6th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo

 

SASKATOON, Saskatchewan – Prairieland Park organizers and the Saskatchewan Equine Expo committee would like to thank their partners The Saskatchewan Horse Federation and the Western College of Veterinary Medicine, along with all the sponsors, the media and volunteers who helped to make the 6th Annual Saskatchewan Equine Expo such an amazing success.
The 6th Annual Equine Expo achieved a record attendance with 11,725 people taking in the 4 day show.

The Saskatchewan Equine Expo showcases many elements of the Equine industry through demonstrations, clinics, competitions, awards and an industry trade show.
The Saskatchewan Equine Expo would like to thank their three incredible trainers for the entertaining performances, and congratulate Kade Mills from Sundre, Alberta on being named the winner of the NAERIC Trainer Challenge. Both Glenn Stewart and Dale Clearwater captivated the audience demonstrating their expertise in Natural Horsemanship demonstrations and a Working Cow Horse clinic this year.

Congratulations also to the winner of the Ultimate Cow Horse Competition, Geoff Hoar, Red Deer Country, Alberta. The Battle of the Breeds was a highlight for the audience watching 6 breeds compete in 4 events to determine the overall winner – Team Quarter Horse was awarded 1st place, followed by Team Arabian in 2nd place and Team Andalusian in 3rd place.
“The weather definitely cooperated with us this year and we are so pleased that the 6th Equine Expo again attracted such an enthusiastic and knowledgeable crowd”, commented Lori Cates, Agriculture Manager.

How To Spell Relief… W-I-N

 

CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

For Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and American partner, Shay Carroll, it took nine rounds to get the monkey off their backs and win their first cheque of this WNFR. But when they did it, they did it right, making that cheque a first place payoff ($26,239 per man) while recording the fastest time of the rodeo through nine rounds — a sensational 3.6 seconds.

Schmidt, riding the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year, Badger, and Carroll had come to the Finals with a legitimate shot at a world title but encountered a series of frustrations though the first eight days of the rodeo.

“It’s kind of funny,” Schmidt chuckled. “This was the fastest time of the week and the slowest I’ve gone in my mind. I think I’ve just been going too fast up until now. I knew with my horse and my heeler if I did my job, it would work out.”

Carroll agreed. “I picked this guy for a reason at the start of the year,” he said of his heading partner. “I’m not surprised at all. I knew he’d rope like he can and I just wanted to be ready.”

Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and his Arrowwood, Alberta partner Jeremy Buhler bounced back from their first no time of this Finals in the eighth round to post a 4.6 second run to place 4th on this night and move up a notch in the average race to second spot. The Alberta cowboys are 8 of 9 and just 1.6 seconds out of first place in the average and the $67,000 first place aggregate cheques.

Leading the world standings heading into the final round are Luke Brown of Stephenville, Texas and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas.

The phenomenal comeback story of this WNFR, bareback rider, Orin Larsen, placed in the round for the 4th night in a row. He’s had to battle back from re-injuring the rib-tear he suffered back in September. After being blanked through the first five rounds, he made the statement, “I have no choice – I have to win.” Since making that pronouncement, winning is exactly what he’s done, including taking his first-ever victory lap at the Thomas and Mack Arena in go round number eight.

Tonight the Manitoba cowboy was 86.5 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s former world champion bareback horse, MGM Dirty Jacket, to collect a third place cheque of $15,653 and give him $62,190 over the last four rounds.

Three time Canadian champion Jake Vold continued his outstanding WNFR, placing 4th for an $11,000 payday. The Ponoka product has also climbed to 3rd place overall in the average at a finals that has seen him win three rounds and place in six overall.

Tanner Aus was the top gun in the round with an 88.5 score and Tim O’Connell continues to hold a comfortable lead in the world championship race heading to the final day. Wayne Vold Rodeo’s outstanding grey, True Grit, carried Ty Breuer to 83.5 and a sixth place cheque of $4,230 to kick off the go round.

The saddle bronc riding wasn’t as good to the youthful Canadian trio as it had been in recent rounds that saw all three place on each of the previous three nights. In round nine, Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston was out of the money with a 77.5 score while both Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) and Jake Watson (Hudson’s Hope, BC)  were bucked off. The silver lining  in this cloud is that despite bucking off for the first time in nine rounds, Watson will go to the last go round in first place in the average, with 663 points on eight rides, just one point ahead of reigning world champion and overall leader, Jacobs Crawley. Thurston is another point back in third spot in the average.

