Dramatic Championship Sunday at Red Deer CFR

Scott Guenthner came out on top during CFR 45. Photo Credit: Roughstock Studios.

It came down to one run.

As steer wrestler, Scott Guenthner, backed into the box for his final run of CFR ‘45, he knew what he had to do. Guenthner had already watched some of his closest competitors and travelling partners have varying degrees of success. The Provost, Alberta cowboy didn’t have to win the round but needed to at least place to hold his spot in the aggregate and take home his first Canadian Championship. And that’s exactly what he did.

The five time CFR qualifier posted a 3.6 second run to split second and third in the round for $6480 and held on to fourth place in the average for another $7695. His total season earnings of $69,899 left him comfortably ahead of Aggregate Champion, Stephen Culling.

“It was a little nerve-racking,” Guenthner admitted. “My steer hadn’t come in (to the chute) yet. I could hear the announcers bragging me up and I tried to blank that out but I couldn’t really do it.”

With the crowd roaring around him, the second generation Canadian Champion made the run he needed to make. Guenthner’s week started slowly and he changed things up after the third round.

“I’m riding Tyson, Curtis Cassidy’s Horse; he is the Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. When things weren’t going well early in the week, I decided to go to the best horse in Canada… and it worked.”

While the win is Guenthner’s first, it’s not the first for the family. His Dad, Ken, captured the title 37 years earlier in 1981.

One of the tightest races at this year’s Finals was in the saddle bronc riding where Nanton, Alberta’s Clay Elliott was able to hold off the late charge of 2016 World Champion, Zeke Thurston, for the win. Thurston rode first in the final round and marked a spectacular 87 on Kesler Rodeo’s tremendous stallion, Copper Cat. Elliott then rose to the challenge – but had to ride two horses as a problem in the chute with his first mount resulted in a re-ride. The 2016 Canadian Champion climbed aboard C5 Rodeo’s High Valley, a horse he was familiar with, having ridden the seven year old bay gelding to 87 points to win Edmonton’s K-Days Rodeo back in July. This time, the two combined for 86.25 points, giving Elliott second place in the round as well as second in the aggregate for a $9000 margin of victory over Thurston.

“It was quite an adventure today as I actually had my saddle on three different horses,” Elliott commented. “My first one, Black Hills, got turned around in the chute and was having trouble so the judges offered me a re-ride, a horse called Banshee from Northcott-Macza. He’s a bucking son of a gun but the judges didn’t see it that way today and gave me another re-ride. This one was High Valley from C5 Rodeo; the horse had bucked me off at Ponoka but I rode him for the win at K-Days Rodeo and was excited to have him today.”

Elliott’s second Canadian Championship in three years, including his regular season earnings, netted the 24-year-old $82,294 in total.

The biggest money earner of this Canadian Finals Rodeo was Callahan Crossley of Hermiston, Oregon. Not only did the three time CFR qualifier cruise to the title with four first place finishes and two seconds, she also established two all time monetary records. Riding her 20 year old gelding, Brownie, Crossley won a record-setting $73,575 at the CFR and her season total of $99,190 also goes into the record books.

The 2016 World Champion team ropers, Levi Simpson (on the header side) and heeler, Jeremy Buhler, captured their second Canadian team roping title in a row on Sunday afternoon at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer. The amazing pair placed in all six rounds, including splitting one-two in rounds two and five and sealing the deal with a third place 5.2 second run in the final round. Simpson, from Ponoka, AB, and Buhler (Arrowwood, AB) captured both the aggregate title and the Canadian Championship.

The bareback riding was no less dramatic as Dublin, TX cowboy, Richmond Champion, took home his first Canadian title. The 25 year old two time Calgary Stampede Champion held off long-time travelling partner, Jake Vold and Manitoba bareback rider, Orin Larsen, in claiming the coveted championship buckle. Champion earned $77,448 over the season.

Louisiana roper, Shane Hanchey, edged Carstairs, AB talent, Kyle Lucas, to win his thrid Canadian Championship. Hanchey roped and tied his calf in 7.9 seconds on the last day to finish fourth in the round and first in the aggregate en route to victory. With total season earnings of $65,338, Hanchey slipped by Lucas by just $1700 for the win.

