Morgan Grant – Hot in Stretch Drive

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Photo courtesy of Mike Copeman

Photo courtesy of Mike Copeman

Just five weeks ago, Morgan Grant was considering his Plan ‘B.’ Now, with just eight rodeos left on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule, his plans for qualifying for the Canadian Finals Rodeo have taken a decidedly different direction.

“I’m now in the fight in both event to make the CFR,” concluded Grant, who has won $11,499 in both the steer wrestling and tie-down roping since July 17. “This is where your metal is tested.”

The 26-year-old Ontario native continued his hot streak this past weekend with a win in the bulldogging at the Jasper Heritage Rodeo in Jasper, AB, and a second-place finish at the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo in Cranbrook, B.C. His cheques equaled $3,041.

“I got an awesome start and Tanner (Milan) gave me a great haze,” began Grant in describing his 3.7-second run in Jasper last Wednesday night, “In Cranbrook, I knew I had to give my steer a big chance. I saw about six inches then knocked the barrier out and Baillie (Milan) gave me a great haze and the steer was really good on the ground.”

That 4.0-second run on Saturday earned the 2013 Pro Rodeo Canada High Point champion $1,319, enough to boost his 2015 steer wrestling earnings to $11,650 and put the four-time CFR qualifier unofficially in 12th spot in the new Pro Rodeo Canada bulldogging standings.

“That’s the beauty of doing the two events,” contended Grant, who won $2,246 in the roping the weekend before at the Dawson Creek, B.C., Stampede. “You always seem to do well in one of them.”

“I should also have enough won now in the steer wrestling to make the Pro Rodeo Canada Series Final (Oct. 2-3 in Calgary) but I need to win some more in the tie-down roping. You’re hoping to have the CFR made by then, but it’s a good plan ‘B.’”

Drayton Valley, AB, permit holder Joe Guze is also making a dramatic climb up the steer wrestling standings. The 2014 Wildrose Rodeo Association champion won $2,268 over the weekend with a 4.2-second run in Cranbrook to split third and a 4.1-second trip at the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo in Pincher Creek, AB, to win third. Guze’s won $4,556 in the past two weeks.

Reigning Pro Rodeo Canada All-Around champion Ky Marshall took a big step towards qualifying for a shot at a second straight title. Marshall won his second tie-down roping cheque with an 8.4-second run in Jasper. Marshall, who’s won $18,060 in the bareback riding so far this season, hasn’t placed in the roping since April in Dawson Creek and now needs one more cheque to join Josh Harden of Big Valley, AB, in the all-around race.

Other notable money winners from the weekend included tie-down ropers Matt Shiozawa ($2,418) and Lee Rombough ($1,622); team ropers Rocky Dallyn and Kyle Smith ($1,464 each); bullriders Dakota Buttar ($2,283) and Jared Parsonage ($2,131); saddle bronc riders Wade Sundell ($2,954) and Sam Kelts ($1,969); barrel racers Nancy Csabay ($1,997) and Gaylene Buff ($1,510); bareback rider Cole Goodine ($1,348) and novice saddle bronc rider Keenan Reinhardt ($698).

Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is Lethbridge Whoop Up Days in Lethbridge, AB (Aug. 20-22).

Vold Rolling Again

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Photo courtesy of Jeremy Wombald, JKW Photo.

 

If you’re Canadian bareback champion Jake Vold, how do you top last season? Well, how about by winning more already this season than you did during the entire 2014 season leading up to the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

“I was so lucky last year and drew so good everywhere pretty much all year,” recalled Vold of his championship season. “I had a slower start this spring and I knew better than to even be thinking that I could do the same thing. But I went home and got some things worked out and it started to come around.”

The 28-year-old’s unofficial 2015 Pro Rodeo Canada earnings now sit at $40,371 after a $3,329 weekend, which included a first-place cheque from the Field of Dreams Stampede in LaCrete, AB, for an 86-point ride on Outlaw Buckers’ Hair Trigger and a second-place finish at the Wrangler Canadian Professional Rodeo Tour stop in Dawson Creek, B.C.

“Rodeo’s a roller coaster ride,” offered the 2007 Canadian novice bareback champion, who had only won just over $4,200 by mid-June. “Last year was the dream year that I had been waiting for and it finally came. And I wanted to repeat it so it was getting hard to keep a positive outlook.”

But, in fact, it’s been the Airdrie, AB, cowboy’s ability to stay positive that has helped him win over $36,000 since June 14.

“I’ve got my eyes on the prize again,” concluded Vold, who is not only number one in the Pro Rodeo Canada bareback standings but sits just outside the top 15 in the world standings. “I’m just hoping to finish strong. We’ll just have to see how things go from now to the end of the year.”

