it with a vengeance – roping in 3.9 seconds for the round 6 win. But overall, the team roping event remains a tight race. Aaron Tsinigine and Trey Yates were long but managed a time of 19.5 to stay number one in the average with 48.4 seconds on six head. The pair sit sixth in the World – about $65,000 behind Clay Smith and Paul Eaves who are still in the driver’s seat as they remain first overall and second in the average after six rounds. A no-time for Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira dropped the team two spots – to third in the average but they still sit second in the World – just $30,000 behind Smith and Eaves.
Two time WNFR barrel racer, Hailey Kinsel, earned her second round win of the week with a solid 13.63 second run. Kinsel remains in her customary spot on top of the World standings and tonight’s win will help the Cotulla, TX cowgirl and her talented palomino ‘Sister’ as they slowly climb back up in the average after a tipped barrel earlier in the week. Jessica Routier picked up the second place cheque with a 13.72 and held on to the average lead for the second night in a row. The South Dakota barrel racer is one of only four contestants with six clean runs. Canada’s Carman Pozzobon – who has only one cheque to her credit so far is another cowgirl with all penalty-free runs. The Savona, BC talent kept the barrels up once again – clocking 14.10 tonight. Though not in the money, the first time WNFR qualifier is fourth in the average.
There were significant changes afoot in the tie-down roping. While Kansas cowboy Cooper Martin won his first round at this Finals, it was a miss by Texan Marty Yates that denoted the biggest change on leaderboard. While Yates sits second behind regular season leader (and Canadian Champion) Shane Hanchey, he plummeted all the way from top spot in the aggregate going into round six to 10th after the Tuesday miss.
And in the bull riding, Louisiana bull rider Dustin Boquet was a sparkling 91 points to win the round as world leader Sage Kimzey continues to hold a massive lead atop the standings despite bucking off his 3rd bull in six nights. The Canadian bull, Whiskey Hand, from Wayne Vold Rodeo carried Chase Dougherty to 88.5 points and second in the round, following up on the first round win recorded on the big brindle.
For WNFR detailed results, daily stock draws, stories and highlights, go to http://www.rodeocanada.com