Dakota Louis Sweeps Both Rounds to Win PBR Monster Energy Tour in Winnipeg

Courtesy of PBR Canada

Dakota Louis rides Minion Stuart for 87.5 points in the Championship Round. Photo: Covy Moore / CovyMoore.com

Five riders went a perfect 2-for-2, including home province hopeful Zane Lambert, now ranked No.2 in the PBR Canada national standings

WINNIPEG, Manitoba – Sweeping both Round 1 and the short go, Dakota Louis (Browning, Montana) earned his first event win of the season Friday night at the Monster Energy Tour, presented by Mac’s and Circle K event at Bell MTS Place in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

The 25-year-old began the night riding Smash (Skori Bucking Bulls) for 85 points in Round 1, before covering Minion Stuart (Skori Bucking Bulls) for 87.5 points as the last rider in the championship round.

The bovine athlete, who hadn’t been ridden in his last three outs, was recently selected by PBR Livestock Director Cody Lambert as one of the five Canadian bulls that will buck at this year’s PBR World Finals in Las Vegas, Nevada on Nov. 1-5.

The win marked Louis’ first title since June 2016 when he won the Touring Pro Division event in Belt, Montana.

Louis’ perfect 2-for-2 performance earned him 80 world points and $8,222.50.

Notching his second runner-up finish of the year, Lonnie West (Cadogan, Alberta) leaves Manitoba’s capital city $5,922.50 richer, having earned 50 world and 270 Canadian points.

In Round 1 the 21-year-old tied for second after making the 8 aboard Ulterra’s Counter Force (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls) for 84.5 points.

In the short go West logged his high-marked ride of the season, covering Heaven’s Basement (Vold Rodeo/Prescott) for 87.5 points to split the round win with Louis.

West, who began the night No.14 in the Canadian  national standings, rose four positions to No.10 compliments of the finish. He now trails No.1 Brock Radford (De Winton, Alberta) by 1,196.66.

Radford failed to earn any points in Winnipeg, bucking off Milky Chance (Flying Four Bucking Bulls) in Round 1 at the 4.31-second mark.

Zane Lambert (Westbourne, Manitoba) and Cody Casper (Pacific, Washington) tied for third after recording matching scores in both rounds.

The duo opened the night scoring 84.5 points aboard their first round draws. 2013 PBR Canada Champion Lambert became the first rider to cover All Gold Everything (Vold Rodeo/Prescott), while Casper made the 8 aboard Marshals Law (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls).

In the championship round Lambert and Casper both earned scores of 85 points after riding Tykro Liquid Fire (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls) and Finning Mr. Ripley (Flying Four Bucking Bulls) respectively.

Each rider earned $2,875, 25 world and 165 Canadian points.

For Lambert the finish allowed him to surpass Cody Coverchuk (Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan) in the PBR Canada national standings, where he now finds himself ranked No.2, 529.16 behind No.1 Radford, as he looks to earn his second national title.

Coverchuk, much like Radford, also failed to earn any points in Winnipeg after bucking off Double Major (Wild Hoggs Bucking Bulls) in 2.43 seconds in the first round.

Casper also climbed the rankings in the PBR Canada title race, surpassing Jordan Hansen (Okotoks, Alberta) and rising from No.5 to No.4 in the standings. He now trails the top spot by 722.50 points.

Todd Chotowetz (Major, Saskatchewan) rounded out the Top 5, earning $1,656, 15 world and 95 Canadian points.

The Saskatchewan rider was the final athlete to deliver a perfect 2-for-2 performance after covering Brick Wall (Vold Rodeo/Prescott) for 82 points in the first round, and Whiskey Hand (Vold Rodeo/Prescott) for 85.5 points in the short go.

First Buckle (Rafter 8 Bulls) was the high-marked bull of the event, earning a bull score of 44 points after dumping Armando Davila Rodriguez (Saltillo, Mexico) in 1.75 seconds in the championship round.

PBR Canada’s Monster Energy Tour, presented by Mac’s and Circle K next travels to Abbotsford, British Columbia and the Abbotsford Centre on Oct. 14 for the final regular season event of the year. Action gets underway at 7:30 p.m. PT. Tickets are still available at PBRCanada.com or Ticketmaster.ca.

