It was bounce back night for Canadian competitors in round number two of the 2018 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Both Canadian saddle bronc riders picked up cheques on Friday night at the Thomas and Mack Arena. 2016 World Champion Zeke Thurston picked up his second placing in two nights—this time surviving a wild ride and an even wilder get-off for 85 points and a 4th place $11,000 payday while two-time and reigning Canadian Champion Clay Elliot split 5/6 with an 84.5 score for $5500. For the second night in a row, Cort Scheer won the go-round, this time with a spectacular 92 points on a horse called Larry Culpepper from the Hi-Lo Rodeo Company but, best of all, this eight year-old roan gelding was Saskatchewan raised from the Art and Shawn Francis outfit. Thurston and Elliott now sit 5th and 9th in the world standings.
It didn’t take long for Scott Guenthner and Curtis Cassidy to get the ship righted. After both Canadian steer wrestlers took no times in WNFR round one, the Alberta hands came back with solid efforts on night number two. Guenthner, who just a month ago claimed his first Canadian title, bulldogged his steer in 4.1 seconds to split 3/4 in the round for a $13,692 cheque. Cassidy, who came to the NFR as the number one ranked steer wrestler in the world, checked in with a 4.3 and split 7/8 just one tick out of the money. Cassidy and Guenthner have fallen back to 4th and 5th respectively in the world standings after two rounds. The go-round was won by Tyler Pearson with a 3.6 run and with that the Louisville, Oklahoma cowboy went to the lead for the world.
In the bareback riding Canadian cowboy Orin Larsen was bucked off Powder River Rodeo’s Knot So Foxy. Larsen who looks to be favouring a leg injury he picked up at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, was limping as he left the arena after the ride. The round was won by Tilden Hooper who posted an 87.5 while two Canadian horses took cowboys to the pay window—Kesler Rodeo’s Uptown Flash (Steven Dent, 87 points for 2nd) and Calgary Stampede’s Yippee Kibitz (Mason Clements, 85.5, 4/5 split).
In the team roping, Clay Smith and 2012 Canadian Champion Paul Eaves topped the field with a 4.0 as Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira continue to lead the world standings.
The tie down roping is shaping up to be one of the closest races at this year’s WNFR as Marty Yates of Stephenville, Texas won the round with a lightning fast 7.6 second run. Yates is one of five men within $22,000 of the lead and is second in the aggregate as well with three-time world champion Tuf Cooper atop the standings after two rounds.
Carman Pozzobon, the 2017 Canadian Champion, rode her mare Ripp to a solid 13.81 to finish 8th in a blazing-fast round of barrel racing that was won by four-time Canadian champion, Lisa Lockhart from Oelrichs, South Dakota. Pozzobon, despite being well down on the ground for a second straight night was almost a half second faster than her opening night run.
On a night when the e-pen (eliminator) bulls bucked off twelve of fifteen riders including four-time and reigning World Champion Sage Kimzey, Utah cowboy Joe Frost made it two for two, winning the round with a spectacular 90 point ride on Powder River Rodeo Co’s Misfire. Bull of the Year Spotted Demon from the Big Stone Rodeo Inc. made short work of Oklahoma cowboy Garrett Tribble. Even with the buckoff, Kimzey continues to lead the world standings by a seemingly insurmountable $132,000.
For daily stock draws, round winners, results and highlights during the ten days of the NFR, go to http://www.rodeocanada.com