Heading into the May long weekend, steer wrestler, Justin Miller hadn’t won a dime on the Canadian pro rodeo trail. But a new mount has turned a cold start to the 2014 season into a sizzling, hot June, which has the Manitoba cowboy barking at the heels of the bulldogging standings leader.
“I bought him in Arizona this winter,” says Miller of his new horse, Grumpy. “He’s got a little grumpy personality for sure. He was kind of a runaway head horse.”
The nine-year-old bay packed Miller to the pay window at all three CPRA rodeos this past weekend in Rocky Mountain House, AB, Brooks, AB, and at Lea Park, north of Marwayne, AB. His fastest time of the weekend was posted at the Rocky Pro Rodeo on Saturday, where a 4.2-second run was good for a split of the first place money.
“I wasn’t expecting that steer to be that slow. It wasn’t the prettiest run but I hustled through it.”
A day later, the seven-time Manitoba high school rodeo champ (two all around, two tie-down and three steer wrestling titles) split first at the 60th annual Lea Park Pro Rodeo with a 4.6-second run. His weekend haul totaled $5,932, enough to unofficially move the 25 year-old into second spot in the new Pro Rodeo Canada standings with $8,325 in earnings.
Utah team roper, Rhen Richard and North Dakota’s Britany Diaz were the only other competitors to cash cheques from all three CPRA stops. Richard’s biggest payday came from the Kinsmen Pro Rodeo in Brooks where he partnered with Jeremy Buhler to win the team roping with a 5.2-second run to earn $1,330 of his weekend total ($3,677). Diaz won $1,914, which included a third place cheque from Rocky Mountain House worth $1,241.
Seven-time Canadian Hi-Point champion, Curtis Cassidy has officially entered that race again. The 35 year-old, 17-time CFR qualifier grabbed his third tie-down roping cheque of the season in Brooks where his 7.9-second run was good for second spot behind Texan, Cory Solomon. Cassidy also split first in the steer wrestling in Rocky Mountain House for a $4,131 weekend.
Nancy Csabay’s lead atop the Canadian barrel racing standings doesn’t appear to be in jeopardy this week after she placed second at Lea Park to win $2,061. Csabay and her ten-year-old mare, Wickedhave now won over eight thousand dollars so far this season.
“She’s just working well and I’m just kind of going with the flow. As long as I can stay on and in the center of her, she does all the work.”
Shelly Anzick of Livingston, MT, won the barrel racing at both Lea Park and Rocky Mountain House to earn $4,162, enough to vault the WNFR qualifier into the top ten in the Canadian standings.
Other big winners from the weekend included tie-down ropers, Randall Carlisle ($3,622) and Clint Arave ($3,107); bull rider, Ty Pozzobon ($3,288); saddle bronc rider, Rylan Geiger ($3,200); bareback rider, Clint Laye ($2,528); steer wrestler, Zane Hankel ($2,726) and team roper, Jeremy Buhler ($2,183).
Next on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the 54th annual Daines Ranch Rodeo, north of Innisfail, AB (June 13-15).