2022 Pro Rodeo Canada Champions Crowned

Zeke Thurston aboard OLS Tubs Get Smart. CBowman photo.

For the second time in less than 48 hours a new CFR record was established in the saddle bronc riding. But this time, the record setting performance took the rider, Zeke Thurston, to his third Canadian Championship. It was fitting that the Big Valley, Alberta cowboy matched up with an old friend to establish the new mark. That old friend was OLS Tubs Get Smart who was making his final appearance in Canada prior to his well-earned retirement following the National Finals Rodeo next month. The 93.25 score bettered the previous mark of 91.75 set Friday night by both Thurston and Kole Ashbacher (on Get Smart).

“That was pretty special for me,” the 28-year-old superstar stated. “That little horse has pretty well made my career. I don’t know how much money I’ve made on him but it’s a lot. I was getting half emotional when I was saddling him. He’s been amazing forever.”

Thurston, who came into the Finals in fifth place, amassed just shy of $50,000 for a total of $80,000 for the year. The two-time World Champion was almost unstoppable in Red Deer with three go-round wins, a second, a fourth and the aggregate win as well over six performances.

The second-generation bronc rider acknowledged the importance of family in his pursuit of the rodeo dream. “I don’t actually remember wanting to be a rodeo cowboy, I just always was one,” Thurston smiled. “I watch my little boy; he’s a year-and-a-half-old, and all he wants to do is buck and ride things and I was probably the same way. I have a great family supporting me and that’s been really important.”

Another three-time Champion was crowned at this CFR as Provost, Alberta’s Scott Guenthner earned his third steer wrestling title in five years. Guenthner, who was named Cowboy of the Year earlier in the week, placed in four rounds and was second in the aggregate to earn $24,000 at the CFR to add to his regular season earnings of $50,000. The aggregate winner was two-time Canadian Champion Tanner Milan who finished third overall – right behind Stephen Culling.

A popular win at this CFR was Ty Taypotat’s first ever bareback riding title after several near misses in recent years. Taypotat, runner up for the title one year ago, turned in a spectacular 90.25 point performance on the Calgary Stampede’s World Champion bareback horse Xplosive Skies in Sunday’s final round.

“I saw the draw last night about midnight and I’m not gonna lie; I got pretty nervous,” Taypotat admitted. “That horse got me the last time I got on her.” The Nanton, Alberta cowboy (originally from Saskatchewan) enjoyed a consistent week with two firsts, two seconds and a third, along with the $14,000 aggregate win to total $50,000 in CFR earnings and $89,757 for the year.

“I’ve been doing this a long time,” Taypotat added. “This is my 10thCanadian Finals, so “I’m pretty darn excited to walk away with it, especially riding against the best bareback riders in the world.”

It came down to the final performance in the ladies barrel racing and it was five time CFR qualifier Taylor Manning who claimed the title. The 18-year-old, from Edson, Alberta, maintained the composure and consistency she demonstrated all week on the final day, with another solid run – made even more amazing by the fact that her horse, Bringin The Bling is only five-years-old.

“This morning I rode and worked on a few things with Bling but when I ran, I just tried to keep the barrels up,” Manning said. “I’m really proud of my horse,” she added, “She’s only five and I was able to run her all five days.”

Manning placed in five of six rounds (with a first go round and aggregate title win) to pocket over $40,000 at the Finals. Canadian and World Rookie of the Year, and Canadian Season Leader Bayleigh Choate – who came into CFR $18,000 ahead of Manning – finished in second spot.

It was the brother combination of Dawson and Dillon Graham who prevailed in the team roping event for their first Canadian Championship. The Wainwright, Alberta cowboys had twice previously been season leaders – only to come up short at the CFR. This time around they started the week with two second place efforts and a round-win before cooling off. They were, nevertheless, able to hold off the hard-charging veteran duo of Clint Buhler and Brett McCarroll who finished $8,000 back.

The closest race of this CFR was in the bull riding where Maple Creek, Saskatchewan cowboy, Jared Parsonage, prevailed for his second consecutive Canadian title. It was anything but easy for Parsonage as Camrose, AB bull rider and rookie CFR competitor, Coy Robbins, mounted a valiant challenge for the crown by riding five of six bulls and winning the aggregate. Parsonage earned over $22,000 at the Finals for a year-end total of $81,900. The margin of victory was a slender $1,300.