Eighteen year-old Ryder Wright has ridden five horses at the 2016 WNFR. And he’s won all five of those go-rounds. This time around, the youngest of the remarkable Utah family, posted an 88.5 on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Alpha Dog for the win.

2012 World Champion (and Ryder’s uncle) Jesse Wright rode Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles to an 85.5 for second place in the round.

A couple of races tightened up in this second last round of what cowboys call ‘the Marathon’. In the bull riding, Brennon Eldred posted the third highest score in the history of the WNFR – 94.5 points – to win the round and close to within shooting distance of two time champion Sage Kimzey for this year’s title. The Sulphur, Oklahoma man rode D and H Cattle’s SweetPro’s Bruiser for the $26,230 cheque and forces a showdown with Kimzey and third place man, Shane Proctor, on Saturday night.

In the barrel race, Mary Burger who brought a sizable lead to the Finals has seen that lead eroded by the amazing performance of Amberleigh Moore. Burger, the 68 year-old former champion hit a barrel in round nine while Moore, the Keizer, Oregon cowgirl, won the round with a 13.49 and like the bull riding, the barrel racing championship will come down to the final runs on the final night to determine the 2016 title holder.

The steer wrestling go round winner was Riley Duvall in 3.6 while Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, Louisiana leads the average and the world standings heading to the final round. And in the tie down roping it was Marty Yates and former world All-Around champion Ryan Jarrett sharing the victory lap with a pair of 7.4 second runs. Brazilian Marcos Costa leads the world with Yates who started in 15th place now sitting second but neither man is in the average. That gives a bit of an edge to the third place man, Oklahoman Hunter Herrin, who is holding down 4th place in the all-important, and very lucrative, average. This race too will be decided in Saturday night’s tenth and final go-round.

Canada Night

 

CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

The Canadian contingent went into their night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo needing just $38,000 to top the half million dollar mark in take home pay from the ten million dollar event, easily surpassing the best previous Canadian performance.

And Orin Larsen wasted no time in getting ‘Team Canada’ closer to that milestone payoff as he made his best ride of the 2016 WNFR with an 87.5 score on Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage to win his first ever go-round and the $26,000 plus first place cheque. The talented Manitoba cowboy has fashioned an inspirational story as he re-injured a painful rib tear in the opening round but has refused to give in. And over the last three days, Larsen has placed in all three rounds to win almost fifty thousand dollars.

“Full Baggage – he’s a big, strong horse that I’ve always wanted to get on and there’s no better place to do that than right here,” Larsen noted with a smile. “That trip to the South Point (nightly go-round buckle presentations) is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid – that’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for sure.”

Referencing the pain that has been an unpleasant accompaniment to every one of his rides at the Finals, the two time WNFR qualifier was philosophical. “It’s not too bad during the ride other than the popping and crunching that’s happening. But after the ride, that’s when I can feel it. But tonight I won so I feel pretty good.”

Airdrie’s Jake Vold who won three rounds in a row earlier at this Finals, had some trouble with the Pickett Rodeo bareback horse, Top Notch and had to settle for just 70.5 points.

Canadian bareback horses had a big night as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil packed Winn Ratliff to 86.5 and second place while Big Stone Rodeo’s Call Me Kindra carried JR Vezain to an 85 point 3/4 split.

For the third night in a row all three Canadian saddle bronc riders were in the money. The ‘kids’ (the oldest is 23) were led by Nanton’s Clay Elliott who rode Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic Fringe to an 86 point second place finish and a $20,730 dollar payday. Big Valley cowboy Zeke Thurston spurred out an 85 point effort on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Manhattan Moon for third place money of $15,653 and the guy who has been Mr. Consistency through the first eight days in Las Vegas – Jake Watson of Hudson’s Hope, BC – made it eight for eight with an 82 point ride on JK Rodeo’s Dakota Babe for 6th place and $4,230.

Watson sits in top spot in the average and Thurston who has bucked off only one horse (at 7.92 seconds) is right behind Watson in the average with just two go-rounds remaining.