Bull rider, Wacey Finkbeiner, survived a final round buck-off to win his first Canadian Bull Riding Championship. The Ponoka, AB hand had gone an impressive five for five prior to Sunday and that run, which included two first place cheques and the aggregate title, gave him the winning season total of $73,729 – and a $14,000 cushion over runner-up Cody Coverchuk of Meadow Lake, Sask.

Rounding out the roster of winners at CFR ‘45 were first time High Point Champion, Riley Warren, who edged hard-luck cowboy, Kyle Lucas, by less than $1300 and All Around Champion, Jacob Gardner (Dawson Creek, BC) who placed in two rounds to claim the buckle.

The novice champions for 2018 were Mason Helmiczi from Sundre, AB in the bareback riding and Wildwood, Alberta’s Cooper Thatcher in the novice saddle bronc riding. The steer ridng title went to 14 year old Tristen Manning from Yellowhead County, AB.

CFR stock award winners were C5 Rodeo’s amazing bareback horse, F13 Virgil, who had already claimed back-to-back World and Canadian Championships; Northcott-Macza’s four time Canadian Champion saddle bronc horse, 242 Get Smart, and Vold Rodeo’s bull, 621 Wicked Dreams.

Rodeo athletes and fans big farewell to the winningest bull rider in Canadian rodeo history as Scott Schiffner made his final ride on Sunday afternoon. The Strathmore cowboy announced in July that this would be his last season before stepping into retirement. He leaves the sport as a two time Canadian Champion, two time Calgary Stampede Champion and 18 time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier – a record among bull riders.

CFR ‘45 at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta was a huge success with sold out performances, first class production and tremendous community support. 1.65 million was paid out to contestants over the course of the six day event.

For complete results, see rodeocanada.com

Red Deer is the Proud New Home to the Canadian Finals Rodeo 

Article courtesy of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association

The Centrium at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta will be the new home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

January 16 | Red Deer, AB — Tonight, hundreds of people turned out in anticipation to hear the major announcement that sparked huge social media attention when the invitation was sent out this past Friday. 

The room was filled with excitement from beginning to end with video presentations, flashing lights, live music and fireworks that went off in celebration to announce the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) is coming to Red Deer.

“We feel honoured that the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) has chosen Red Deer to be the new home for CFR,” says Ben Antifaiff, CEO and General Manager at Westerner Park. “Together as a community, we should be very proud of this moment and celebrate that the CFR will continue its legacy right here in Central Alberta.”

Westerner Park and Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce began working on their vision for a multi-year proposal to the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association several months ago and pitched their bid by hosting an event to showcase Red Deer as a strong contender.

“Our city and our region has been buzzing with excitement since we went public with our proposal to host the CFR,” says Robin Bobocel, CEO of Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce. “We are a vibrant community that can accomplish anything it sets its sights on, and with the help of our partners in the community, and the CPRA, we will make CFR 2018 a huge success.”

Canadian Professional Rodeo Association went on stage following the big reveal that Westerner Park and the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce were successful in their efforts to bring the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) to Red Deer.

President of the CPRA, Terry Cooke, echoed the excitement expressed by the Red Deer group. “We see this as a wonderful new opportunity for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association, our contestants, sponsors, partners and fans,” Cooke said. “Central Alberta has long been known as a hub of rodeo talent and community support for our sport. The combination of great rodeo fans in this region, coupled with the influx of visitors that make the CFR an annual destination, point to a tremendous future for the CFR in Red Deer.“

“The CPRA Board would like to thank all the cities that have expressed interest in the Canadian Finals Rodeo,” noted Jeff Robson, CPRA spokesman. “This process was obviously accelerated with the closing of the Coliseum in Edmonton one year sooner than expected. The moving of an event of this magnitude and heritage that has only had one home certainly wasn’t taken lightly. We looked at a number of factors in selecting Red Deer as our new host city. Their excitement for the event and facilities to not only host the rodeo, but to host various other activities during the week will continue to support the economic impact that CFR brings to the host community. We would like to thank Westerner Park and the Red Deer Chamber of Commerce for all their work on this bid and look forward to working with them on the event.”

Brett Gardiner was the emcee for the evening event and closed off the celebration by thanking everyone in attendance as “your presence here is a testament to the passion for rodeo that we have in Central Alberta.”

The countdown for CFR 45 taking place on Oct 30 to Nov 4, 2018 in the ENMAX Centrium at Westerner Park starts now!

Red Deer, where champions are made and legends continue.

