With the 2022 Canadian Professional Rodeo season winding down, one of the most critical weekends of the fall took place entirely in the nation’s westernmost province. Sunny skies, big crowds and spectacular performances were the order of the day at Armstrong, Merritt and Langley, BC.
The SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tour wrapped up over Labour Day weekend with the final tour stop (IPE and Stampede) and Finals in Armstrong, BC. While most of the season leaders held on to claim the overall tour titles and the champions’ trophy spurs, there was come-from-behind drama in the bareback and bull riding events.
Reigning Canadian Bareback Riding Champion Clint Laye put together an 89-point effort for second place ($2,713) in the regular Armstrong Pro Tour rodeo, then added an 88.25 ride on Calgary Stampede’s Bigtimin Houston to take top spot in the Finals for another $2,320. The twin successes vaulted the Cadogan, AB. cowboy from third place entering the weekend to the SMS Equipment Tour title and earned him the champion’s trophy spurs as he edged Ty Taypotat by just five points.
Bull rider Brock Radford was the only other competitor who overcame a deficit to win the SMS Equipment Tour title. The DeWinton, AB, hand was aided by his fourth-place result in the tour final en route to the overall championship.
Those able to protect the leads they enjoyed going into the Armstrong weekend included steer wrestling champion Scott Guenthner, tie-down roper Beau Cooper, bronc rider Lachlan Miller, barrel racer Bayleigh Choate, team ropers Tristin Woolsey and Trey Gallais and breakaway roper Lakota Bird.
Guenthner, the two-time Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion and 2022 season leader, also put up a pair of wins, topping the field at Merritt with a 4.1 second performance for $1,999, then smoking a 3.1 second run in the SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tour finals for $2,320 to clinch his tour title.
Bull rider, Coy Robbins, enjoyed a productive and lucrative weekend as he captured the title at the first-ever Valley West Stampede in Langley, British Columbia riding Duane Kesler Championship Rodeo’s 675 Circus Freak for 88.5 points and $5,773. Robbins then added an 87-point win at the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo (Merritt, BC,) on Macza Rodeo’s 803 Blue Bombshell for another $1,908. The Camrose, AB, athlete capped off the weekend with an 87.5, third place finish in the SMS Pro Tour Final for an additional $1,160. After a weekend that provided major moves in the Canadian standings, Robbins is a virtual lock for the CFR as his wins will move him past Jordan Hansen into third place.
The Graham brothers, Dillon and Dawson, continued their winning ways, running their steak to five in a row with wins at Merritt (4.3, $2,216) and Armstrong (5.0, $2,832). The Wainwright cowboys came up just short in their effort to capture the SMS Equipment Tour title as the duo of Trey Gallais and Tristin Woolsey prevailed for the SMS Equipment crown.
One of the biggest moves in the CFR race was that of barrel racer Jennifer Neudorf. Entering the weekend in a precarious 11th place in the standings, a win at Langley (15.42, $5,922) and a 6/7 spilt for another $998 at Armstrong will push the Grande Prairie cowgirl solidly into the top ten with just three weeks remaining in the regular season.
With every dollar won critical as the 2022 season winds down, CPRA competitors will now take their talents to the Coronation Pro Rodeo, September 9-10 and the Medicine Lodge Fall Roundup September 10.
For complete (unofficial) results, check out prorodeocanada.com