Two time World Champion, Cody Wright turned back the clock on this night and rode like his two sons Rusty and Ryder who are among the five Wrights qualified for Las Vegas in 2016. The elder statesman of the family was a brilliant 88 points on Lipstick and Whiskey from Powder River Rodeo, a horse that 18-year-old Ryder rode to a go round win earlier in the week.

The lone disappointment for the dedicated Canadian fans, who had the flags waving with attitude tonight, came in the team roping as Levi Simpson (Ponoka) and Jeremy Buhler (Arrowwood) took their first no time of the rodeo and fell to third place in the average. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt went after it but broke the barrier to take him and Texas partner Shay Carroll to a 13.9 with the ten second penalty.

The 2016 Canadian champion team of Dustin Bird from Cutbank, Montana and Russell Cardoza from Terrebonne, Oregon were picture perfect in making the fastest run of the week, a sensational 3.7 seconds to win the round and keep Bird in the #1 spot in the All-Around standings.

Terrell, Texas bulldogger Clayton Hass won the round in his event with a 4.1 second run and remains in contention for both the steer wrestling and all-around titles. And in the barrel race, Oregon cowgirl, Amberleigh Moore, equaled the arena record with her 13.37 to win the round while former champion, Mary Burger, at 68 years young finished third in the round with a 13.66 to inch closer to her second world title.

Three Canadian champions finished atop the tie down roping leaderboard for the eighth go-round. Sulphur, Louisiana’s Shane Hanchey topped the round with a 6.8 second run; Blackfoot Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa (the reigning Canadian Champ) was second at 7.1 and the new dad from the state of Washington, Tyson Durfey, finished up in third spot with a 7.3.

It was fitting that in the Canada Night finale, it was a Canadian bull, Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Cooper’s Comet, that carried Fruita, Colorado cowboy, Tyler Smith, to an 89 point win in a round that saw only two men able to ride. In two trips at the 2016 WNFR, Cooper’s Comet, the 2016 Canadian Bull of the Year, has been 88.5 and 89 points and his riders, Smith and Roscoe Jarboe have both won the rounds.

Solid Night for Team Canada

 

CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

Canadians continued their assault on the Wrangler National Finals’ chequing account and their own all-time earnings record in Wednesday’s seventh round.

The big move for the Canadian contingent once again came courtesy of the team roping duo, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. The talented twosome, from Ponoka and Arrowwood, Alberta respectively, roped their steer in 4.3 seconds to split second in the round and add $18,192 to their earnings total. More importantly, they moved to first place in the average and are the only team to have roped all seven of their steers. The average or aggregate – which is the total time on ten head – pays $67,000 to the first-place finisher.

“We just missed getting to the Finals last year,” Simpson commented, “so we changed a few things so that wouldn’t happen again. We went to fewer rodeos so we could be rested and focused for the ones we did go to.”

“We’re just trying to stay aggressive and take it one night at a time,” Buhler added. “Levi’s turning ‘em just great and I’m just trying to do my job on the back side.”

Matt Sherwood and Quinn Kesler won the round with a 4.1 while the third Canadian in the team roping, Barrhead, Alberta’s Kolton Schmidt along with Texas partner, Shay Carroll continued to struggle and finished out of the money in round seven.

Jake Watson is quickly becoming one of the very cool stories of the 2016 WNFR. On a night that saw all three Canadian bronc riders cash some chips, the 23-year-old Hudson’s Hope, BC, cowboy stuck an 83.5 point ride on the three time Canadian champion saddle bronc, Get Smart from the Northcott Macza firm. Watson, who barely squeaked into 15th place to qualify for his first WNFR, split 2/3/4 in the round, for a $15,794 payday. He’s climbed all the way to first place in the average and 7th in the world standings with over $143,000 won. Watson split the round with world leader and defending champion, Jacobs Crawley and Jake Wright who was aboard the Calgary Stampede’s Waning Moon. Another Stampede bronc, Tiger Warrior, ended the perfect run of first time finalist Allen Boore who was 6 for 6 before tonight’s encounter with the Grated Coconut son.

Reigning Canadian champion Clay Elliott put together an 81 point effort on Stace Smith’s Pretty Boy for a fifth place $6769 cheque while Zeke Thurston, who won round six, teamed with Burch Rodeo’s Angel Slings for 6th place in the round and $4,230.