– 30 –

Westerner Park is Central Alberta’s largest tradeshow, agricultural, sports, entertainment and convention facility. A not-for-profit organization supported by 50 full-time staff and 150 full-time volunteers, Westerner Park generates $150 million annually in economic activity hosting over 1,500 events and 1.5 million visitors each year. 

With more than 800 business members, the Red Deer & District Chamber of Commerce is a collaborative leader that fosters an environment where businesses can lead, be innovative, sustainable and grow. 

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. The organization holds the Grass Roots Final (at the Agrium Western Event Centre, Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta) each September and their premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – in Red Deer, Alberta in late fall. Follow the CPRA on Twitter and Instagram @prorodeocanada, ‘Like’ Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook or online at RodeoCanada.com.

Canadian Eh? 2017 Ladies of Canadian Pro Rodeo Fashion Show & Luncheon

This year the Ladies of Canadian Professional Rodeo celebrated Canada’s 150th Anniversary.

Each year during the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, Alberta the Ladies of Canadian Professional Rodeo hosts a Luncheon & Fashion Show fundraiser. This year WHR was on hand at the event to witness all the fun and fashion that was had at the Canadian Eh? 2017 Ladies of Canadian Pro rodeo Fashion Show & Luncheon.

The luncheon & fashion show, a long time stand-out on the Canadian rodeo social scene, has generated over $291,000 to charitable causes. The funds raised by the event are distributed to the Cowboy Benefit Fund and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team (CPRSMT). The Cowboy Benefit Fund was established to provide emergency funding for Canadian Pro Rodeo Association members who are injured or placed in hardship due to injury. The fund relies on donations by rodeo fans, businesses and groups to maintain its resources. The CPRSMT plays an important role in and out of the rodeo arena, with their help rodeo athletes maintain a level of health in order to be better prepared to compete, reduce the effects of injuries and add longevity to their rodeo careers.

The event doubled as Miss Rodeo Canada 2017, Ali Mullin’s, final runway walk. Photo Credit: Classic Rodeo Boutique

Dr. Blaine Bugg, manager of the CPRSMT was on hand at the event, and took to the stage to commend the Ladies of Canadian Pro Rodeo for all the hard work they put into the luncheon and fashion show, and thanked them for their support. Another poignant moment came when Jim Nevada, of Roper Apparel and Footwear, took to the stage to introduce a memorial song to all the cowboys that were lost in 2017. With collaboration from Stacy Roper, Norm Swen and Don Johansen, and performed by Stacy Roper, Gord Bamford, and Duane Steele, the song was a beautiful tribute to the rodeo community. The luncheon serves many purposes, aside from raising money for great causes, it brings together the rodeo community for an afternoon of fun and fashion. There were lots of laughs around the room, and even more glitter and bling from the visiting rodeo queens from around Canada, and the world, including Miss Rodeo Australia, and Miss Rodeo Warwick.

Former Miss Rodeo Sundre, Kyla Williams, was in the running for Miss Rodeo Canada, and showed off a beautiful gown for her final walk. Photo Credit: Classic Rodeo Boutique.

Western fashion, with a Canadian twist, was the focus of the fashion show, with clothing provided by Roper and Wrangler through Lammles Western Wear and Tack. Audi Roy, of Classic Rodeo Boutique, was on hand to style and accessorize the outfits. The fashion show also shone a spotlight on the Miss Rodeo Canada pageant contestants who were vying for a chance to be crowned Miss Rodeo Canada 2018. Each of the five spectacular young women walked the stage in different fashions, while being evaluated for the final judged portion of pageant week before the crowning at the rodeo later in the evening. Despite what could be a nerve-wracking situation, all of the ladies were poised and beautiful as they made their way down the runway. Of course, Miss Rodeo Canada 2017, Ali Mullin, stole the show, as she sauntered down the runway for her final walk as Miss Rodeo Canada.

Former Miss Rodeo Medicine Hat, Brittney Chomistek, rocked fashion from Lammles Western Wear. Chomistek was crowned Miss Rodeo Canada 2018 later that evening at the CFR. Photo Credit: Classic Rodeo Boutique.

Overall the luncheon and fashion show was a massive success. Live music, entertainment and a delicious lunch was topped off with a fun fashion show, all while raising money for amazing causes within the rodeo community. If you have plans to head to CFR next year, make sure to put the Ladies of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Luncheon and Fashion show on your “to-do” last night, it’s a lot of fun – and for a great cause. What’s better than that?!