The only non-Canadian winner at this year’s CFR was San Angelo, Texas tie-down roper, Ty Harris. Competing at his second Finals, Harris overcame a no-time in the second round, putting together a first, a second, two thirds and a fourth en route to the victory. Harris collected $33,000 in Red Deer for $60,500 total earnings – a $9,000 advantage over runner-up, Kyle Lucas. The 2021 Champion, Riley Warren, was this year’s Aggregate winner.

Ladies breakaway roping, in only its second year as part of the Canadian Finals, saw 12 women competing, with Wardlow, Alberta’s Kendal Pierson, emerging as the winner for the second time. A former National High School Champion, Pierson had to come from behind after relinquishing her season lead in the first of three rounds. She fought back with a pair of 2.0 second runs, and when Longview, AB cowgirl, Bradi Whiteside missed her final calf, the deal was sealed for the eighteen-year-old Pierson.

Granum, Alberta roper, Wyatt Hayes, earned the men’s All Around title while Kylie Whiteside won the first-ever women’s All Around award. Blake Link (Maple Creek, SK) won the novice bareback championship while Innisfail, Alberta’s Colten Powell, earned the novice saddle bronc win. Nash Loewen, the 14-year-old from Winfield, Alberta won the junior steer riding event.                                                                                                                 

A couple of repeat winners from the Macza Pro Rodeo highlighted this year’s CFR Top Stock awards — OLS Tubs Stevie Knicks in the bareback riding and, of course, OLS Tubs Get Smart in the bronc riding. Duane Kesler’s Chester was selected top bull of the Finals.

For complete results, go to rodeocanada.com

Races Tighten Heading Into Final Day of CFR ‘48

Bradi Whiteside earned the matinee round win and second spot Saturday night in the Breakaway Roping. CBowman photo.

It’s called Super Saturday – two performances and a huge opportunity for rodeo athletes to win big at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

2019 Canadian Champion bareback rider, Orin Larsen, has a history of doing just that and he was at it again this time around. The Inglis, Manitoba-raised cowboy has either won or split the round in almost every Saturday matinee performance he’s performed at in six CFR qualifications. But this year was even sweeter as the 2019 Canadian Champion won both rounds November 5 in Red Deer. Larsen marked an outstanding 87 points on Calgary Stampede’s B-12 BigTimin Houston in round 4 then added an even more impressive 87.75 in round five on Big Stone Rodeo’s 48 Fired Up. When the dust settled, the CFR-NFR cowboy, who has placed in every round to date, pocketed $18,670 and moved to third in the aggregate. The lead remains in the hands of veteran Ty Taypotat, who is closely followed by Montana hand, Caleb Bennett with Larsen lurking in the shadows should either make even a small slip in Sunday afternoon’s final round.

Orin Larsen.
CBowman photo.

The bull dogging has been no less dramatic, with two-time Canadian Champion and Season Leader, Scott Guenthner not enjoying the Finals he had hoped for. The Provost, Alberta talent has three round placings to his credit and sits second in the aggregate. Fort St John, BC’s Stephen Culling earned the fifth go-round win with a lightning-fast 3.7 second run to bring his Finals earnings to $17,474 with one performance to go. But Cochrane cowboy Tanner Milan has become the man to watch. The two-time Canadian Champion has won two rounds and placed in the other three for almost $23,000 in CFR earnings and first place in the all-important aggregate. He trails Guenthner by $10,000 and needs to have a huge Sunday performance and Guenthner to stumble to allow Milan to complete the come-from-behind win.

Slow and steady may win the race when it comes to the ladies barrel racing event. Yellowhead County, Alberta barrel racer Taylor Manning has been the model of consistency at this year’s Finals. The five-time CFR qualifier holds down the lead with one go-round win and four placings – including two second-place finishes on Saturday. Added to the 18-year old’s outstanding performance is the number one beside her name in the aggregate standings. 2022 Season Leader and Rookie of the Year, Bayleigh Choate has slipped to second overall and fifth in the average – despite a hair-straight-back matinee run that saw the Texan clock a 13.92 while reaching down and righting first barrel along the way. Unfortunately for Choate her luck ran out Saturday night as this time the barrel went down, opening the door for Manning. Also on the watch list heading into the final performance is Shelby Spielman and her Horse of the Year, Hot Donna, who is just $2,800 back of Manning and is third in the aggregate.