Orin Larsen followed up his 2/3 spilt and first cheque of the Wrangler National Finals rodeo in Tuesday’s sixth go-round with a split of sixth place in round seven to add a $2,215 cheque to the $18 thousand plus he collected the day before. The Manitoba product, who came to the WNFR in second place, was 78 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Ankle Biter. Meanwhile the blazing pistols of Jake Vold cooled slightly on this night. The Ponoka cowboy who had won the previous three rounds was out of the money in round seven as he managed a 76 score on Beutler and Son’s Nod Big .Com Wonderland. Vold remains in second place in the average and fourth in the world.

The California man and Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, RC Landingham won the round with an 84.5 on a horse called Scarlet Fever while Tim O’Connell continues to enjoy a commanding lead atop the bareback riding leaderboard. On the stock side where going into round seven, $240,000 had been won on Canadian horses and bulls, the Calgary Stampede’s Trail Dust carried Texan Richie Champion to 79 points and a fifth place cheque for $6,769.

Defending average champion, Dakota Endridge won the round in the steer wrestling with a 3.4 second time. Leading the world after seven rounds is Louisiana cowboy Tyler Waguespack with $204,000. Mary Burger came to Las Vegas leading the world and the 68-year-old grandmother continued her storybook year as she and her tremendous gelding, Mo, posted a 13.58  to win the round and consolidate her lead for the world title. Canadian champion Matt Shiozawa of Blackfoot, Idaho won his first round of this WNFR with a 7.3 second run one night after he suffered the misfortune of having his rope break to force a no time.

And in the bull riding, all eyes were initially focused on Sage Kimzey and his quest for a third world title. But former world champion, Shane Proctor, has become one of the big storylines and tonight he made it seven for seven as the Washington cowboy was part of a three-way split of first with 85 points. Joining Kimzey in the Winner’s Circle were Garrett Tribble and Cody Rostockyj.

Big Bucks Go North of 49

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

The Canadian saddle bronc riders have been watching the bareback riders and team ropers getting all the headlines. And in go-round six of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, they decided to do something about it.

The youthful trio enjoyed their finest hour to date as all three Canadian bronc riders placed in the round for the first time at this Finals. It was Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston leading the way as he put together a spectacular 88.5 on C5 Rodeo’s Black Hills for his first-ever WNFR go-round win. The win gives him $49,923 in earnings to date and third place in the slot machine-like average.

Right behind the second generation bronc rider was Hudson Hope, BC’s Jake Watson with his 87 point effort on Frontier Rodeo’s Times Up. The second place cheque meant the very consistent Watson is now 6 for 6 and has moved to the overall lead in the average. The third member of the Canuck threesome, Canadian Champion Clay Elliott, saw his 82.5 on Big Rafter Rodeo’s Pearl hold on for a split of sixth place and $2,115.

“That’s just a really nice little horse of Vern’s (MacDonald),” Thurston grinned after his ride. “I’ve had her a couple of times before and I’ve won quite a bit of money on her. She felt really good out there.”

Thurston had to put the disappointment of a 7.92 second buckoff earlier in the week behind him and is definitely in a groove now. “Yeah, Killer Bee is one of the buckiest horses I’ve ever been on.” Thurston acknowledged. “I set an arena record on him at Tucson but here he got me. You just have to put those things out of your mind and get ready for the next one.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“It’s not over ‘till I win.”

Those were the words of Canadian bareback rider, Orin Larsen. The talented Manitoba cowboy had not had the finals he had hoped for, particularly as he came into the Wrangler NFR in second place in the world standings and was coming off a terrific Canadian Finals Rodeo that saw him win three rounds.

But it was clear almost from the outset that all was not right with the soft-spoken two time WNFR qualifier.

“I’d torn some ribs back in September but after the CFR I thought I was pretty well home free. But about two or three jumps out on my first round horse here (Frontier Rodeo’s Night Watch) I felt a pop and knew I’d tore them again.”

Not one to look for an excuse, Larsen was quick to accentuate the positive. “The Sport Medicine Team has done as awesome job of keeping me in one piece,” he stated. “ I’m really looking forward to the last half of the Finals.” That despite admitting to ‘feeling it crunch and pop’ as he rides.