Former Calgary Stampede Princess, Lizzie Ryman, got a chance to catch up with the freshly crowned 2018 Calgary Stampede Royal Trio.

2017 Canadian Champions Declared

Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Champions of CFR 44. Photo Credit: Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Edmonton, ALTA – November 12, 2017

It was simply a case of unfinished business. For Canadian team ropers Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler, CFR44 offered the opportunity to fulfill a dream that had been left incomplete up to now. While Ponoka, Alberta header, Simpson, had a Canadian championship to his credit, to go along with his 2016 World Champion buckle, heeling partner, Jeremy Buhler, was still looking for his first Canadian title. Despite a slow start to their CFR (they had two no times in the first three rounds), the duo blazed their way through Super Saturday with back to back 4.1 second go-round winning runs and added a 4.2 second run on Championship Sunday to emerge as victors.

“It was very exciting to follow up a ‘dream come true season winning the world’ to come back up here, finally have a good year to come in here number one then outlast everyone until the end and stay number one.”

Simpson and Buhler, who also finished fifth in the average, ended the season with $59,006 each for a comfortable margin over second place finishers Justin and Brett McCarroll.

Layton Green erupts from a chute on the final day of CFR 44. Photo Credit: Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Another season leader who was able to win a Canadian title was saddle bronc rider Layton Green of Meeting Creek, Alberta. Green saw second place man – and reigning world champion – Zeke Thurston, make up considerable ground on this lead over the first three rounds. But the 23 year old Green turned things around for the last three rounds of CFR44 and restored his comfortable edge. What was an amazing year for the second generation cowboy ended with Green establishing a new saddle bronc season earnings record. He wrapped up the year with $107,363 to move past eight time Canadian Champion Rod Hay who had previously held the record at $101,646 (set in 2005).

“It’s pretty special; it’s something I’ve dreamed of as long as I can remember,” Green said. “I always wanted to ride broncs and wanted to be a Canadian champion. It’s a dream come true. And to walk out in the arena with one of your best friends (Thurston) and know that either you or him is going to be Canadian champion is something I’ll never forget.”

For the first time since 2009, a Canadian reigns supreme in the tie down roping event. Nanton, Alberta cowboy, Logan Bird edged fellow Canadian, Riley Warren, by less than $1000 for the win. Bird had to overcome a broken barrier in the last round, and capitalized on the struggles of several in the field of 12 (including the defending world champion Tyson Durfey and the last Canadian to win it, Alwin Bouchard) to capture the title.

“When you come to the CFR, you’re not just roping against anybody,” Bird stated. “You’ve got to be on your game because these are the best in the world.”

The 23 year old’s success is due, in large measure, to two things: his encyclopedic knowledge of the calves and his 13 year old gray gelding, TJ, the 2016 tie down roping horse of the year. “I wouldn’t be here without TJ. He helps me out so much. In my opinion, he’s probably the best horse in Canada, and close to the best horse in the world.”

Carman Pozzobon clinches the title of Canadian Barrel Racing Champion. Photo Credit: Canadian Finals Rodeo.

The closest race at this year’s CFR was in the ladies barrel racing where Aldergrove, British Columbia cowgirl, Carman Pozzobon, slipped by Texan, Jaime Hinton, by just $183. Pozzobon, the Canadian season leader, finished up the year with $68,399 and her first gold buckle.

“My main goal (on the final day) was to get around all three barrels; I didn’t care if it was ugly or not,” the gifted horse trainer said. Pozzobon was first out on Championship Sunday and finished fourth in the round with a 14.660 to capture second place in the average en route to the title. The two time CFR qualifier was riding her seven year old mare, Ripp n Lady (Ripp), 2017 Canadian barrel horse of the year.

A trio of American cowboys captured Canadian titles in 2017. Seth Hardwick of Ranchester, Wyoming caught season leader and three time Canadian champion, Jake Vold, in the bareback riding to win the title by a margin of just $850. Hardwick placed in every round and won the average for a total of $74,980.

The steer wrestling honor went to Benton, Arkansas cowboy, Jason Thomas, who – like Harwick – put together six go-round placings and an average win for a total of $59,177 to best second place finisher, Scott Guenthner, by $5000.

Cowboys flock to congratulate Tanner Girletz on an incredible career. Photo Credit: Canadian Finals Rodeo.