Another event that will come down to the wire on Championship Sunday is the tie-down roping. Texas cowboy, Ty Harris, who is making his second CFR appearance, had his best performance of the week in round five with an impressive 7.8 second run. The three-time NFR qualifier is second overall – just $1,800 behind CFR Rookie Beau Cooper. But Harris is fourth in the aggregate while Cooper has slipped to eighth. Also in contention are Carstairs, AB cowboy Kyle Lucas, Saskatchewan hand, Jesse Popescul and Season Leader Clayton Smith.

In only the second year as an official CPRA event, breakaway roping has taken women’s rodeo by storm. With twelve women vying for the title, the closest race is between Longview, Alberta’s Bradi Whiteside who earned the matinee round win and second spot Saturday night and defending Champion, Kendal Pierson from Wardlow, Alberta. Whiteside is in the driver’s seat heading into round six with $24,347 in winnings and first place in the aggregate. Pierson is within striking distance but needs a solid final day. 

Alberta team ropers, Clint Buhler and Brett McCarroll waited until CFR Saturday to move onto the leaderboard. The veterans scored two round-wins with 4.2 and 5.4 second times – good for $18,671 each and a move to first in the aggregate. McCarroll, a two-time champion, roped his 100thCFR steer on Saturday afternoon and 101stin the evening performance with both runs resulting in first place cheques. But season leaders, Dawson and Dillon Graham, remain in control as comfortable overall leaders heading into round six.

The classic event of rodeo – the saddle bronc riding – continues to see big scores and amazing rides. On a two-performance day that saw seventeen scores in the eighties, the most notable move was made by two time World and Canadian Champion Zeke Thurston from Big Valley, Alberta. After finishing out of the money on Saturday afternoon, the defending champion rode Calgary Stampede’s R-62 Redon Acres to a spectacular 88.75 score in the evening performance – good for first place money in the round. The win consolidated Thurston’s hold on top spot overall and the aggregate standings heading into Sunday. Not far behind the second-generation superstar are Layton Green and Kole Ashbacher.

When CFR ’48 kicked off back on Wednesday the consensus was that runaway season leader, Jared Parsonage, was a virtual lock for the bull riding title. But after four go-rounds, the race had become much tighter – courtesy of outstanding performances by Camrose bull rider Coy Robbins and 2016 Canadian Champion, Jordan Hansen. And when Robbins rode his bull Saturday night to be four for five and take over top spot in the aggregate, the noose was getting a little tighter on the reigning champion. But Parsonage made a critical ride on the Kesler bull, Perlich Brothers Ivy League to grab a third-place finish in the round. Heading into Sunday, the Maple Creek talent can breathe a little easier with a $17,000 lead over Robbins while sitting third in the lucrative aggregate.

A special moment during Saturday’s afternoon performance included the introduction of the 2022 Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductees. Congratulations Rob Bell, Bill Reeder and Dusty LaValley (contestant inductees); Mike Copeman (Builder inductee), the late Greg Rumohr in the Legend category and Animal inductee – VJV Slash, owned by Vold Rodeo.

Sunday’s final round will get underway at noon at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Red Deer.

For complete results, go to rodeocanada.com

New CFR Record in Saddle Bronc Riding

Kole Ashbacher, aboard the award-winning OLS Tubs Get Smart from Macza Rodeo.
CBowman photo.

You can put that in the record books as the greatest bronc riding there’s ever been and I’ve seen a bunch of them.

That observation was made by retired eight-time Canadian Champion, Rod Hay moments after the third go-round of the Canadian Finals Rodeo wrapped up in Red Deer Friday night, Nov. 4, 2022. The bronc riding he was referring to saw a pair of 91.75 point rides that (unofficially) eclipsed the 44-year-old CFR record of 91 points set by Mel Coleman in 1978.