Larsen noted as well that he’s aware of the support of Canadian fans both here in Las Vegas and back in Canada. “That means so much to me; I really appreciate it,” he smiled. “I don’t have any choice. I have to go out there and win.”

It turns out that those fans and Larsen’s attitude were just the combination to get his week turned around.

In tonight’s round six, he climbed aboard Bar T Rodeo’s Ruby’s Girl and did what he has done all season long, spurring out an 85 score to split 2/3 in the round and pocket his first cheque of this finals, a sizable $18,192 payoff. In fact, only one man was better.

And that man, fellow Canadian, Jake Vold, was a half point better on Burch Rodeo’s Jim Dandy to post his third go-round win in succession. Vold’s $91,000 plus haul has moved him to 4th place in both the average and the world standings with four rounds remaining.

“I had Jim Dandy here in 2014; I think it was in the same round,” Vold recalled, “and I knew he was good. But I think I rode him better this time.”

As happy as he was with his own performance, Vold was equally tickled to see his countryman enjoy some success. “Orin is as tough as nails – riding with separated ribs; I was really excited to see him win a big cheque tonight.”

A couple of Canadian horses grabbed a share of the spotlight in the bareback riding as well. The Calgary Stampede’s Tootsie Roll carried Tanner Aus to an 84 point ride and 4th place in the round while Kesler Rodeo’s Starburst was the mount for Jake Brown’s 84 point 5/6 split.

The all Canadian team roping duo of Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler kept their streak of qualified runs going with a 9.3 to finish just out of the money but maintain their hold on second place in the average. Lady luck continued to plague the third Canadian team roper, Kolton Schmidt, and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll as the team is still without a cheque to date.

The $416,000 won by Canadian competitors at the 2016 WNFR has made this finals the most lucrative for Canadian contestants in the history of the event.

In the bull riding, Outlaw Buckers’ Chip Shot carried Rexburg, Idaho’s Garrett Smith to 82 points, just outside of the money in a round that saw Minnesota’s Brennon Eldred ride Championship Pro Rodeo’s The Duke to a 90.5 score for the win.

There was a three-way split for first in the steer wrestling between Billy Bugenig, Riley Duvall and Tyler Waguespack – all with 3.6 second runs. Two time Canadian Champion Tyson Durfey was the quickest of the tie-down ropers with a 7.4. And in the barrel racing, Utah cowgirl Kimmie Wall ran the fastest time of the finals to date – a 13.46 – for her second round win this week.

Show Me the Money

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

Canada Night doesn’t happen until Thursday at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But apparently the Canadian contingent of WNFR qualifiers either didn’t get the memo or they just plain couldn’t wait.

The first all Canadian team roping team hasn’t just showed up at this Finals, they have been a factor in every round, including a win in round one. Tonight the Alberta twosome, Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and Arrowwood heeler, Jeremy Buhler, had their fastest run to date, a 4.0 to split the round with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, each of the four men pocketing $23,480. Simpson and Buhler remain in 2nd place in the average and have moved to 7th and 6th respectively in the world standings.

“We just missed the WNFR field last year,” Simpson commented. “This year, we worked harder at it, put in more practice time and prepared mentally for every situation in the arena.”

That preparation served the Alberta duo well in Round 5. “Like Levi, I don’t get caught up in the show,” Buhler, the man sporting the most famous beard at this NFR added. “I don’t hear the music, I just keep it simple and watch the feet.”

It took Jake Vold 14 WNFR rounds to win his first go round buckle. It took him one to win his second. Twenty four hours after winning round four with a sensational 89.5, the Airdrie (via Ponoka) three time Canadian champion came back with a spectacular 89 score on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Wilson Sanchez. The back to back wins have propelled Vold to 4th place in the average and fifth in the world.

Before the twenty-nine year-old talent nodded his head tonight, there were already three scores of 86 points or higher on the board. No problem for Jake Vold.

“I want someone to jump out there with a 90 so I can go get them,” he confided. “Seeing big rides before me fuels my fire.”

The Calgary Stampede bucking sensation Xplosive Skies lived up to his name as he pitched Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen to the Thomas and Mack turf before the eight second klaxon en route to winning the Rank Horse of the Night Award.

