Cowboy Christmas 2013

Photo by Deanna Buschert

Three-time Canadian bareback champion, Kyle Bowers now knows what Cowboy Christmas is all about.

The 36 year-old, Brooks, Alta., cowboy pocketed close to 14-thousand dollars during the July long weekend while posting victories in Williams Lake and Airdrie and making his first appearance in the Ponoka Stampede Showdown.

“This is definitely the best weekend I’ve ever had in Canada,” said Bowers shortly after an 86.5 point ride in the Ponoka Stampede finale. “I’ve been riding for pretty much 18 years and I’ve watched guys have some awesome weekends on the July long weekend and always wished I could do it one time.”

Bowers began his Cowboy Christmas run in Ponoka on June 25th with an 85 point trip on Kesler’s Western Star, then two nights later jumped aboard Outlaw Bucker’s American Trip for 88 points. The 3 time Canadian champion followed that up with a drive across the mountains to Williams Lake where he rode John Duffy’s Blue Jeans for 87 points and then made the trip back to Ponoka for the Stampede’s final day.

“I hate to complain about draws but honestly this spring up until Wainwright, I couldn’t draw a horse to save my life. About the only time I’d win money was on a re-ride,” sighed the 11-time CFR qualifier. “I really wished I could have finished it off by winning Ponoka but it was pretty much a dream weekend. I can’t really complain about anything.”

It was the hometown cowboy, Jake Vold who won the bareback riding at the Ponoka Stampede. The 26 year-old posted the season’s highest marked ride – doing so in front of a packed grandstand on Canada Day. The 91.5-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Stampede Warrior in the Showdown round capped off
a $17,703 weekend which also included a 4th place cheque from Williams Lake.

“I’ve never done good here (Ponoka) before since I won the novice back years ago,” said Vold after picking up his championship buckle and jacket. “I’m probably related to half the people here. I’m never nervous but all weekend I was nervous.”

Oregon barrel racer, Brenda Mays joined Bowers in picking up cheques at all three Canada Day weekend rodeos. The 2012 WNFR average champion finished second in Airdrie, grabbed a 6th place cheque in Williams Lake and won her first Ponoka Stampede championship.

“I got a call last night and they said ‘hey a girl is turning out, do you want the spot’,” said Mays, who finished 13th in the Stampede’s opening round, one spot out of the finals.

Mays turned that good fortune into a $10,652 payday at Ponoka while adding another $4,117 from the other weekend stops.

“I really enjoy it up here, I love the rodeos,” offers Mays. “I’ll be working now on getting to the CFR.”

Black Diamond, Alta., bullrider, Tyler Thomson also turned a surprise trip to the Ponoka Stampede showdown into a big payday. Thomson was bucked off in the finals Monday afternoon but an injury to Garrett Green after his successful ride gave the 2008 Canadian champ a second chance. The result was an 88-point ride on Franklin’s Team Paige and a Ponoka championship.

“I messed up a bull that I thought I should have rode this afternoon,” began Thomson after the evening ride. “Anytime you win a rodeo like this, it’s an unbelievable feeling.”

Thomson’s $7,930 cheque was the second highest in the bull riding behind that of 2011 Canadian champ, Chad Besplug who earned $13,002 from Ponoka.

Other big winners from the long weekend included saddle bronc riders, Tyler Corrington ($14,666) and Cort Scheer ($12,049); bareback rider, Clint Cannon ($10,563); tie-down ropers, Nate Baldwin ($10,075), Timber Moore ($11,652) and Logan Bird ($9,069); steer wrestlers, Todd Maughan ($9,097), Hunter Cure ($9876) and Clayton Moore ($8557); barrel racer, Jane Melby ($9,226) and team ropers, Cory Petska and Erich Rogers ($8,376 each).

Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule are rodeos in Benalto and Taber (July 5-7) and Coronation (July 6).
For full Cowboy Christmas rodeo results, see rodeocanada.com.

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