Solid Night for Team Canada

 

CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

Canadians continued their assault on the Wrangler National Finals’ chequing account and their own all-time earnings record in Wednesday’s seventh round.

The big move for the Canadian contingent once again came courtesy of the team roping duo, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. The talented twosome, from Ponoka and Arrowwood, Alberta respectively, roped their steer in 4.3 seconds to split second in the round and add $18,192 to their earnings total. More importantly, they moved to first place in the average and are the only team to have roped all seven of their steers. The average or aggregate – which is the total time on ten head – pays $67,000 to the first-place finisher.

“We just missed getting to the Finals last year,” Simpson commented, “so we changed a few things so that wouldn’t happen again. We went to fewer rodeos so we could be rested and focused for the ones we did go to.”

“We’re just trying to stay aggressive and take it one night at a time,” Buhler added. “Levi’s turning ‘em just great and I’m just trying to do my job on the back side.”

Matt Sherwood and Quinn Kesler won the round with a 4.1 while the third Canadian in the team roping, Barrhead, Alberta’s Kolton Schmidt along with Texas partner, Shay Carroll continued to struggle and finished out of the money in round seven.

Jake Watson is quickly becoming one of the very cool stories of the 2016 WNFR. On a night that saw all three Canadian bronc riders cash some chips, the 23-year-old Hudson’s Hope, BC, cowboy stuck an 83.5 point ride on the three time Canadian champion saddle bronc, Get Smart from the Northcott Macza firm. Watson, who barely squeaked into 15th place to qualify for his first WNFR, split 2/3/4 in the round, for a $15,794 payday. He’s climbed all the way to first place in the average and 7th in the world standings with over $143,000 won. Watson split the round with world leader and defending champion, Jacobs Crawley and Jake Wright who was aboard the Calgary Stampede’s Waning Moon. Another Stampede bronc, Tiger Warrior, ended the perfect run of first time finalist Allen Boore who was 6 for 6 before tonight’s encounter with the Grated Coconut son.

Reigning Canadian champion Clay Elliott put together an 81 point effort on Stace Smith’s Pretty Boy for a fifth place $6769 cheque while Zeke Thurston, who won round six, teamed with Burch Rodeo’s Angel Slings for 6th place in the round and $4,230.

Orin Larsen followed up his 2/3 spilt and first cheque of the Wrangler National Finals rodeo in Tuesday’s sixth go-round with a split of sixth place in round seven to add a $2,215 cheque to the $18 thousand plus he collected the day before. The Manitoba product, who came to the WNFR in second place, was 78 points on Rafter G Rodeo’s Ankle Biter. Meanwhile the blazing pistols of Jake Vold cooled slightly on this night. The Ponoka cowboy who had won the previous three rounds was out of the money in round seven as he managed a 76 score on Beutler and Son’s Nod Big .Com Wonderland. Vold remains in second place in the average and fourth in the world.

The California man and Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, RC Landingham won the round with an 84.5 on a horse called Scarlet Fever while Tim O’Connell continues to enjoy a commanding lead atop the bareback riding leaderboard. On the stock side where going into round seven, $240,000 had been won on Canadian horses and bulls, the Calgary Stampede’s Trail Dust carried Texan Richie Champion to 79 points and a fifth place cheque for $6,769.

Defending average champion, Dakota Endridge won the round in the steer wrestling with a 3.4 second time. Leading the world after seven rounds is Louisiana cowboy Tyler Waguespack with $204,000. Mary Burger came to Las Vegas leading the world and the 68-year-old grandmother continued her storybook year as she and her tremendous gelding, Mo, posted a 13.58  to win the round and consolidate her lead for the world title. Canadian champion Matt Shiozawa of Blackfoot, Idaho won his first round of this WNFR with a 7.3 second run one night after he suffered the misfortune of having his rope break to force a no time.

And in the bull riding, all eyes were initially focused on Sage Kimzey and his quest for a third world title. But former world champion, Shane Proctor, has become one of the big storylines and tonight he made it seven for seven as the Washington cowboy was part of a three-way split of first with 85 points. Joining Kimzey in the Winner’s Circle were Garrett Tribble and Cody Rostockyj.