And not to be outdone, the three Canadian bronc riders brought their A (Eh!) game with Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott grabbing a 3/4 split – courtesy of his 86.5 ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Son of Sadie. And right behind his countryman was the Hudson Hope, British Columbia man, Jake Watson who took home a 6th place cheque with his 85 score on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat. Watson has quietly fashioned a solid Finals to date after qualifying in fifteenth spot. He is now five for five and has climbed to third in the average.

The third Canadian bronc rider, recent bridegroom Zeke Thurston was 81 points on the appropriately named Maple Leaf of Frontier Rodeo. The Big Valley cowboy was just out of the money in Round 5. Reigning World Champion, Jacobs Crawley, from Boerne, Texas, bounced back from a Round 4 buck-off to mark a spectacular 89 on Frontier Rodeo’s four time world champion, Medicine Woman. The Monday night go-round also marked the end of 18 year old Ryder Wright’s record-tying run. After four consecutive go-round wins, the Milford, Utah cowboy bucked off Flying 5 Rodeo’s Spring Planting.

Minnesota bull dogger JD Struxness continued his hot streak with a 3.5 second run. Over the last three days, Struxness has two go-round wins and a 1-2 split. In the barrel racing, go-round winner was Keizer, Oregon cowgirl Amberleigh Moore with a 13.62 second run. And in the bull riding, Scottie Knapp of Albuquerque, New Mexico made his first ride of the 2016 WNFR a profitable one. His 87 on Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Breaking Bad was good for the go round win.

About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – in early November each year in Edmonton, Alberta at Northlands Coliseum. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.

Oh Canada

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

The grin said it all.

As Jake Vold made the first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo victory lap of his career, the three time Canadian champion’s grin lit up the Thomas and Mack Arena. And why not—his 89.5 score on the back of Flying U Rodeo’s Lil Red Hawk was the highest marked ride to date in the bareback riding and netted the Airdrie cowboy a cool first place cheque for $26,230 to raise his total WNFR earnings to $48,782 and jump him to fifth place in the average.

But Vold made it clear that it’s the go-round buckle that is the icing on the cake. “I was close a couple of times the last time I was here but didn’t quite get there,” Vold admitted.

“I saw some of the guys this week with their buckles and I thought to myself, I want one of those,” the 29-year-old superstar added. “Canada will be pretty excited about this. It’ll be quite the night over there.” (At the nightly buckle presentation at the South Point Casino).

Inglis, Manitoba’s Orin Larsen had his best result to date, posting an 83 on J Bar J’s Pass the Hat to finish just one half point out of the bareback riding money.

On the best night so far for ‘TeamCanada’, a pair of saddle bronc riders enjoyed a lucrative round four as well. Jake Watson of Hudson Hope, British Columbia put together a solid 84-point effort on the Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles to split 3/4 and collect $13,326 on the night. Right behind  Watson was Zeke Thurston whose 83.5 on United Pro Rodeo’s Ropin Dreams netted the Big Valley cowboy a 5/6 split and $5,500. The third Canadian bronc rider fared less well. Canadian champion, Clay Elliott was unable to navigate eight successful seconds on the back of United Pro Rodeo’s Pow Wow Nights.

The dream sequence that has been the Ryder Wright story of the WNFR continued as the 18 year-old became just the second rough stock cowboy in the history of the event to win four consecutive rounds outright. (The other was two time world champion Robert Etbauer in 1991). In round four, the amazing teenager who is riding here with his brother, his dad, and three uncles (qualifier CoBurn Bradshaw married into the family in 2013) spurred out an 85.5 points on Flying Five Rodeo’s Sundance.

The Utah teenager, who cam to the Finals in 14th place, is now just a thousand dollars out of the lead for the world and sits comfortably in the lead in the average while season leader and defending champion, Jacobs Crawley, bucked off his round four horse.

Team ropers Levi Simpson of Ponoka and Jeremy Buhler of Arrowwood, AB, kept their solid run going despite catching one leg on the backside to incur their second five second penalty in a row. Tonight, however, saw several teams struggle with six no times and a broken barrier leaving the Alberta duo splitting 6th for a $2,115 payday per man. The ‘go-round from hell’ , while costly for  so many, including Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll, was especially beneficial for Simpson and Buhler as the first all-Canadian team to qualify for the NFR team roping climbed all the way to second place in the cash-rich average. The round was won by the Minor brothers, Riley and Brady Minor of Ellensburg, Washington with a 4.4 second run.