Be sure to stay tuned to PBRCanada.com and follow the tour on Facebook (PBR Canada), Twitter (@PBRCanada), and Instagram (@PBRCanada) for the latest results.

 

Meet CS Princess Lizzie

Princess Lizzie addressing the Grandstand during the Calgary Stampede 2017.

The Calgary Stampede Royalty competition is in full swing for the next royal trio. Western Horse Review sat down with Lizzie Ryman, one of this years Calgary Stampede Princesses, about her experience, her fondest memories, and her sweet “Prince”, Kansas.

1. What have been some of your most memorable experiences, since your reign as Princess began, to date?

I would have to say that my most memorable experiences as a Princess thus far have happened right here at home in Calgary! Although we have been fortunate enough to travel to place such as Las Vegas and Berlin, you definitely don’t have to travel far to find something special. We attend “Happy Trails” once a month, where we visit seniors homes and bring the Calgary Stampede to those who live there. I met an elderly man who was a member of the Calgary Police Service for 45 years. Not only did we get to sit and chat about everything CPS – he also gave me some fantastic advice about how to apply for the police force, something I am very interested in doing in the future. Following this, he asked me to dance. Soon after he told me that his wife had passed 5 years ago, and I was the first person he had danced with since. He was so grateful for the time that I had spent with him at that particular evening’s Happy Trails, and I genuinely did not want to leave when the time came. The most important moments throughout your year as Royalty happen in the most unexpected ways, and I will never forget that evening!

The 2017 Calgary Stampede Royal Trio

2. Can you please tell us about your experience applying to become part of the trio? How did you feel the night you became a princess?

The contest portion for the Calgary Stampede Royalty was actually one of my favourite parts of the year! Throughout the month long competition, I met so many amazing girls that not only had the same interests as me, but helped me along my journey in being crowned as one of the 2017 Calgary Stampede Princesses. The contest entails many events such as public speaking, panel interviews, mix and mingle events, as well as an equestrian portion. Crowning night was one of the most thrilling yet nerve-racking nights of my life, and definitely an experience that I will never forget! I remember driving home after being crowned, walking into the house full of my friends and family – all wearing plastic tiaras with cake to celebrate! I had never felt so much love, support and encouragement.

A younger Lizzie with her beloved grandfather.


3. How has this experience changed your life?

I never could have imagined a more amazing year. Since being crowned one of the 2017 Calgary Stampede Princesses, I have travelled, met some of the most interesting people and made life long friends along the way. Forever will my Stampede family surround me, and although I pass on my crown very shortly, I have so many memories and skills that I have gained throughout this year to take along with me.

 

Lizzie, and her Prince, Kansas.


4. Can you please tell us about your Royal horse?

My Royal horse is named Kansas! He is the sweetest boy and I feel so lucky to ride him throughout the year of my reign. Kansas and Snoopy both came from John Scott as a duo to the Royalty program 7 years ago, and were actually used as stunt doubles for one another in the movie production industry!

Lizzie with one of her horses, Juno.

5. Can you please tell us about some of your best beauty tips/secrets? 

Get as much sleep as possible! Drink plenty of water and take your vitamins. These are the real secrets to feeling fresh and ready for the day!

6. Any favourite outfits?

I would have to say that my favourite outfit would be what we call our “Blue Leathers” made by Janine’s Custom Creations. Simple, yet noticeable and elegant!

Lizzie, running the Canadian Flag, as one of the CS Ranch Girls.

Meet CS Princess Brittany

Calgary Stampede Princess, Brittany Lloyd, in Berlin.


The Calgary Stampede has come and gone, and a new trio will soon be crowned. Western Horse Review sat down with Brittany Lloyd, one of this year’s Calgary Stampede Princesses about her experiences, her beloved Stampede horse, Snoopy, and much more about her exciting life experience as Stampede royalty.

