In what may have been the last Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo organized under the direction of Jack Daines, all but one of the event champions this past weekend at the 54th annual rodeo were first time winners at “The Ranch”.
“There comes a time when you gotta say that’s enough,” the 79 year-old, Daines said during last Thursday’s slack at the rodeo grounds he built over five decades ago north of Innisfail, AB.
Ky Marshall and his family, from nearby Bowden, have been to many of those 54 rodeos. But they’ll always have special memories of this year’s edition with a pair of highly coveted, championship buckles now on display in the 22-year-old bareback rider’s trophy case.
“We’re good friends with the Daines’ family. There are tons of people here watching,” an excited Marshall explained after competing in the tie-down roping in Saturday night’s third performance. “You actually try harder when all those people are watching cause you don’t want to embarrass yourself.”
Moments before his 7th place, 8.7-second roping run, Marshall had spurred Vold Rodeo’s superstar, True Grit for 89.5 points in the bareback riding. It was the second time the 2012 Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo champion and the 2013 CPRA Bareback Horse of the Year had been partnered together.
“I drew her last year at the CFR, but we didn’t quite have the same match-up. I was hoping for that horse and when I saw the draw, I was just stunned. All the cowboys wish they could draw her.”
The bareback win paid Marshall $2,098, while his tie-down cheque worth $871 was enough to help the 2011 Canadian Novice Bareback champion also take home the All-Around buckle from the Daines Ranch.
Eight-time CFR qualifier, Sam Kelts has had his eye on the special Contway Bronze given to the Innisfail saddle bronc riding champion since he began competing on the pro rodeo trail in 2002. The Millarville, AB cowboy was finally awarded the trophy Sunday after an 88-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Lynx Mountain.
“That’s a horse you can win first on anywhere. But it was an outstanding pen of broncs out today,” praised the 30 year-old Kelts. “The money ($2,170) is a big deal but it spends. The trinkets are forever.”
Reigning Canadian All-Around champion, Travis Reay was among the first-time winners. The Mayerthorpe, AB cowboy, one of the last bulldoggers out on the final afternoon, turned his steer in 4.1 seconds to win the buckle. It was Reay’s first cheque in almost two months and the $2,623 nearly doubled his 2014 earnings.
Brock Radford was not only a first time Innisfail Champion, but he also won his first pro rodeo on Calgary Stampede’s 703 Gingas Kong. The DeWinton bull rider scored 89.5 points for a $2727.68 cheque and the championship buckle.
Only one Innisfail champion came from Thursday’s pre-rodeo slack performance. Laci Suitor’s time of 15.877 held up to capture the top prize of $2,613.
Idaho’s Nate Baldwin won his first Innisfail tie-roping championship. The 40-year-old’s 8-flat run Sunday survived a final day roping field filled with cowboys boasting a combined 49 appearances at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The win was worth $2,411. In the team roping, it was Levi Simpson and Ryon Tittle who took home the buckles after their 4.8-second run. Simpson was the only repeat champion having won the same buckle last year with heeler, John Robertson.
Dantan Bertsch from Eastend, SK marked 79 points to win the first place cheque of $675.12 in novice bareback and in the novice broncs, Calgary’s Keenan Reinhardt posted a 77 point score to win $721.68. The Innisfail steer riding champion was Owen Berreth; the Airdrie youngster scored 76 points to take home $659.60.
Next on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule are stops in Wainwright, AB (June 18-22) and Sundre, AB (June 20-22).