In the steer wrestling, the big man from Appleton, Minnesota, J.D. Struxness, followed up a 1/2 split in the third round with a 3.8 run in round four to win it outright this time around. And in the tie down roping, Marty Yates, the Stephenville, Texas hand was just two tenths of a second off Cody Ohl’s arena record to pocket the big cheque. Yates who qualified for the WNFR in 15th place was 6.8 seconds for the go-round victory. The barrel racing got blazing fast as Michelle McLeod of Whitesboro, Texas smoked a run of 13.49 to post her first go-round win of the 2016 Finals.

Jake Vold wasn’t the only Canadian to collect the go round buckle on this night. The Calgary Stampede’s Wranglers Extreme was top bull of the round as he carried Sulphur, Oklahoma’s Brennon Eldred to 86.5 points and the win. The seven-year-old bull was purchased by the Stampede in the spring from Todd Braithwaite and just three weeks ago carried eventual Canadian Champion, Jordan Hansen to a second place go round result with an 85 score.

The performances of Stampede stock added to an already productive week for the organization’s stock contracting division. Earlier in the week, it was announced that the Stampede had been named the primary stock contractor for Horse Heaven Round Up in Kennewick, Washington.

“We already have a major presence in the Pacific Northwest at that time,” Stampede spokesman Keith Marrington related, “so this fits really well with our program. Kennewick is a very progressive committee; they have $20,000 added and a short round so we’re very excited to become the primary stock contractor there.”

Outlaw Buckers’ Rodeo’s No Good Deed was also outstanding in the round as he bucked off NFR rookie Rory Maier from Timber Lake, South Dakota.

Canadians Impressive in Round 3

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION – LAS VEGAS, NEV (December 3, 2016)

The all-Canadian matchup of three time Canadian champion, Jake Vold and the Big Stone bareback horse Spilled Perfume, netted the Ponoka cowboy 83.5 points for a 4/5 split and $8,884. For Vold, who now lives in Airdrie, it was his second placing in the first three rounds.

“I’ve had that horse before,” Vold commented, “and it’s been kind of a love-hate relationship. But I went back to one of my older riggins tonight and it felt really good. It’s early yet but I’m happy with the way the Finals have gone so far.”

And for the second night in a row, it was a Canadian horse grabbing a share of the spotlight as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil carried Minnesota talent, Tanner Aus to a spectacular 88.5 and a share of first place. Aus shared the winner’s circle with Clayton Biglow, the California-bred PRCA bareback riding Rookie of the Year who so far has split first and second in two rounds and been second in the other for total winnings of over $77,000 and top spot in the average.

The second Canadian bareback rider, Orin Larsen, put together his best effort so far with a 79.5 on Corey and Lange’s Tripwire but finished out of the money.

In the team roping, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler had a five second penalty rob them of another big cheque as their 9.0 (with the penalty) left them out of the money in the round but the Alberta duo sits in third place in the lucrative average race after three performances. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll, continued to struggle and were blanked for the third time in three nights.

Zeke Thurston, the second generation Water Valley, Alberta bronc rider shook off the disappointment of round two’s 7.92 second buckoff and spurred out an 85 point ride on J Bar J’s Julia for a 2/3 split in the round and his first cheque of the finals—a tidy $18,192. Thurston split the round with Rusty Wright but it was the youngest Wright, Ryder, who continued to be the story of this finals as he rode Powder River Rodeo’s Lipstick N Whiskey to 86.5 and his third go-round win in a row. The eighteen year-old’s earnings to date are a whopping  $88.000; he holds a commanding 14 point lead in the average and he’s climbed from 14th place coming in to the WNFR to second place in the world standings, hot on the heels of season leader and reigning world champion, Jacobs Crawley.

It was a split of first place in the steer wrestling as well with Tyler Waguesback and JD Struxness (Louisiana and Minnesota respectively) bulldogging their steers in 3.9 seconds for $23,480 apiece.