Big Bucks Go North of 49

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

The Canadian saddle bronc riders have been watching the bareback riders and team ropers getting all the headlines. And in go-round six of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, they decided to do something about it.

The youthful trio enjoyed their finest hour to date as all three Canadian bronc riders placed in the round for the first time at this Finals. It was Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston leading the way as he put together a spectacular 88.5 on C5 Rodeo’s Black Hills for his first-ever WNFR go-round win. The win gives him $49,923 in earnings to date and third place in the slot machine-like average.

Right behind the second generation bronc rider was Hudson Hope, BC’s Jake Watson with his 87 point effort on Frontier Rodeo’s Times Up. The second place cheque meant the very consistent Watson is now 6 for 6 and has moved to the overall lead in the average. The third member of the Canuck threesome, Canadian Champion Clay Elliott, saw his 82.5 on Big Rafter Rodeo’s Pearl hold on for a split of sixth place and $2,115.

“That’s just a really nice little horse of Vern’s (MacDonald),” Thurston grinned after his ride. “I’ve had her a couple of times before and I’ve won quite a bit of money on her. She felt really good out there.”

Thurston had to put the disappointment of a 7.92 second buckoff earlier in the week behind him and is definitely in a groove now. “Yeah, Killer Bee is one of the buckiest horses I’ve ever been on.” Thurston acknowledged. “I set an arena record on him at Tucson but here he got me. You just have to put those things out of your mind and get ready for the next one.”

* * * * * * * * * * * *

“It’s not over ‘till I win.”

Those were the words of Canadian bareback rider, Orin Larsen. The talented Manitoba cowboy had not had the finals he had hoped for, particularly as he came into the Wrangler NFR in second place in the world standings and was coming off a terrific Canadian Finals Rodeo that saw him win three rounds.

But it was clear almost from the outset that all was not right with the soft-spoken two time WNFR qualifier.

“I’d torn some ribs back in September but after the CFR I thought I was pretty well home free. But about two or three jumps out on my first round horse here (Frontier Rodeo’s Night Watch) I felt a pop and knew I’d tore them again.”

Not one to look for an excuse, Larsen was quick to accentuate the positive. “The Sport Medicine Team has done as awesome job of keeping me in one piece,” he stated. “ I’m really looking forward to the last half of the Finals.” That despite admitting to ‘feeling it crunch and pop’ as he rides.

Larsen noted as well that he’s aware of the support of Canadian fans both here in Las Vegas and back in Canada. “That means so much to me; I really appreciate it,” he smiled. “I don’t have any choice. I have to go out there and win.”

It turns out that those fans and Larsen’s attitude were just the combination to get his week turned around.

In tonight’s round six, he climbed aboard Bar T Rodeo’s Ruby’s Girl and did what he has done all season long, spurring out an 85 score to split 2/3 in the round and pocket his first cheque of this finals, a sizable $18,192 payoff. In fact, only one man was better.

And that man, fellow Canadian, Jake Vold, was a half point better on Burch Rodeo’s Jim Dandy to post his third go-round win in succession. Vold’s $91,000 plus haul has moved him to 4th place in both the average and the world standings with four rounds remaining.

“I had Jim Dandy here in 2014; I think it was in the same round,” Vold recalled, “and I knew he was good. But I think I rode him better this time.”

As happy as he was with his own performance, Vold was equally tickled to see his countryman enjoy some success. “Orin is as tough as nails – riding with separated ribs; I was really excited to see him win a big cheque tonight.”

A couple of Canadian horses grabbed a share of the spotlight in the bareback riding as well. The Calgary Stampede’s Tootsie Roll carried Tanner Aus to an 84 point ride and 4th place in the round while Kesler Rodeo’s Starburst was the mount for Jake Brown’s 84 point 5/6 split.

The all Canadian team roping duo of Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler kept their streak of qualified runs going with a 9.3 to finish just out of the money but maintain their hold on second place in the average. Lady luck continued to plague the third Canadian team roper, Kolton Schmidt, and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll as the team is still without a cheque to date.

The $416,000 won by Canadian competitors at the 2016 WNFR has made this finals the most lucrative for Canadian contestants in the history of the event.