Two-time World and Canadian Champion, Zeke Thurston, the pride of Big Valley, Alberta, was first to reach that milestone as he matched up with the Calgary Stampede’s amazing Tokyo Bubbles. And moments later the last bronc rider of the night, Arrowwood, Alberta cowboy, Kole Ashbacher, equalled that mark aboard the award-winning OLS Tubs Get Smart from Macza Rodeo.

“That horse and I… our careers started at about the same time,” Thurston acknowledged moments after his ride. “I’ve been in a lot of four rounds and short rounds with Tokyo Bubbles and that’s the first time I’ve actually drawn her. I was looking forward to that one. I’ve been waiting for her.”

Zeek Thurston and Tokoyo-Bubbles.
CBowman photo

Ashbacher who was runner up for the Canadian title a year ago was one of the last riders to get on Get Smart as the 20-year-old gelding will be retired after this year’s National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. He’s the Canadian Horse of the Year and runner-up for the world title and he’s a little scary,” the long, tall 26-year-old admitted. “You get a little nervous when they run him under you (in the chute).”

Nervous or not, Ashbacher was flawless as he matched the much-decorated bay jump for jump. Ashbacher has gone to the lead in the bronc riding with Thurston in second place just $3,100 back but the roles are reversed in the all-important – and very lucrative – aggregate with Thurston clinging to a slender one-and-a-half-point lead over the his main adversary. Former Canadian Champion Layton Green collected a third-place cheque with an 89 score; Ben Anderson followed up his second go-round win with a fourth-place 88.5, and Dawson Dahm was 88.25 to catch a fifth-place cheque. Incredibly Rod Hay’s son, Logan, was out of the money despite an 87.75-point effort.

The large Centrium crowd erupted as the twin winning scores were announced. Fans will get another opportunity to see this pen of saddle bronc horses during Sunday’s final performance of CFR ’48.

The Wainwright, Alberta team roping brothers, Dawson and Dillon Graham, who dominated Canadian Pro Rodeo all season continue to shine at the 2022 CFR. The talented duo clocked a speedy 4.3 second run – the fastest of CFR so far in round three. When added to a pair of earlier second place finishes, the brothers have $23,220 in CFR earnings and continue to enjoy the overall lead and first place in the aggregate. 

In the ladies barrel racing, it was Texan turned Albertan Shelby Spielman and her Horse of the Year, Hot Donna, who took the honours in the third round. The Ponoka duo clocked 13.88 seconds to win the $9335 top cheque. Season leader, Bayleigh Choate continues to lead the overall standings at the halfway point in a Finals that has seen only two of the twelve competitors run penalty free over the first three performances. 

Australian Strawbs Jones marked his highest CFR score to date in the bareback riding – a spectacular 89.75 points on Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year, 118 OLS Tubs’Stevie Knicks from the Macza Rodeo firm, to win the round. Veterans Ty Taypotat (Nanton, AB) and Caleb Bennett (Covallis, MT) hold down first and second place overall and in the all-important aggregate. Bennett was second in the round with Taypotat right behind him in third place.

Cochrane cowboy Tanner Milan continues to be the model of consistency in the steer wrestling event. The two-time Canadian champion recorded his second go-round win Friday evening with a 3.9 second run. When added to his earlier placings, the veteran has over $20,000 in CFR earnings and has moved solidly into contention for a possible third title.

Granum, Alberta’s Wyatt Hayes earned the tie-down roping buckle in round three with an 8.0 second run. The win also catapulted Hayes to the lead in the All-Around race.

2016 Canadian Bull Riding Champion Jordan Hansen turned in a dazzling 89.75 point ride on Vold Rodeo’s 24 Out Of The Blue for the go-round win. With two out of three bulls covered, Hansen moves to first in the aggregate – just four-and-a-half points up on overall leader Jared Parsonage, who bucked off Friday night but still holds a commanding lead.

The 2022 novice champions were declared after three rounds of competition. Novice bareback season leader, Blake Link from Maple Creek, SK won his third straight round for a total of $10,532 in earnings and the title. In the novice saddle bronc event, despite having a challenging CFR, season leader, Colten Powell maintained his hold on top spot, finishing out the year with over $22,000 in winnings and the champion’s buckle. In the junior steer riding, Sundre cowboy, Glen Erickson marked a 76.50 for the top cheque on night three while Nash Loewen maintained his hold on number one overall.