1. What were your favourite parts of the 2017 Calgary Stampede?

Wow! I can’t believe the Calgary Stampede has come and gone. Over the ten days we had the opportunity to attend Paul Brandt’s #NotInMyCity event (thank you, Sal Howell!), visited many of the infield suites and scored a seriously good view for the Alabama concert. But amidst all the madness during the Calgary Stampede, I absolutely loved hopping on my horse, Snoopy, for Grand Entries. I will always remember that quiet moment walking up the alley way towards the arena knowing we would soon be greeted by friends, family and rodeo fans from all over the world!

2. What have been some of your most memorable experiences, since your reign as Princess began, to date?

There are many highlights from the year including the Calgary Stampede, National Finals Rodeo, Canadian Finals Rodeo, Grey Cup and International Tourism Conference in Berlin; one of my favorites, however, was Aggie Days. This is a convention rodeo that is closed to the public, but open to schools in Calgary and the surrounding area for grades three through five to give students the opportunity to learn about rodeo and agriculture sustainability – two things I am very passionate about! I absolutely love doing things in our hometown because there is an overwhelming sense of community spirit and pride. It was our first grand entry and first time I really felt a part of the horse and livestock community at the Calgary Stampede. The children at Aggie Days had the most unbridled enthusiasm for meeting competitors and royalty, which will be an experience I will cherish forever.

The 2017 Calgary Stampede Royalty

 

3. Can you please tell us about your experience applying to become part of the trio? How did you feel the night you became a princess?

I still find it a little surreal! For me, the Calgary Stampede always came before the title “Princess”. As a born and raised Calgarian, it has been a lifelong dream of mine to be a part of the Calgary Stampede organization. The Calgary Stampede to me represents so many key elements – celebration of community, celebration of history, spirited competition, pride in our heritage and true hospitality at its best. What I identify most with about the Calgary Stampede, is what is at the heart of this 10-day exhibition; the animals. Having the privilege to see the wild horses of the Calgary Stampede at the Stampede Ranch, I sincerely believe these animals are integral to Alberta’s history and future. I am so proud of the the Born to Buck breeding program and the Calgary Stampede’s commitment to excellence.

4. How has this experience changed your life?

This past year, I have had to the opportunity to turn strangers into neighbors by helping host people from around the world during the Calgary Stampede, and I have never been more proud to call this city home. Cowboys and cowgirls have defined Calgary’s values, influenced how we do business and inspired generations to come. It has been an incredible opportunity to help foster these traditions and help tell the great story of the Calgary Stampede to the world. While my year as a Princess may be coming to an end, I hope to stay involved in the Stampede in another capacity.

Princess Brittany, with her “Prince”, Snoopy.

5. Can you please tell us about your Royal horse?

I am so grateful to share this experience with the palomino gelding Snoopy. Prior to being owned by the Royalty Program, he was a movie horse and certainly likes to be the star of the show! He can get a little hot, particularly at the end of “Oh Canada” during grand entries, but he is one of the safest, kindest horses I’ve ever ridden. I come from an english riding background, and he has been the perfect horse to transition me from jumper to cowgirl (with a little help from Eamor’s Saddlery and Clay Webster.) I know he will make the next Princess as happy as he has made me!

A future Princess Brittany at the Calgary Stampede

6. What’s a typical day in your life as Princess look like currently?

Aside from the 10 days of Stampede, there is no “typical day” for a Princess! Our schedules are constantly changing and each event brings something new, unexpected and exciting. We attend all types of things from school visits, to rodeos, Calgary Tourism events and charity functions. What makes this program so unique is that we are truly ambassadors for Calgary’s community spirit, our western heritage and cultural values – with a touch of rodeo on the side! I feel most honored to be included in charity events such as the Calgary Stampede Foundation fundraisers, visiting the Ronald McDonald house and having the opportunity to meet people touched and inspired by the Calgary Stampede.

7. Can you please tell us about some of your best beauty tips/secrets?

Before becoming a Princess, I wasn’t very glamorous, so this year has been full of learning in terms of hair and makeup. I think my best tip would be to start with your skin! I’m very disciplined about taking my makeup off before bed and washing my face in the morning. I also think being healthy is so beautiful so I try to stay fit, eat healthy and drink lots of water. My biggest beauty indulgence is eyelash extensions. Leigh Glover of Luv Leigh Lashes does an amazing job of making sure they look natural but also long and full. The trio is also very fortunate to be sponsored by Aria Studios for all our makeup needs.