In the bull riding, Outlaw Buckers’ Chip Shot carried Rexburg, Idaho’s Garrett Smith to 82 points, just outside of the money in a round that saw Minnesota’s Brennon Eldred ride Championship Pro Rodeo’s The Duke to a 90.5 score for the win.

There was a three-way split for first in the steer wrestling between Billy Bugenig, Riley Duvall and Tyler Waguespack – all with 3.6 second runs. Two time Canadian Champion Tyson Durfey was the quickest of the tie-down ropers with a 7.4. And in the barrel racing, Utah cowgirl Kimmie Wall ran the fastest time of the finals to date – a 13.46 – for her second round win this week.

Show Me the Money

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

Canada Night doesn’t happen until Thursday at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But apparently the Canadian contingent of WNFR qualifiers either didn’t get the memo or they just plain couldn’t wait.

The first all Canadian team roping team hasn’t just showed up at this Finals, they have been a factor in every round, including a win in round one. Tonight the Alberta twosome, Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and Arrowwood heeler, Jeremy Buhler, had their fastest run to date, a 4.0 to split the round with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, each of the four men pocketing $23,480. Simpson and Buhler remain in 2nd place in the average and have moved to 7th and 6th respectively in the world standings.

“We just missed the WNFR field last year,” Simpson commented. “This year, we worked harder at it, put in more practice time and prepared mentally for every situation in the arena.”

That preparation served the Alberta duo well in Round 5. “Like Levi, I don’t get caught up in the show,” Buhler, the man sporting the most famous beard at this NFR added. “I don’t hear the music, I just keep it simple and watch the feet.”

It took Jake Vold 14 WNFR rounds to win his first go round buckle. It took him one to win his second. Twenty four hours after winning round four with a sensational 89.5, the Airdrie (via Ponoka) three time Canadian champion came back with a spectacular 89 score on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Wilson Sanchez. The back to back wins have propelled Vold to 4th place in the average and fifth in the world.

Before the twenty-nine year-old talent nodded his head tonight, there were already three scores of 86 points or higher on the board. No problem for Jake Vold.

“I want someone to jump out there with a 90 so I can go get them,” he confided. “Seeing big rides before me fuels my fire.”

The Calgary Stampede bucking sensation Xplosive Skies lived up to his name as he pitched Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen to the Thomas and Mack turf before the eight second klaxon en route to winning the Rank Horse of the Night Award.

And not to be outdone, the three Canadian bronc riders brought their A (Eh!) game with Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott grabbing a 3/4 split – courtesy of his 86.5 ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Son of Sadie. And right behind his countryman was the Hudson Hope, British Columbia man, Jake Watson who took home a 6th place cheque with his 85 score on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat. Watson has quietly fashioned a solid Finals to date after qualifying in fifteenth spot. He is now five for five and has climbed to third in the average.

The third Canadian bronc rider, recent bridegroom Zeke Thurston was 81 points on the appropriately named Maple Leaf of Frontier Rodeo. The Big Valley cowboy was just out of the money in Round 5. Reigning World Champion, Jacobs Crawley, from Boerne, Texas, bounced back from a Round 4 buck-off to mark a spectacular 89 on Frontier Rodeo’s four time world champion, Medicine Woman. The Monday night go-round also marked the end of 18 year old Ryder Wright’s record-tying run. After four consecutive go-round wins, the Milford, Utah cowboy bucked off Flying 5 Rodeo’s Spring Planting.

Minnesota bull dogger JD Struxness continued his hot streak with a 3.5 second run. Over the last three days, Struxness has two go-round wins and a 1-2 split. In the barrel racing, go-round winner was Keizer, Oregon cowgirl Amberleigh Moore with a 13.62 second run. And in the bull riding, Scottie Knapp of Albuquerque, New Mexico made his first ride of the 2016 WNFR a profitable one. His 87 on Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Breaking Bad was good for the go round win.

About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) – in early November each year in Edmonton, Alberta at Northlands Coliseum. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.

Oh Canada

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

The grin said it all.

As Jake Vold made the first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo victory lap of his career, the three time Canadian champion’s grin lit up the Thomas and Mack Arena. And why not—his 89.5 score on the back of Flying U Rodeo’s Lil Red Hawk was the highest marked ride to date in the bareback riding and netted the Airdrie cowboy a cool first place cheque for $26,230 to raise his total WNFR earnings to $48,782 and jump him to fifth place in the average.

