Saddle bronc rider Jake Watson is enjoying a change from the way his rodeo seasons have unfolded in the past.
“I’ve never had much luck at the spring rodeos up here,” the Hudson’s Hope cowboy admitted. “So this is definitely a lot better.”
Coupled with a solid run at the winter rodeos south of the 49th parallel, the weekend’s successes at the Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo and the Kananaskis Pro Rodeo have the 25 year-old solidly in 10th place in the world standings and moving up the season leaderboard in Canada as well.
Watson kicked off his weekend at Stavely on Thursday night and teamed with a Jesse Dutchik bronc, Big Booty Judy, for 84 points and $1400.
“I didn’t know that horse but Nick Patterson showed me a video of her from an amateur rodeo so I kind of had an idea. But to tell the truth she was better than what I expected. She just jumped and kicked and was good.”
Twenty-four hours later, the three-time CFR qualifier was back at it, this time in Coleman on a paint stallion from Kesler Championship Rodeo, Sugar and Spice. The B.C. cowboy put together an 85 point effort for $1313. The dual wins will propel Watson solidly into the top five in the Canadian standings.
The early season successes have fit well with the 2016 WNFR qualifier’s 2019 goals—appearances at the WNFR, the CFR and the recently unveiled Maple Leaf Circuit. It’s a tall order but Watson is used to big-time challenges having had to overcome a fairly serious geographical handicap just to get started on a career as a professional rodeo cowboy. Hudson’s Hope, British Columbia, a couple of hours north of Dawson Creek, is not an area noted for providing a lot of opportunities for a young man wanting to get on bucking horses.
“It didn’t matter,” Watson chuckled. “The first horse I got on threw me off pretty hard and made me question buying that bronc saddle. But after the second horse I was hooked.”
A few years later most observers concede that the former San Antonio Champion has earned the right to be considered among the best in the game. And with his acknowledging that “This is the best I’ve felt in a few years,” Jake Watson might just be a big time handful for the rest of the bronc riding fraternity throughout the 2019 season.
Additional weekend highlights:
– Five time World Champion, Sage Kimzey, capitalized on an early trip north where he won the short go (86.5 points on Outlaw Buckers’ 096 Tennessee Whisky) and average at Innisfail’s Night at the Ranch Bull Riding for more than $3300. The Strong City, Oklahoma cowboy then added a fifth place $395 cheque at the Kananaskis Pro Rodeo.
– Jonny Webb was just 3/10ths of a second off the Canadian record as the Okotoks bulldogger posted a blistering 3.2 second run to take home $1649 at Coleman.
– Connor Hamilton followed up on last weekend’s Drayton Valley success with an 87 point ride on Vold Rodeo’s True Grit for the win and $1412 at Stavely.
– Ponoka barrel racer, Jennifer Massing, surprised the field with a dazzling 12.738 second run at her second pro rodeo ever to take home $1880.24 at Kananaskis.
– The reunited duo of Brett Buss and Klay Whyte split top spot in the team roping at Stavely with Roland McFadden and Devin Wigemyr with both teams turning in 5.4 second runs for $1283 per man.
For complete unofficial weekend results, go to rodeocanada.com
Up next on the CPRA schedule is a May long weekend stop at the legendary Falkland Stampede. The May 18-20 British Columbia interior rodeo celebrates its 101st anniversary this year.