Apache, Oklahoma’s Hunter Herrin and Winnie, Texas cowboy Cade Swor split the round in the tie down roping with identical 7.0 second rounds. And four time Canadian champion Lisa Lockhart and the ever-dependable Louie blazed the cloverleaf pattern in 13.92 seconds for her first go round win of this finals.

And in the bull riding, the much anticipated matchup between reigning world champion Sage Kimsey and the Calgary Stampede bull, Night Moves was as advertised. The two time world champion won the confrontation to score 87.5 and finish second in the round. But it was another former World Champion, Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee, Washington who brought the Thomas and Mack faithful to their feet. Proctor matched up with the 2016 Bull of the Year, Midnight Bender, for a spectacular 91 score and the round win. A second Canadian bull, Spotted Demon from the Big Stone Rodeo Company made short work of the Sulphur, Oklahoma hand, Brennon Aldred.

Canadian Stock Lights It Up in Vegas!

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION – LAS VEGAS, NEV – December 2, 2016

After an opening round that saw three events won by first time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers (Pamela Capper in the barrel race, 18 year-old Ryder Wright in the bronc riding and Canadians Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler in team roping)—round two featured a pair of four-legged superstars from the north side of the 49th parallel as the best of the Canadian contingent.

In a sensational round of bronc riding that featured the eliminator pen, the eighteen year-old Utah sensation, Ryder Wright, did it again, this time with an 86 score on the three time Saddle Bronc of the Year in Canada (including 2016), Northcott-Macza’s Get Smart.

“I’d never been on him but I’d seen him with my dad a couple of years ago here,” the youngest of the five Wrights at this WNFR commented. “He tried to buck me off every jump but I managed to sneak by him.”

The back to back wins have moved the teenage talent from 14th place coming into the Finals all the way to 4th place with over $133,000 won.

Eight one hundredths of a second doesn’t seem like a long time but when you’re on the back of the Beutler and Son bronc, Killer Bee, it’s awful close to an eternity. Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston won Tucson in 2015 on the great gelding with 90 points but this time it was the horse’s turn with the stopwatch showing 7.92 seconds when the two time WNFR qualifier hit the ground. It was a happier story for Hudson Hope, BC’s Jake Watson as he posted an 83 on Frontier Rodeo’s Tip Off to take home the fourth place cheque of $11,000. The third Canadian bronc rider, Nanton’s Clay Elliott, who just a few weeks ago claimed his first Canadian bronc riding title, finished out of the money in round two with a 75.5 point ride on Pickett Rodeo’s Faded Memories. And another of the Wright clan, Jake, placed 5th in the round with an 80.5 point ride on the Calgary Stampede’s Tiger Warrior.

And to cap off a great night for Canadian stock contractors, Wayne Vold’s spectacular yellow bull, Cooper’s Comet, carried Roscoe Jarboe of New Plymouth, Idaho to a whopping 88.5 score to top the field in the bull riding. The bull had a great trip and the watch read exactly 8.0 seconds when the Idaho cowboy hit the ground. The 88.5 score is the highest to date at this year’s Finals and a Thomas and Mack packed house roared its approval when the score was announced.

The two Canadian rough stock successes meant that two of the three go-round winner buckles went to Canadian stock contractors.

In the bareback riding, season leader Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa added to his season lead, splitting the round with California cowboy and 2016 Medicine Hat Stampede Champion Clayton Biglow, both recording 85 points. Canadians Jake Vold and Orin Larsen struggled in the round—Vold posting a 69.5 on Frontier Rodeo’s Senora and Larsen managing a 73 score on Beutler and Sons What Happens.

The Canadian team roping pair of Simpson and Buhler added a sixth place cheque to their first round win – posting a 4.9 to pocket $4,230 a man. Second in the round were 2016 defending Canadian Champions, Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza; the $20,732 cheque moved Bird, the Cutbank, Montana header, to #1 in the world All-Around standings.

In the steer wrestling, it was the 2013 PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year Jason Thomas, a Benton, Arkansas bulldogger, smoking a 3.5 second run to capture the round. And Brazilian tie down roper Marcos Costa turned in a 7.6 second run to edge veteran Cade Swor by a tenth of a second for the go-round win.

On a night that featured nine runs under 14 seconds, the fastest of the fast was Utah cowgirl, Kimmie Wall, with a blistering 13.79.