But Vold made it clear that it’s the go-round buckle that is the icing on the cake. “I was close a couple of times the last time I was here but didn’t quite get there,” Vold admitted.

“I saw some of the guys this week with their buckles and I thought to myself, I want one of those,” the 29-year-old superstar added. “Canada will be pretty excited about this. It’ll be quite the night over there.” (At the nightly buckle presentation at the South Point Casino).

Inglis, Manitoba’s Orin Larsen had his best result to date, posting an 83 on J Bar J’s Pass the Hat to finish just one half point out of the bareback riding money.

On the best night so far for ‘TeamCanada’, a pair of saddle bronc riders enjoyed a lucrative round four as well. Jake Watson of Hudson Hope, British Columbia put together a solid 84-point effort on the Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles to split 3/4 and collect $13,326 on the night. Right behind  Watson was Zeke Thurston whose 83.5 on United Pro Rodeo’s Ropin Dreams netted the Big Valley cowboy a 5/6 split and $5,500. The third Canadian bronc rider fared less well. Canadian champion, Clay Elliott was unable to navigate eight successful seconds on the back of United Pro Rodeo’s Pow Wow Nights.

The dream sequence that has been the Ryder Wright story of the WNFR continued as the 18 year-old became just the second rough stock cowboy in the history of the event to win four consecutive rounds outright. (The other was two time world champion Robert Etbauer in 1991). In round four, the amazing teenager who is riding here with his brother, his dad, and three uncles (qualifier CoBurn Bradshaw married into the family in 2013) spurred out an 85.5 points on Flying Five Rodeo’s Sundance.

The Utah teenager, who cam to the Finals in 14th place, is now just a thousand dollars out of the lead for the world and sits comfortably in the lead in the average while season leader and defending champion, Jacobs Crawley, bucked off his round four horse.

Team ropers Levi Simpson of Ponoka and Jeremy Buhler of Arrowwood, AB, kept their solid run going despite catching one leg on the backside to incur their second five second penalty in a row. Tonight, however, saw several teams struggle with six no times and a broken barrier leaving the Alberta duo splitting 6th for a $2,115 payday per man. The ‘go-round from hell’ , while costly for  so many, including Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll, was especially beneficial for Simpson and Buhler as the first all-Canadian team to qualify for the NFR team roping climbed all the way to second place in the cash-rich average. The round was won by the Minor brothers, Riley and Brady Minor of Ellensburg, Washington with a 4.4 second run.

In the steer wrestling, the big man from Appleton, Minnesota, J.D. Struxness, followed up a 1/2 split in the third round with a 3.8 run in round four to win it outright this time around. And in the tie down roping, Marty Yates, the Stephenville, Texas hand was just two tenths of a second off Cody Ohl’s arena record to pocket the big cheque. Yates who qualified for the WNFR in 15th place was 6.8 seconds for the go-round victory. The barrel racing got blazing fast as Michelle McLeod of Whitesboro, Texas smoked a run of 13.49 to post her first go-round win of the 2016 Finals.

Jake Vold wasn’t the only Canadian to collect the go round buckle on this night. The Calgary Stampede’s Wranglers Extreme was top bull of the round as he carried Sulphur, Oklahoma’s Brennon Eldred to 86.5 points and the win. The seven-year-old bull was purchased by the Stampede in the spring from Todd Braithwaite and just three weeks ago carried eventual Canadian Champion, Jordan Hansen to a second place go round result with an 85 score.

The performances of Stampede stock added to an already productive week for the organization’s stock contracting division. Earlier in the week, it was announced that the Stampede had been named the primary stock contractor for Horse Heaven Round Up in Kennewick, Washington.

“We already have a major presence in the Pacific Northwest at that time,” Stampede spokesman Keith Marrington related, “so this fits really well with our program. Kennewick is a very progressive committee; they have $20,000 added and a short round so we’re very excited to become the primary stock contractor there.”

Outlaw Buckers’ Rodeo’s No Good Deed was also outstanding in the round as he bucked off NFR rookie Rory Maier from Timber Lake, South Dakota.