Princess Brittany waving to rodeo fans, friends and family during her grand entry lap.

8. Any favourite outfits?

It is so hard to pick just one favorite outfit! We probably have close to 50 pieces to mix and match, so I always love when our wardrobe committee gets creative and changes things up. I feel most comfortable when we are in our riding or rodeo attire because its extension of my personality and style. My favourite look would have to be our white Wrangler jeans with our navy blue “fringe” shirt. The top was made by Janine of Janine’s Custom Creations and I absolutely love how they look in grand entries! My most cherished wardrobe item are our custom Alberta Boots that match our Canada 150 leathers. They are so unique and I love anything patriotic! They also have crowns and our initials on them so to me they represent our trio’s place in the legacy of Calgary Stampede Royalty.

9. Anything else you would like to add?

I’m so grateful to share this experience with so many people, but I’d love to say a big thank you to my trio – Princess Lizzie and Queen Meagan – for making this experience so memorable. I’d also love to say thank you to all of my friends and family for their support during this busy year! It has been an honor to represent the Calgary Stampede and a privilege to be a part of be a part of showcasing western hospitality. I’d like to reach out to everybody I’ve had the fortune of crossing paths with this year. May we meet again. Happy trails!

One of Princess Brittany’s favourite parts of the Calgary Stampede was the interactions with all the amazing animals – from rough stock to back in the barns.


Tomorrow is the LAST day to enter the Calgary Stampede Royalty Contest. The Royalty Committee is accepting applications until August, 11, 2017. If you are interested in becoming a member of the 2018 Calgary Stampede Royal Trio, you can find more information at www.csroyalty.com.

That’s a Rodeo Wrap

Three nights, seven events and 21 champions at the inaugural K-Days Rodeo Photo Credit: Northlands

Day three of the K-Days Rodeo wraps up a successful, record-tying weekend at Northlands Coliseum. All athletes, two and four-legged, put on a great show and ensured a few more fans of the sport will return for the Canadian Finals Rodeo this November. Award-winning country artist Corb Lund sang the National Anthem and got the crowd set for a great night of action. It was a memorable start to a night of jam packed, rodeo-action. The final seven athletes titled champions included:

Bareback Riding:
Winner: JR Vezain
Stock: CS D39 Make Up Face

Bull Riding:
Winner: Sage Kimzy
Stock: C5B 1102 Bid Dip

Saddlebronc Riding:
Winner: Zeke Thurston
Stock: NS 242 Get Smart

Team Roping:
Winner: Dustin Bird & Russell Cardoza
Score: 402

Tie-Down Roping:
Winner: Tuf Cooper
Score: 8.1

Steer Wrestling:
Winner: Straws Milan
Score: 2.9

Ladies Barrel Racing:
Winner: Crystal Christman
Score: 14.726

All weekend long these cowboys and cowgirls competed for a piece of the more than $400,000 prize purse and a chance to compete for national titles at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, November 8-12 at Northlands Coliseum. For 138 years, Northlands has taken great pride in showcasing the western way of life. While rodeo comes to the campus for a few days in summer and a week in the fall it is the rich history that drives Northlands to showcase and share with its neighbours and friends. As the inaugural K-Days Rodeo comes to an end the excitement, food, rides, shows and attractions are still in full force on the K-Days grounds until July 30!

Photo Credit: Northlands

 

Photo Credit: Northlands

 

Photo Credit: Northlands

 

Photo Credit: Northlands

101st Teepee Creek Stampede

 

Credit: Nicky Rae Photography

The Teepee Creek Stampede ran this year from July 13-16 in Teepee Creek, Alberta. The rodeo is one of the oldest in Alberta, last year celebrating their centennial, with the first ever TeePee Creek Stampede being held in 1916. For many years the Teepee Creek Stampede was the largest amateur rodeo in the north and one of the largest amateur events in Canada. In 2007, the decision was made to sanction the event as a Canadian Pro Rodeo Association professional rodeo. Teepee Creek Stampede brings some of the very best cowboys and cowgirls in the world to compete in front of massive crowds, in 2015 alone they boasted 15,000 spectators to the event. The committee has also done an excellent job of continuing to embrace the history of the stampede by showcasing local events such as the Wild Cow Milking, Wild Horse Race, and The Rawhide Race, as well as including chuckwagon racing and specialty acts to entertain and thrill the crowds.