For complete results, go torodeocanada.com

Fright Night Barn

The epic equine skeleton. Picture by @BAR_XP Photo.

BY JENN WEBSTER

If you’re like us, you’ve discovered the space and diversity a barn and arena can offer. While primarily a place for equines, when done properly, hosting a Halloween in the barn is a fabulous experience. Our kids look forward to it every year.

Halloween typically takes up an entire weekend in our barn. One day for a costume ride (hosted by Ronda Cann Training,) and the other day for a Halloween party. We’re all exhausted by the end of it, but it’s so much fun!

A rider moves her horse through the “Haunted Ground Rails.”

The costume ride is open to English and western riders and is very similar to a cowboy challenge. Riders dress up and put their horses to test, navigating various rails and obstacles. Horses even get to “bob for apples” at the end.

Long table, complete with dry ice. Pic by BAR_XP PHOTO.

The next day, we completely transform the arena into a Halloween-themed abyss. There’s a long table for the kids to eat lunch and thanks to some of my talented friends, we have had some amazing tablescapes over the years. Last year, the theme was a “Witches Brew” idea and dry ice put a spectacular finishing touch on it all. (*Of course, we had to carefully watch the younger children with dry ice as it can cause severe frost bite if touched.)

Pic by BAR_XP PHOTO.

The arena is decorated with various props and decorations we’ve collected and made over the years. (It takes almost an entire shed to store them now…)

Then the arena is divided into “stations” and much like a home-made carnival, the kids go from station to station playing games.

Pic by BAR_XP PHOTO.

Next we feature a long table for pumpkin decorating. Here, the kids get to design their own pumpkin with paint, glue, googly eyes and stickers. It does get a bit messy, but we figured this is better than carving the pumpkins and having a table full of kids with knives, lol.

Of course, there’s also a parent table… A spooky charcuterie board and a bottle of champagne are the major players here.

After that, it’s trick-or-treat time. Each horse has a gift for the kids in front of their stall. Some offerings are big hits with the kids and others are not.

Take for example, my skeleton horse candy apples from last year. Each of the apples were placed on top of a caramel package, a stick was included and our “skeleton horse” had them in front of his stall.

Many of the kids wanted nothing to do with the apples and ran straight for the candy in front of other stalls instead… LOL!!

Pic by BAR XP PHOTO.

Regardless, it was a good time. And we are all looking forward to this year’s event.

2022 Ranch Country Horse Sale

High Selling Foal. (Pictured L to R – Megan Sunderland, Borden Sunderland, Lou Parsonage, Roger Parsonage, Brennin Jack of Jack Auction Group).

The Ranch Country Horse Sale, held September 10, 2022 at the Maple Creek, SK, Rodeo Grounds saw some favorable bids this year. Conducted by the Jack Auction Group and hosted by the Perrin, Parsonage, Bertram and Swanson families, the sale was once again a great success.

2022 Highest Selling Foal
Buyer – Terry Sunderland, as a wedding present for Borden & Megan Sunderland for $5,800. Sellers were Roger and Lou Parsonage, Maple Creek

2022 Highest Selling Saddle Horse. (Pictured L to R – Brennin Jack of Jack Auction Group presenting Consignor Darlene Tingtved with buckle, Lori Deobold, Jack Auction rep holding Buckle and Wool Saddle Pad both presented to Buyer (not present).

2022 Highest Selling Saddle Horse
Buyer – Garry Dzogolik, Tofield, AB
Seller – Darlene Tingtved, Mortlach, SK
Breeder – Lori Deobold, Hodgeville, Sk

Big Moves in B.C.

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.

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.

Steer wrestling champion, Scott Guenthner.

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

Cassidy Extends Season Lead

Photo by Shellie Scott Photography.

The beat, as they say, goes on.

Another weekend. Another success story for Curtis Cassidy. The man who has 12 Canadian titles and 21 CFR appearances in steer wrestling on his resume was at his best once again with a 3.9 second run at Hand Hills Lake Stampede for a $1,302 payday and added another $1.924 to his weekend haul with a 5.0 winning run at Bonnyville Pro Rodeo.