Canadians Impressive in Round 3

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION – LAS VEGAS, NEV (December 3, 2016)

The all-Canadian matchup of three time Canadian champion, Jake Vold and the Big Stone bareback horse Spilled Perfume, netted the Ponoka cowboy 83.5 points for a 4/5 split and $8,884. For Vold, who now lives in Airdrie, it was his second placing in the first three rounds.

“I’ve had that horse before,” Vold commented, “and it’s been kind of a love-hate relationship. But I went back to one of my older riggins tonight and it felt really good. It’s early yet but I’m happy with the way the Finals have gone so far.”

And for the second night in a row, it was a Canadian horse grabbing a share of the spotlight as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil carried Minnesota talent, Tanner Aus to a spectacular 88.5 and a share of first place. Aus shared the winner’s circle with Clayton Biglow, the California-bred PRCA bareback riding Rookie of the Year who so far has split first and second in two rounds and been second in the other for total winnings of over $77,000 and top spot in the average.

The second Canadian bareback rider, Orin Larsen, put together his best effort so far with a 79.5 on Corey and Lange’s Tripwire but finished out of the money.

In the team roping, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler had a five second penalty rob them of another big cheque as their 9.0 (with the penalty) left them out of the money in the round but the Alberta duo sits in third place in the lucrative average race after three performances. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll, continued to struggle and were blanked for the third time in three nights.

Zeke Thurston, the second generation Water Valley, Alberta bronc rider shook off the disappointment of round two’s 7.92 second buckoff and spurred out an 85 point ride on J Bar J’s Julia for a 2/3 split in the round and his first cheque of the finals—a tidy $18,192. Thurston split the round with Rusty Wright but it was the youngest Wright, Ryder, who continued to be the story of this finals as he rode Powder River Rodeo’s Lipstick N Whiskey to 86.5 and his third go-round win in a row. The eighteen year-old’s earnings to date are a whopping  $88.000; he holds a commanding 14 point lead in the average and he’s climbed from 14th place coming in to the WNFR to second place in the world standings, hot on the heels of season leader and reigning world champion, Jacobs Crawley.

It was a split of first place in the steer wrestling as well with Tyler Waguesback and JD Struxness (Louisiana and Minnesota respectively) bulldogging their steers in 3.9 seconds for $23,480 apiece.

Apache, Oklahoma’s Hunter Herrin and Winnie, Texas cowboy Cade Swor split the round in the tie down roping with identical 7.0 second rounds. And four time Canadian champion Lisa Lockhart and the ever-dependable Louie blazed the cloverleaf pattern in 13.92 seconds for her first go round win of this finals.

And in the bull riding, the much anticipated matchup between reigning world champion Sage Kimsey and the Calgary Stampede bull, Night Moves was as advertised. The two time world champion won the confrontation to score 87.5 and finish second in the round. But it was another former World Champion, Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee, Washington who brought the Thomas and Mack faithful to their feet. Proctor matched up with the 2016 Bull of the Year, Midnight Bender, for a spectacular 91 score and the round win. A second Canadian bull, Spotted Demon from the Big Stone Rodeo Company made short work of the Sulphur, Oklahoma hand, Brennon Aldred.

Canadian Stock Lights It Up in Vegas!

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION – LAS VEGAS, NEV – December 2, 2016

After an opening round that saw three events won by first time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifiers (Pamela Capper in the barrel race, 18 year-old Ryder Wright in the bronc riding and Canadians Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler in team roping)—round two featured a pair of four-legged superstars from the north side of the 49th parallel as the best of the Canadian contingent.

In a sensational round of bronc riding that featured the eliminator pen, the eighteen year-old Utah sensation, Ryder Wright, did it again, this time with an 86 score on the three time Saddle Bronc of the Year in Canada (including 2016), Northcott-Macza’s Get Smart.

“I’d never been on him but I’d seen him with my dad a couple of years ago here,” the youngest of the five Wrights at this WNFR commented. “He tried to buck me off every jump but I managed to sneak by him.”

The back to back wins have moved the teenage talent from 14th place coming into the Finals all the way to 4th place with over $133,000 won.