This year, the official photographer for the event was Nicky Rae Photography who shared some of her fantastic photos with WHR below. Rae says, “I am honoured to have wrapped up my first year as the official photogpraher of the Teepee Creek Stampede Pro Rodeo. It was a busy 4 days in the wild with mounted shooting, barrel racing, cattle penning, a queen contest, pony (chuckwagons) and World Chuckwagon Association wagons, trick riders, wild horse and pony racers, great concerts and of course the standardly awesome pro rodeo action. Great announces that have rodeo in their soul, and speak it for all of us to hear. I choose carefully the events that I partner with because I pour my heart and soul into every one. When I was asked to photograph this event, I didn’t even need to think about the answer. This event holds so much history it is unbelievable. The best part? The folks that put this event on know how important and rare that is and they cherish it, even feature it. After all, you should do it with passion, or not at all. Congrats to the 2017 committee and competitors for a job well done.”

 

The Teepee Creek Stampede Stagecoach. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography

 

Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography

 

The pony chuckwagons are a fan favourite. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography

 

Future pro rodeo stars, the Little Briches Rodeo contestants. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae photography

 

Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography

 

That’s one way to finish a cold one at the rodeo. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography

 

One of the youngest specialty acts at the Teepee Creek Stampede. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography.

 

Another brave, young, trick rider performs roman riding over fire. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography.

 

Miss Rodeo Canada, Ali Mullin, was in attendance. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography.

 

Mutton Busting is a crowd favourite at the event. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography.

 

Miss Teepee Creek Stampede, Miss Rodeo Canada and the Teepee Creek Stampede Rodeo Committee. Photo Credit: Nicky Rae Photography.

 

 

Oldstoberfest Returns for Second Round

 

Oldstoberfest returns for a second round of rodeo, beer and lederhosen.

The unique event that combines rodeo with an Ocktoberfest swing to it is returning to Alberta this September 15-16 at the Olds Regional Exhibition grounds.

In 2015, the event brought over 8,000 visitors into the town with a professional rodeo, an authentic Biergarten and world class concerts. Under new ownership of C5 Rodeo Company, Oldstoberfest will now return as an annual event once again.

“We are so excited to bring this event back to Olds and continue a tradition that brought many together in such a fun, unique celebration.” said Gillian Grant, C5 Rodeo Coordinator. “Our goal is for Oldstoberfest to be the premier fall community event in the town of Olds for years to come!”

Oldstoberfest will continue the tradition of combining the World’s First Bavarian Rodeo and Cow Palace Biergarten, with exceptional outdoor concert entertainment. A volunteer meeting will be held at the Olds Cow Palace on April 13th, 2017 at 6:00 pm and is open to anyone who would like to be involved.

Three World Champions For Canada!

Zeke Thurston is the 2016 Saddle Bronc World Champion.

 

CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

It might have been the greatest fifteen minutes in the history of Canadian Professional Rodeo.

For the first time ever Canadians have ridden away from the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo with three world titles. Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler in the Team Roping and Zeke Thurston in the Saddle Bronc Riding are all sporting the coveted gold buckles of World Champions.

Simpson from Ponoka (via Claresholm) and Buhler from Arrowwood had already made history when they became the first all-Canadian team to qualify for the WNFR. But that apparently wasn’t enough for the Alberta duo as they put together a 4.3 second run in the tenth and final go round at the Thomas and Mack Arena to split 1/2 and pick up a cheque of $23,480.77. That was good enough to take the team to the average title and a whopping $67,269.23 per man.