South Dakota saddle bronc rider Troy Crowser knows all too well about the rodeo roller coaster. The 27-year-old missed qualifying for last year’s Wrangler National Finals Rodeo by a mere $152. This season, he’s currently on the outside looking in when it comes to a CFR berth.

“I’m sitting just out of it,” declared Crowser when analyzing his position in the Pro Rodeo Canada bronc riding standings. “I really needed this and I need a few more, too.”

Crowser topped the bronc riding at the Dawson Creek Stampede with an 87.5-point ride on Kesler Championship Rodeo’s big bay stallion, Spanish Pair, to win $2,617. That, coupled with a win in late July in High Prairie, AB, has boosted Crowser’s earnings over the $10,000 mark.

Other top money winners this past week included steer wrestlers Cody Cassidy ($2,563), Lochlan O’Neill ($2,497), Stephen Culling ($2,496) and JD Hays ($2,235); barrel racer Nicole Pana ($2,453); bareback riders Dusty LaValley ($2,414) and Kevin Langevin ($1,877); bull rider Dakota Buttar ($2,346); tie-down roper Dean Edge ($1,596); team ropers Kolton Schmidt and Dustin Searcy ($1,757 each); all-around competitor Josh Harden ($1,800 SB, $176 SW); novice bareback rider Wyatt Gleason ($1,513) and novice saddle bronc rider Ricky Warren ($1,575).

Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule are the Jasper Heritage Rodeo in Jasper, AB (Aug. 12-15), the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo in Cranbrook, B.C. (Aug. 14-16) and the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo in Pincher Creek, AB (Aug. 14-16).

Meet Mr. August

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“(Hall of Fame writer) Dwayne Erickson gave me that name,” recalled Erik Dublanko shortly after capturing the Strathmore Stampede tie-down roping championship on Monday afternoon. “In one of the last articles he wrote before he passed away, he related me to Reggie Jackson. Those are pretty big shoes to fill.”

But Dublanko is doing his best to live up to the moniker, coined from Jackson’s “Mr. October” nickname given to the New York Yankee’s baseball star for his prowess to deliver big hits during his many World Series appearances. In fact, since 20111, when he first qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the Thorsby, AB, roper has won close to $19,000 during the month of August.

“I only need to win another four or five thousand (to make the CFR) and I have six weeks to do it,” calculated the 27-year-old, who jumped from 49th to near the top 20 of the unofficial Pro Rodeo Canada standing with the win in Strathmore, AB. “It’s a good time to get hot. I think it’s easier to come from behind than hold guys off. It’s better to be on the offence than defence.”

Dublanko won the first round in Strathmore with an 8-second run and tied his calf in 9.2 seconds in the final round to win the aggregate title with a two-head time of 17.2 seconds.

“When you come back with a lead, you know you don’t have to blast out (of the box),” offered the eight-year Pro Rodeo Canada veteran. “But it’s never easy. Sometimes when all you have to do is tie them down, that can be the hardest thing to do.”

A small 8th place cheque from the North Peace Stampede in Grimshaw, AB, helped push Dublanko’s long weekend earnings to $5,999, leaving the three-time CFR qualifier with just over eight thousand dollars in 2015 season earnings.

Just as you can bank on Dublanko winning in August, you can also bet on bareback rider, Caleb Bennett riding Wayne Vold’s True Grit for a big cheque.

“I’ve been on her probably six times and I’ve never been less than 85 points,” revealed the Utah cowboy who posted a 91.25-point score on the 2013 Pro Rodeo Canada Bareback Horse of the Year during the final round in Strathmore. “I’ve been 90 on her before so I knew I had an opportunity to take this home.”

“The first year she cracked out was my first year at the Calgary Stampede and I was 90 on her in the ten round. I helped boost her career and she helped boost mine.”

Bennett, who won $5,658 for his efforts, wasn’t the only rider in the 90s during the Strathmore shortgo. Manitoba’s Orin Larsen was 90.75-points on Vold’s other superstar, Mucho Dinero. He won $3,325.

The new partnership between 22-year-old header Clay Ullery and 35-year-old heeler Kevin Schreiner is paying early dividends. The pair won the Elks Pro Rodeo in High Prairie, AB, placed 2nd at the Mighty Fraser Rodeo in Abbotsford, B.C. and topped the aggregate standings in Strathmore.

“Three weeks ago we decided to hook up and we’ve been winning ever since,” offered Schreiner, who was mired in 29th spot in the Pro Rodeo Canada heeling standings before he and Ullery each won $6,041 this past week. “I really need this. It should put me in the top ten now.”