Eight one hundredths of a second doesn’t seem like a long time but when you’re on the back of the Beutler and Son bronc, Killer Bee, it’s awful close to an eternity. Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston won Tucson in 2015 on the great gelding with 90 points but this time it was the horse’s turn with the stopwatch showing 7.92 seconds when the two time WNFR qualifier hit the ground. It was a happier story for Hudson Hope, BC’s Jake Watson as he posted an 83 on Frontier Rodeo’s Tip Off to take home the fourth place cheque of $11,000. The third Canadian bronc rider, Nanton’s Clay Elliott, who just a few weeks ago claimed his first Canadian bronc riding title, finished out of the money in round two with a 75.5 point ride on Pickett Rodeo’s Faded Memories. And another of the Wright clan, Jake, placed 5th in the round with an 80.5 point ride on the Calgary Stampede’s Tiger Warrior.

And to cap off a great night for Canadian stock contractors, Wayne Vold’s spectacular yellow bull, Cooper’s Comet, carried Roscoe Jarboe of New Plymouth, Idaho to a whopping 88.5 score to top the field in the bull riding. The bull had a great trip and the watch read exactly 8.0 seconds when the Idaho cowboy hit the ground. The 88.5 score is the highest to date at this year’s Finals and a Thomas and Mack packed house roared its approval when the score was announced.

The two Canadian rough stock successes meant that two of the three go-round winner buckles went to Canadian stock contractors.

In the bareback riding, season leader Tim O’Connell of Zwingle, Iowa added to his season lead, splitting the round with California cowboy and 2016 Medicine Hat Stampede Champion Clayton Biglow, both recording 85 points. Canadians Jake Vold and Orin Larsen struggled in the round—Vold posting a 69.5 on Frontier Rodeo’s Senora and Larsen managing a 73 score on Beutler and Sons What Happens.

The Canadian team roping pair of Simpson and Buhler added a sixth place cheque to their first round win – posting a 4.9 to pocket $4,230 a man. Second in the round were 2016 defending Canadian Champions, Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza; the $20,732 cheque moved Bird, the Cutbank, Montana header, to #1 in the world All-Around standings.

In the steer wrestling, it was the 2013 PRCA Resistol Rookie of the Year Jason Thomas, a Benton, Arkansas bulldogger, smoking a 3.5 second run to capture the round. And Brazilian tie down roper Marcos Costa turned in a 7.6 second run to edge veteran Cade Swor by a tenth of a second for the go-round win.

On a night that featured nine runs under 14 seconds, the fastest of the fast was Utah cowgirl, Kimmie Wall, with a blistering 13.79.

Canadians Make History at Wrangler NFR

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CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler had already written a page in Canadian rodeo history when the pair became the first all-Canadian team to qualify for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in the team roping. But they might have written an even cooler story when the duo blistered a 4.4 second run to win the opening round and collect the go-round winner’s cheques of $26,230 each. Simpson, the Ponoka (via Claresholm) header and Buhler from Arrowwood, showed almost no sign of first-time jitters as they backed into the box at the hallowed Thomas and Mack Arena for the first time.

“To tell you the truth,” Buhler commented after the run, “the money wasn’t on my mind at all. It was just awesome. I’ve run that steer in my head ten million times. It was nice to run him in real life tonight. And the way it went, it couldn’t get any better.”

His partner was equally thrilled, “When we were on stage getting our back numbers, it kind of hit me right there,” Simpson admitted. “Well, maybe we could be back here getting a buckle. But to have it happen in round one is pretty exciting.”

Both cowboys were especially appreciative of the support they have received from the Canadian rodeo community. “You have a whole country standing behind you, Buhler noted. “The messages, the calls, everything we got from our families, friends, acquaintances… it felt awesome knowing that there’s that many people pulling for you.”

Unfortunately, Kolton Schmidt of Barrhead, Alberta and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll took a no time as, like Simpson and Buhler, Schmidt made his debut appearance at the WNFR.

Jake Vold was the first of the eight man strong Canadian contingent to display his wares at Thursday night’s first round of the 2016 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. The Ponoka native posted an 81 score on Sankey and Robinson’s Sozo to earn a 5/6/6 split and $3,666. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as well for Inglis, Manitoba’s Orin Larsen as he and Frontier Rodeo’s Night Watch combined for only 66.5, not the start the number two man in the world coming into the NFR was looking for.