“The drawing Gods have been on my side so far,” the Donalda two-event cowboy chuckled. “I had the perfect draw at Hand Hills, just an excellent handling steer. He took a step away from me but Cody (Cassidy), Curtis’ brother and hazer, brought him back to me. Then at Bonnyville, I had one of the better ones in a herd of fresh, bigger steers. Matt Richardson was 5.3 on him and I made pretty much an identical run to Matt’s. The steer braced up just a little on me and kind of hung a bit or I could have been a short four.”

For the second-generation superstar, it’s been business as usual in 2022 and the weekend’s wins increased his lead at the top of the Canadian standings. Cassidy is happy with his fast start. “I’ve been on both ends of it and being first is a lot nicer than being way back in the standings at this point in the season for sure. You’d like to have the CFR made as early as possible.”

And, of course, there’s Tyson, the latest in the long line of brilliant Cassidy dogging horses, that includes recent Hall of Fame inductee, Willy.

“Tyson doesn’t have as many accolades as Willy with his four gold buckles but the thing with Tyson is he’s just so user-friendly,” Cassidy noted. “Anybody can get on him and have a chance to win. He does his job better than any of us do.”

Cassidy acknowledged that having a horse like Tyson is helping to extend what has already been a remarkable career. “In this sport every January 1 you start over. I’m still healthy, I’ve got Tyson and I’m traveling with some younger guys. With COVID behind us and a lot of the bigger summer rodeos back, I’m hoping to have a year that gets me back to the CFR and the NFR.”

It was a pair of team ropers who were the top money winners on the three-event weekend. Veteran Cardston heeler, Riley Wilson, and his heading partner, Grady Quam, collected wins at both Bonnyville (4.5 seconds, $1,874) and Hand Hills (5.6 seconds, $1,437) and added a fifth-place cheque at Leduc Black Gold Rodeo (4.9 seconds, $948) for a total of $4,260. The pair also made the biggest move in the early season standings, vaulting from 22nd to a spot solidly in the top ten.

This week the CPRA schedule makes three more Alberta stops in Brooks, June 10-11, and Rocky Mountain House and Lea Park, June 10-12.

For complete CPRA results, check out rodeocanada.com

102 Years of the Falkland Stampede

Kolby Wanchuk, 2022 Falkland Stampede.

Kolby Wanchuk hasn’t forgotten the way his 2021 Canadian rodeo season ended. The Sherwood Park, AB bronc rider was bumped from Canadian Finals Rodeo contention on the final stop of the regular campaign. This weekend at the 102nd Falkland Stampede, the second generation cowboy took another step toward ensuring that history would not repeat itself.

“I don’t want to miss the CFR again,” Wanchuk admitted. “I’ve been getting to the spring rodeos and I want to do whatever it takes to get back to the Finals. That’s one of my goals for this year. You can’t win a Canadian title if you’re not at the CFR.”

The 25-year-old rode Macza Pro Rodeo’s +2 Big Surprise to 86 points and the first place cheque of $1,226. The win will consolidate Wanchuk’s hold on fourth place in the Canadian standings and keep him solidly in the top 15 in the World.

“I’d seen this horse quite a bit, but this was my first time on him,” Wanchuk noted. “He’s not a big horse but he tries really hard. He had a couple of big jumps at the start and then was really nice.”

Things will start heating up for Wanchuk and all CPRA contestants as the 2022 rodeo season moves into high gear. “We’ll be going back and forth across the border pretty well every week. From Reno in June to the end of August, there are rodeos almost everyday. And I want to get to every one I can.” Wanchuk is especially looking forward to the CPRA (SMS Equipment) Pro Tour events. “I want to get to as many of the 11 Tour rodeos as I can because that money makes a big difference in the Canadian standings.”

Great weather and record crowds were on hand in Falkland, BC throughout a weekend that saw several other outstanding performances. A pair of 90 point rides highlighted the weekend action with reigning Canadian Bareback Champion, Clint Laye, navigating Macza’s award winning 118 OLS Tubs Stevie Knicks to first place and $1188 in the bareback riding. That effort was matched by 2016 Canadian Champion bull rider Jordan Hansen who posted his 90 point ride on Macza’s D 180 Big City Life – good for $1,398. Other Falkland champions included tie down roper, Clayton Smith who clocked an 8.5 second run for $1962; steer wrestler Quentin Branden who was 3.9 seconds ($1,426), team ropers Dawson and Dillon Graham whose 4.4 netted $1,512 for each. Ladies barrel racing saw a one-two split between Lynette Brodoway and Bradi Whiteside who were 16.38 seconds for $1,544 each. Breakaway roper, Kylie Whiteside posted a 2.44 to win her event and pocket $994. The novice saddle bronc event also saw a tie with Colton Powell and Devon Hay marking 69 points for $224 each while in the junior steer riding, Nash Loewen was 82 points for $329.