Put all that together along with the fact that some of the teams they were chasing struggled in the final round and the first-time qualifiers were World Champions—Levi with $249,133.31 in season earnings and Jeremy, sporting the most famous beard in rodeo, earning $258,311.13.

The talented twosome roped nine of ten steers, placed on seven, winning the first round and splitting first and second in two more including the critical tenth round.  When the announcement was made, both cowboys were close to speechless, unlike the Canadian fans, both in the arena and back in Canada. The roar of approval was long and very loud.

Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt, and American partner Shay Carroll, after winning the ninth go-round with the fastest time of the entire WNFR (3.6) took a no time in the tenth round.

The saddle bronc riding event follows team roping on the NFR program which meant that almost exactly fifteen minutes after Simpson and Buhler had laid claim to their title, Big Valley, Alberta cowboy, Zeke Thurston, climbed down in the chutes on the back of the Andrews Rodeo bronc, Fire Lane. The second generation qualifier, who came into the final round two points out of the lead for the average put together another solid ride for an 86 score to split 3/4 in the round and a cheque for $13,326.92. When Jake Watson posted 82.5 points and world leader/defending champion, Jacobs Crawley missed his horse out, Thurston vaulted to first place in the average and a season total of $265,449.45 to edge Crawley for the world title by just $2831.

“I wouldn’t trade it for anything,” the recently married Thurston grinned. “I just can’t believe it. It’s crazy. I had a good week. I started off a little slow but things picked up. Luckily I was able to stay on nine of them. I knew the only way I could beat Jacobs was if they got him down or they missed him out and that doesn’t happen very often with Jacobs. It just goes to show you that anything can happen.”

For Watson, the Hudson’s Hope, BC cowboy, the 82.5 on Frontier Rodeo’s Short Stop was enough to  split sixth in the round and finish up second in the average. The 23-year-old had a brilliant WNFR in his own right, as he climbed all the way from 15th place going in to fifth place in the world standings.

The third member of the talented Canadian bronc riding trio, Canadian champion Clay Elliott, captured fifth place in the final round on Frontier Rodeo’s Delta Force to collect $6,769. The Nanton cowboy finished up 11th in the world with season earnings of $139,759.

Jake Vold ended his Wrangler National Finals Rodeo almost exactly the same way he started with a sixth place finish, this time with an 84.5 score on J Bar J’s All Pink. In between the first and last rounds, Jake won three go-rounds and finished the WNFR with $165,339 in earnings to end up second in the world standings with $240,161.

Manitoba’s Orin Larsen who re-injured separated ribs in the first round of this Finals, finished strong – placing in the last five rounds including a go round win in round #8, and wound up third in the world standings with $219,372.

That means that of the eight competitors who proudly rode for the maple leaf, there were three firsts (two in one event), a second a third and a fifth, and a total WNFR haul that exceeded one million dollars – making this group easily the most successful in Canadian rodeo history.

Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa won both the average and the world title in the bareback riding.

There was a Canadian connection in the Tie Down Roping as well as three-time Canadian Champion Tyson Durfey, the Weatherford, Texas hand, roped his way to the world title with $212,445 to slip by the Brazilian Marcos Costa by less than $4,000. Riley Pruitt of Gering, Nebraska was the average winner.

Tyler Waguespack, from Gonzales, Louisiana, was the average winner and world champion steer wrestler as well as the Top Gun winner, emblematic of being the highest money winner of the finals.

One of the very popular wins took place in the barrel racing where 68 year old Oklahoma barrel racer, Mary Burger, hung on to win her second title with just a five thousand dollar margin of victory over first time qualifier Amberleigh Moore of Keizer, Oregon. Four time Canadian champion, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota won the average title with ten clean runs.

And in the bull riding, it was Sage Steele Kimzey, the mega-talented Strong City, Oklahoma cowboy, making it back to back to back titles as he finished up with earnings of over $300,000 and a $24,000 margin of victory over fellow Oklahoman Breenon Eldred. Former world champion, Shane Proctor, of Grand Coulee, Washington won the bull riding average title.

Team roper Junior Nogueira was the All-Around champion with $231,728.

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.