The Calgary Stampede is one of Savannah Reeves’ favorite rodeos. Last year, she and her horse, Thunder, won the reserve title. This year, the Dublin, Texas barrel racer left the 2010 ‘Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth’ with the Championship bronze and $112,500 in prize money.
“My horse, Thunder, really performs well here,” the talented rodeo athlete explained after the ‘Final Four’ run Sunday, July 18, “We were second last year – we won $41,000 then – so I was excited about coming back for this year’s Stampede.”
A three time Texas Circuit Finalist and registered nurse, Reeves finished her 2009 season in sixteenth spot in the World standings after losing her great horse ‘Moon’ in a freak accident last summer. Thunder and Fire, her primary rodeo horse now, is an 11 year old son of the great barrel horse stallion, Firewater Flit, and out of a ‘Pass Em Up/Bunny Bid/King’ bred mare. It was this gelding that Reeves rode at Calgary to the reserve title in 2009 and the Championship this year. “I recently purchased him from my parents,” explained Reeves a few minutes after her big win at Calgary. “And he’s just paid for himself!” she added with a big smile.
The ten day Calgary Stampede Rodeo is set up in two ‘4 day’ Pools with ten contestants in each. Five monies are paid each day ($5500 for first down to $1500 for fifth place) with the top four money earners from each Pool moving forward to the final Sunday Showdown Round. For those contestants not able to qualify out of the two Pools, another opportunity is offered on Wild Card Saturday (July 17) where the top two athletes also move onto the final day of competition. All ten Sunday long-round contestants get paid: the top four depending on their success in the final four round and the bottom six $3300. each regardless of Sunday’s long-go ranking. A strictly invitational rodeo with the World’s top contestants in attendance, the Calgary Stampede is neither CPRA nor PRCA approved. Translated, the money won does not count for the CFR/NFR (though bull rider earnings count in the PBR)… but it does help pay the ‘not insignificant’ costs of rodeoing at the professional level. Of the twenty barrel racers competing at this year’s Stampede, five were Canadian.
Reeves’ 2010 Stampede success began on the second day of Pool B action when she turned the barrels in 17.59 seconds to win the round and $5500. She added two third place finishes over the next two days for a total of $12,500. and third overall in the Pool. Without the pressure of competing in Wild Card Saturday (where contestants enjoy a last chance to secure one of two available berths in the Final Sunday Showdown round), Reeves was able to enjoy some time away from the Stampede grounds. “Lindsay Sears is a good friend of mine,” she explained. “I was able to head out of Calgary to her family’s ranch (a couple of hours southwest of Calgary) where I stayed from Friday evening to Sunday morning. My horses had a break and some green grass.” This no doubt helped Thunder on ‘Stampede Super Sunday’ where he and Reeves ran their personal best times of the week (two 17.25 second runs back to back in the long and short go-rounds).
Additional Pool B qualifiers were Sue Smith (2009 NFR qualifier) and Canadians, Joleen Seitz (2006 Calgary Stampede Champion) and Rana (Walter) Koopmans (2009 Reserve Canadian Champion). The top four Pool A barrel racers were two time and defending World Champion, Brittany Pozzi; NFR qualifier, Jill Moody; 2008 World and Stampede Champion, Lindsay Sears and two time Canadian Champion and NFR qualifier, Lisa Lockhart. These eight contestants were joined by the two fastest Wild Card Saturday barrel racers, PJ Burger (’09 NFR qualifier) and Molly Powell (many time NFR and Calgary Stampede qualifier).
The final Sunday long go (or ‘ten round’) saw Reeves take the win (17.25) with Sears 1/100th of a second behind. Smith ran a 17.37 for third spot with Koopmans at 17.38 rounding out the four competitors who moved onto the ‘Final Four’ $100,000 round. Koopmans enjoyed the top of the ground in the short go on Real Easy Doc (a 9 year old ‘Easy Jet’ bred gelding that won the $100,000 Pro Tour in his futurity year). Unfortunately, two hit barrels left Koopmans with fourth place money – $10,000 (a pretty nice sum for 4th place). Sue Smith ran next and turned the barrels in 17.88 on her Dash Ta Fame NFR horse for a third place cheque of $15,000. Sears enjoyed a run that looked tough to beat (17.31) on her World Champion mare, Martha – good for $25,000. But, Reeves and Thunder were able to repeat their long-go time to win the title and the $100,000 first place purse.
Reeves found the competition tough… and was excited to be in the company of a World Champion, an NFR qualifier and a many time CFR qualifier in the short go. While her final performance wasn’t without challenge (Thunder set hard on first barrel and popped Reeves forward), the pair were able to negotiate the pattern in the fastest time that day. The overall fast time at this year’s Stampede, 17.13, was run by Sue Smith and her 7 year old NFR gelding, Real Claim Ta Fame earlier in the week.
Stampede officials worked diligently on the ground conditions throughout the ten day event – which saw everything from 28C (90 degree) temperatures to 8C (50 degree) days with rain and hail. While greater success overall was seen by barrel racers running closer to the top of the ground, Sue Smith earned one of her two round wins in tenth position on the ground with a 17.19 second run. Other 2010 rodeo event winners were Will Lowe (Bareback Riding), Matt Shiozawa (Tie-Down Roping), Wade Sundell (Saddle Bronc Riding), Lee Graves (Steer Wrestling) and Douglas Duncan (Bull Riding).
More detailed results are available at http://cs.calgarystampede.com/events/rodeo/results.html
NOTE: Barrel Racers, don\’t forget to enter the \”All Dressed Up For Dinner\” contest where you could win a pair of Lawman\’s PETROL jeans!!