Other top money winners included bareback riders, Ky Marshall ($5,141), Jake Vold ($4,433) and Ty Taypotat ($3,778); steer wrestler, Travis Reay ($6,463); barrel racers, Taylor Jacob ($6,808); Kendra Edey ($5,526) and Deb Guelly ($3,914); saddle bronc rider, Cody DeMoss ($5,424); bullriders, Jordan Hansen ($6,304) and Beau Hill ($5,805); ropers, Steele DePaoli ($1,780 TDR, $2,064 TR) and Riley Warren ($3,950 TDR, $1,219 TR); All-Around contender, Josh Harden ($3,747 SB, $3,425 SW); novice bareback rider, Wyatt Maines ($1,835) and novice saddle bronc riders, Lane Cust ($1,784) and Keenan Reinhardt ($1,717).

Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the Field of Dreams Stampede in LaCrete, AB (Aug. 4-5) and the Dawson Creek Stampede in Dawson Creek, B.C. (Aug. 7-9).

 

 

Marshall Tops Inaugural Hometown Event

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For the first time, Pro Rodeo Canada bareback riders were in the spotlight this past weekend. While there are a handful of bullriding-only events and the annual Wildwood Bronc Bustin’ for saddle bronc riders on the yearly schedule, bareback competitors have never before enjoyed a night for themselves until now. And the organizers of the event in Bowden, AB, last Saturday night couldn’t have written a better script.

“It was an amazing feeling when they crowned me champion,” offered Ky Marshall, who won the event in his hometown with an 87.5-point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Fabio in the final round. “There were lots of local people there that I knew. The crowd was pretty wild. It was a good, fun night.”

Marshall, who split the first round with four-time Canadian champion, Dusty LaValley with an 83point score, won $4,270 on the night. He also added another $1,143 from the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo in Bonnyville, AB, and the 102nd annual Bruce Stampede in Bruce, AB.

“I only had about sixty-four hundred won before this,” revealed the 23-year-old, reigning Canadian All-Around champion, “This could be a big turning point for me for the CFR.

“Once you get through the big rodeos like Ponoka, and you don’t have much won, you start scrambling and worrying. But there is still lots of money to be won. Some guys start slowing down now and there aren’t as many Americans coming up, so you can still win a lot.”

Cole Goodine is also hoping his two wins in Bonnyville and Bruce will be a turning point for him. The 25-year-old grabbed cheques worth $2,296 to push his unofficial Pro Rodeo Canada bareback season earnings to nearly 77-hundred dollars.

“Considering how this year’s been a struggle with consistency and injuries, it’s nice to be able to pick up a couple of wins,” said Goodine, shortly after his 81.5-point trip on Franklin Rodeo’s Twenty Three on Sunday afternoon in Bruce. “That was my third time on that horse. At the CFR last year, she threw me over the front, spun me around, pulled me underneath and stomped on me. That was in the back of my mind before I got on today.”

“I’m really fighting to move up in the standings. The cheques are starting to add up. I’m getting closer to the target.”

Tie-down roper, Riley Warren considered himself on the bubble for a CFR berth before winning $4,044 from the Medicine Hat Stampede in Medicine Hat, AB, and the Bruce Stampede.

“This should shoot me right up there in the standings now,” speculated Warren, who was 8.3seconds in Bruce to win the rodeo for the second time in four years. “Seems like you have some rodeos that you always do good at. This is a lucky place for me.”

There was also a pair of bullriding-only events to round out the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule. Ty Pozzobon on Merritt, BC won the Cochrane Classic Bull Riding in Cochrane, AB, as part of his $5,528 weekend while Tim Lipsett was the champion of the White Lightning Dodge Professional Cowboy Crunch in Oyen, AB, part of a $5,554 weekend payday for the Saskatchewan cowboy.

Other top money winners from the weekend included bareback riders, Logan Hodson ($4,084), Matt Lait ($3,986) and Dusty LaValley ($3,199); bullriders Tanner Girletz ($3,866), Jordan Hansen ($3,571) and Zane Lambert ($3,356); saddle bronc riders, Tyrel Larsen ($2,786) and Sam Kelts ($2,612); steer wrestlers, Rowdy Hays ($3,812) and Straws Milan ($2,800); barrel racers, Deb Guelly ($3,478) and Braidy Howes ($2,983); tie-down ropers, Clint Arave ($2,927) and Ryan Jarrett ($2,683) and team ropers, Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler ($2,692 each) and Brett/Justin McCarroll ($1,936 each).

Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo in High Prairie, AB (July 28-29), Bulls for Breakfast in Camrose, AB (July 30-Aug 2), Mighty Fraser Pro Rodeo in Abbotsford, BC (July 31-Aug 2), Strathmore Stampede in Strathmore, AB, the ninth stop on the Wrangler Canadian Professional Rodeo Tour (July 31-Aug 3) and the North Peace Stampede in Grimshaw, AB (Aug 1-2).