For complete CPRA results, check out rodeocanada.com

How to Bet on a Racehorse

A day at the races can be fun – and maybe even profitable – if you know what you’re doing when it comes to placing bets.

By Jenn Webster

Have you ever wanted to place a bet on a racehorse, but became overwhelmed by the thought of it? Wagering at the track, when done in moderation, can be a fun way to spend an afternoon. In honor of the Kentucky Derby today, we have compiled an easy guide to placing bets on racehorses. There’s no bigger thrill than watching the powerful equine you bet on, cross the finish line first!

Thoroughbred racing is the oldest form of organized racing in the world but in North America usually means the horses are flat racing on a dirt or turf surface. Race lengths can vary. In Canada, Thoroughbred racing is seasonal so it’s normal to see many short races at the beginning of the season when many of the horses are not yet conditioned for longer races. Younger animals too, usually run shorter races, taking into consideration the horse’s rate of growth and inexperience. However, some horses (all ages) run consistently better at short distances and these statistics are all recorded – something seasoned bettors note! Depending on the length of the race, Thoroughbreds may run straight sprints or on larger tracks that require them to go around turns.

Quarter Horse (QH) racing is much like Thoroughbred racing, however the race distances are much shorter. There are several different lengths available for these horses, ranging from one furlong (220 yards), to four furlongs (870 yards). Most QH races are straight sprints, which means they must be able to break well from the starting gate.

Standardbred racing is harness racing – the horse pulls a light cart or “sulky” and is driven, as opposed to being ridden. Standardbred horses are either pacers or trotters.

BETTING

1 – Decide how much money you are willing to bet. The minimum bet is $2, but you can always bet more if you like.

2 – Pick your horse. People pick their horses in a variety of ways. You may like its name, colour, number, jockey or colour of its silks. Many advanced bettors choose their horses based on past performance, the trainer’s reputation or the jockey’s records. Other considerations they might keep top of mind is the type of track, the weather, bloodlines of the horse, or the size and shape of the track. And here’s a pro tip! If you’re ever observing the racers in the paddock prior to a race, the horse that is jumping, rearing or displaying a lot of extra activity is not usually the one you want to bet on – the horse that is calm, cool and collected in the paddock is the one conserving its energy for the race.

Race programs too, give you the information on every horse and every race for the day and they are usually available for a small fee. They can be helpful in picking a horse.

3 – Choose your Bet. Straight wagers are the best type of bets for visitors completely new to the world of racing. When you making this type of bet, you are only betting on one horse.

WIN – This means you are betting on a specific horse, to come in first place.
PLACE – Your horse must finish first or second.
SHOW – Your horse must finish first, second or third.

Odds are something else you’ll want to look consider. These are the numbers appearing beside the horse’s number (displayed in numerous places around the track, in the program, etc.) The more a horse is liked by bettors, the lower its odds are and the lower the pay-out will be. The underdog horses have higher odds and consequently, a higher payout.

4Master More Advanced Bets. Once you are comfortable with how win, place and show works in a basic bet, you may want to move on to a more exotic wager. Here is some terminology you should know:

EXACTA – You bet on two horses to come in first and second, in an exact order.
QUINELLA – You bet on two horses to come in first and second in any order.
TRIFECTA – You bet that three horses will finish in first, second, and third in an exact order.
SUPERFECTA – You bet that four horses will finish, first, second, third, and fourth in an exact order.

Many racetracks like Century Downs in Balzac, AB, even offer Betting 101 classes for free. You can join them and learn about placing exotic bets, multi-race wagers, Jackpot High-5 or Century Down’s own unique wager. Their experts can walk you through the betting basics so placing your first bet isn’t so daunting. Have fun and enjoy yourself!