It Came Down to This.
Jubilation. Disappointment. Relief.
The full gamut of emotions was very much in evidence as Canadian cowboys and cowgirls wrapped up their 2013 regular season at Hanna, Alberta and McCord, Saskatchewan over the weekend.
For some, like 2007 Canadian Champion steer wrestler Todd Woodward, tie down roper Eric Dublanko and bull rider Garrett Green; it was celebration time. All three made moves on the season’s final weekend to punch their tickets to the Nov 6-10 Canadian Finals Rodeo.
For others like teenage sensation roper Kyle Lucas, barrel racer Wacey Hollingworth and team roper Trent Tunke, there were large sighs of relief as they made sure they wouldn’t be caught in the waning moments of the season.
And for still others – bronc riders Jeremy Harden and Todd Herzog, tie down roper Stetson Vest and bulldogger Trygve Pugh – it was next year time as they saw their season – long efforts fall heartbreakingly short of that coveted trip to Edmonton.
Nowhere was the battle more heated than in the tie down roping where Dublanko used a 4th place $665 cheque at Hanna to leapfrog from 14th to 12th place in the standings guaranteeing himself a third consecutive appearance at the Canadian rodeo finale at Rexall Place. (It was a good week for the Dubankos as younger brother Darren won the semi-pro Wild Rose Rodeo Association tie down roping title, the weekend previous).
The Carstairs roping talent, Kyle Lucas, who had been sitting on the bubble going into the weekend not only consolidated his spot with a huge weekend but served notice that the son of Hall of Fame roper “Smokin’ Joe” Lucas will be a force to reckon with come November. The younger Lucas was second at Hanna with an 8.0 for $1140 and added $712 at McCord with a winning 7.7-second run to seal the deal.
In the bull riding, the drama was electric as Garrett Green and Tyler Pankewitz battled literally to the final whistle before settling the outcome. It was Green, the Meeting Creek, Alberta cowboy (in 14th place going into the weekend) who won McCord on the Big Stone bull Almost Famous (86 points, $545.20). The two-time qualifier added an 87.5, $873 second place finish at Hanna to move past Steven Turner who was sitting in 13th place and edge Warburg, Alberta’s Pankewitz, who also placed at both rodeos – the margin, less than $500.00.
Medicine Hat’s Todd Woodward was another of the guys who was sitting on the outside looking in heading into the weekend and made sure history didn’t repeat itself with his efforts in Hanna and McCord. The nine time qualifier, who missed the CFR by one spot a year ago, nailed down his
November date in Edmonton with a 4.9 run for an $881 payday and added $176 in Hanna with a 7/8 split (4.6) bumping ‘Trigger’ Pugh from the CFR mix this time around.
And in barrel racing, three cowgirls had gone into the weekend with a legitimate shot at the final qualifying berth. Valleyview’s Wacey Hollingworth, Cessfords’ Lacey Suitor and the Westwold, BC former champion, Gaylene Buff all needed a big weekend and it was Hollingworth who got it done by winning McCord with a 12.520 second run for $436, then adding a 4th place 12.688 and another $488 to make sure no one could catch her and thwart her early November plans.
Trent Tunke, the rock solid heeler from Medicine Hat sat on the bubble (12th) as the weekend began. He parlayed a pair of placings with team roping partner Roland McFadden into securing his spot at the Finals. The duo split 4/5 at Hanna with a 5.2 run for $407 each, then added a 4th place 5.3 run for another $188 to guarantee Tunke’s journey to the provincial capitol in five weeks. McFadden was already confirmed for the Finals, sitting 7th on the heading side going into the weekend.
South of the 49th parallel, Cochrane steer wrestler Straws Milan will be representing Canadian competitors in Las Vegas, having secured a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo berth. Milan will also be at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
For complete results from Hanna and McCord see the CPRA website.
* Canadian Finals Rodeo—Rexall Place, Edmonton, Alberta, Nov 6-10, 2013