And in the bull riding, season leader, Garrett Smith of Rexburg, Idaho, laid claim to his first Canadian championship by riding four of his six bulls and finishing second in the average for an $8000 margin of victory over the second place man, Tanner Girletz. Girletz, the 2006 Canadian champion, was at his ninth Canadian Finals and announced before the start of this year’s CFR that this was his final season as a bull rider.

Ky Marshall in the All Around (second time) and Morgan Grant for the High Point award (3rd time) were repeat winners. Earlier in the week, the youth event champions were crowned. Connor Hamilton of Calgary is the 2017 Novice bareback champion; Dawson Hay (Wildwood, AB) is the novice saddle bronc winner and Luke Ferber of Irricana won his second steer riding title.

Top CFR stock honors went to C5 Rodeo for their bareback horse, Virgil; the Calgary Stampede for saddle bronc, Wild Cherry and the Kesler Rodeo company for their bull, Flight Plan.

In its 44th and final year at Northlands Coliseum, CFR 44 attracted 90,268 fans – a 3.3% increase over last year’s attendance figure.

Find complete results at rodeocanada.com

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. The organization holds the Grass Roots Final (at the Agrium Western Event Centre, Stampede Park in Calgary, Alberta) each September and their premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – in Edmonton in November. Follow the CPRA on Twitter and Instagrm @prorodeocanada, ‘Like’ Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook or online at RodeoCanada.com

Hansen Back on Track

Pickup man taking a breather at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo

Pickup man taking a breather at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo. Photo by Kelsey Simpson

Jordan Hansen was the youngest bullrider to qualify for the Canadian Finals Rodeo last season. Now in his third season on the Pro Rodeo Canada trail, the Okotoks, AB, cowboy is still just 20-years-old, but in the last eight months his goal has definitely changed.

“I don’t want to just qualify (for the CFR),” says Hansen of his expectations in 2014. “I want to go win it.”

After a pair of victories this past weekend in Taber, AB, and Benalto, AB, Hansen is at least back in the hunt for a second straight CFR appearance. The $2,031 he won will unofficially move him to 13th in the new CPRA standings ahead of the injured, Ty Patten of Buck Lake, AB, and just behind 2011 world champion, Shane Proctor, who isn’t likely to enter the required 15 rodeos this season to allow him to compete at the CFR as a non-Canadian.

“My season started really good. I was in the top ten until Hand Hills and then I hit a slump,” explains Hansen. “I watched some videos and saw I wasn’t focused and kept looking at the ground. But I finally pulled my head out of my butt in the last month and I’m focused on staying focused.”

In fact, since June 1st, Hansen hadn’t won a dime until rolling into Benalto on July 5th and posting an 87-point ride on a Bar-C5 bull called Sugar Bear.

“Tanner Girletz had him in Maple Creek (last year) and he was good. He bucks a lot like (Big Stone Rodeo’s) Pop Evil.”

Rookie bareback rider, Cole Goodine of Carbon, AB, has now won cheques at five of his last six rodeos. Goodine went to the pay window at all three weekend stops in Taber, Benalto and Coronation, AB. The cheques totaled $1,246 compared with the $9,550 the semi-pro superstar won in Ponoka, AB, and Airdrie, AB, the weekend before.

Stettler, AB, roper, Riley Warren also collected three cheques. The 24-year-old split 1st in Benalto and split 2nd in Taber in the tie-down roping and grabbed a 3rd place cheque in the team roping in Taber for a $2,856 weekend.

A pair of CPRA cowboys competing at the Calgary Stampede took time out to cash in at the smaller pro rodeo stops. Donalda, AB, steer wrestler, Curtis Cassidy, who competed in the tie-down roping in Calgary on Saturday afternoon and then made the three hour trip to Taber, won the top money there ($1,249) with a 4.0-second run while Pincher Creek, AB, bronc rider, Dustin Flundra was 83.5-points on Frank Wyzykoski’s Ink Spot in Benalto to take home the first place cheque worth $1,147.

Other top winners from the weekend included steer wrestler, Scott Guenthner ($1,656); saddle bronc rider, Jim Berry ($1,253); team ropers, Kolton Schmidt and Rocky Dallyn ($1,201 each); barrel racer, Kerilee Noval ($1,250) and novice saddle bronc rider, Keenan Reinhardt ($749).

Next on the CPRA schedule are the Teepee Creek Stampede (July 11-13) and the Peace River Pro Rodeo (July 12-13).