RELEASE BY PRO RODEO CANADA
“(Hall of Fame writer) Dwayne Erickson gave me that name,” recalled Erik Dublanko shortly after capturing the Strathmore Stampede tie-down roping championship on Monday afternoon. “In one of the last articles he wrote before he passed away, he related me to Reggie Jackson. Those are pretty big shoes to fill.”
But Dublanko is doing his best to live up to the moniker, coined from Jackson’s “Mr. October” nickname given to the New York Yankee’s baseball star for his prowess to deliver big hits during his many World Series appearances. In fact, since 20111, when he first qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the Thorsby, AB, roper has won close to $19,000 during the month of August.
“I only need to win another four or five thousand (to make the CFR) and I have six weeks to do it,” calculated the 27-year-old, who jumped from 49th to near the top 20 of the unofficial Pro Rodeo Canada standing with the win in Strathmore, AB. “It’s a good time to get hot. I think it’s easier to come from behind than hold guys off. It’s better to be on the offence than defence.”
Dublanko won the first round in Strathmore with an 8-second run and tied his calf in 9.2 seconds in the final round to win the aggregate title with a two-head time of 17.2 seconds.
“When you come back with a lead, you know you don’t have to blast out (of the box),” offered the eight-year Pro Rodeo Canada veteran. “But it’s never easy. Sometimes when all you have to do is tie them down, that can be the hardest thing to do.”
A small 8th place cheque from the North Peace Stampede in Grimshaw, AB, helped push Dublanko’s long weekend earnings to $5,999, leaving the three-time CFR qualifier with just over eight thousand dollars in 2015 season earnings.
Just as you can bank on Dublanko winning in August, you can also bet on bareback rider, Caleb Bennett riding Wayne Vold’s True Grit for a big cheque.
“I’ve been on her probably six times and I’ve never been less than 85 points,” revealed the Utah cowboy who posted a 91.25-point score on the 2013 Pro Rodeo Canada Bareback Horse of the Year during the final round in Strathmore. “I’ve been 90 on her before so I knew I had an opportunity to take this home.”
“The first year she cracked out was my first year at the Calgary Stampede and I was 90 on her in the ten round. I helped boost her career and she helped boost mine.”
Bennett, who won $5,658 for his efforts, wasn’t the only rider in the 90s during the Strathmore shortgo. Manitoba’s Orin Larsen was 90.75-points on Vold’s other superstar, Mucho Dinero. He won $3,325.
The new partnership between 22-year-old header Clay Ullery and 35-year-old heeler Kevin Schreiner is paying early dividends. The pair won the Elks Pro Rodeo in High Prairie, AB, placed 2nd at the Mighty Fraser Rodeo in Abbotsford, B.C. and topped the aggregate standings in Strathmore.
“Three weeks ago we decided to hook up and we’ve been winning ever since,” offered Schreiner, who was mired in 29th spot in the Pro Rodeo Canada heeling standings before he and Ullery each won $6,041 this past week. “I really need this. It should put me in the top ten now.”
Other top money winners included bareback riders, Ky Marshall ($5,141), Jake Vold ($4,433) and Ty Taypotat ($3,778); steer wrestler, Travis Reay ($6,463); barrel racers, Taylor Jacob ($6,808); Kendra Edey ($5,526) and Deb Guelly ($3,914); saddle bronc rider, Cody DeMoss ($5,424); bullriders, Jordan Hansen ($6,304) and Beau Hill ($5,805); ropers, Steele DePaoli ($1,780 TDR, $2,064 TR) and Riley Warren ($3,950 TDR, $1,219 TR); All-Around contender, Josh Harden ($3,747 SB, $3,425 SW); novice bareback rider, Wyatt Maines ($1,835) and novice saddle bronc riders, Lane Cust ($1,784) and Keenan Reinhardt ($1,717).
Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the Field of Dreams Stampede in LaCrete, AB (Aug. 4-5) and the Dawson Creek Stampede in Dawson Creek, B.C. (Aug. 7-9).