Recently married Tanner Aus, the Minnesota bareback rider, won the opening round with an 85.5 score to collect $26,230

The saddle bronc riding was the other event that featured Canadian contestants and like the team roping there were three Canucks three in all. Clay Elliot had a tough start to his ten days in Las Vegas as he was bucked off a nasty bronc from Dakota Rodeo called Bridal Shower. Jake Watson, the BC man who just made the WNFR roster in 15th spot, spurred out a 77.5 on Bar T Rodeo’s Heart of Gold. That left it up to Zeke Thurston on Sweet Maria from Pete Carr Rodeo and Thurston, at his second consecutive Finals managed an 80.5 to finish just out of the money in a round that saw the amazing Wright family finish one-two-three. It was 18-year-old Ryder, (Dad) Cody and (Uncle) Jake with 87.5, 86.5 and 85.5 respectively. First man out, Alan Boore, of Ardell, Utah, was 4th in the round with an 85 on a Canadian bronc, C5 Rodeo’s Black Hills.

Other winners included travelling partners Clayton Hass and Tyler Waguespack in the steer wrestling, each with 3.8 seconds on the clock; two time Canadian champion tie-down roper and 2013 World titleist, Shane Hanchey of Sulphur, Louisiana with a 7.1 second run; Cheney, Washington’s Pamela Capper with a an arena record-tying 13.75 in the barrel race and in the bull riding, two time World Champion, Sage Kimsey did what Sage Kimsey does, posting a sensational 86.5 on Frontier Rodeo’s Aftershock to win the round. A couple of Canadian bulls made their presence felt. Outlaw Buckers’ Chip Shot carried Brennon Eldred to an 83 points and a third place cheque. And Kesler Championship Rodeo’s Flight Plan bucked off Garrett Tribble.

PRCA & CPRA Extend Agreement

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COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. – November 10, 2017 – The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association have agreed on terms to extend their co-sanctioning agreement for the 2017 rodeo season.

PRCA Commissioner Karl Stressman was pleased to reach the agreement with CPRA Representative Jeff Robson.

“We’re very happy with the job Jeff has done in steering the CPRA in the right direction,” Stressman said. “We’re proud of our co-sanctioned rodeos in Canada, and the Canadian athletes who compete in PRCA rodeos are valuable to our sport. We’re excited to extend our agreement with the CPRA for another year.”

On Oct. 19, the CPRA and Edmonton Northlands negotiators announced the Canadian Finals Rodeo will remain at its traditional home for the past 43 years – the Northlands Coliseum. The contract keeps the rodeo in Edmonton through the 2018 CFR. The 2016 CFR began yesterday, and runs through Nov. 13.

“Renewing our PRCA sanctioning agreement is very important to all of our committees and cowboys,” Robson said. “Our two organizations have a long-standing history of working together collectively for the betterment of rodeo. We are happy to get this done to ensure a prosperous relationship between the PRCA and CPRA.”

For more information about the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) visit online at RodeoCanada.com. 

About the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association

The PRCA, headquartered in Colorado Springs, Colo., is the largest and oldest professional rodeo-sanctioning body in the world. The recognized leader in ProRodeo, the PRCA is committed to maintaining the highest standards. The PRCA, a membership-based organization, sanctions approximately 600 rodeos annually, and there are more than 30 million fans in the U.S. The PRCA showcases the world’s best cowboys by televising the sport’s premier events, including the Wrangler Champions Challenge and the world-renowned Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on CBS Sports Net (DISH channel 158, DirecTV channel 221). The Justin Boots Playoffs and Championships, Ram National Circuit Finals Rodeo, All American ProRodeo Finals, and the PRCA Xtreme Bulls Tour will also air on CBS Sports Net, as well as live stream at wranglernetwork.com. PRCA-sanctioned rodeos raise more than $26 million for local and national charities. For comprehensive coverage of the cowboy sport, read the ProRodeo Sports News, the official publication of the PRCA, and for daily updates of news and results visit the PRCA’s official website, www.prorodeo.com.

 

CRPA and Edmonton Northlands Launch New Partnership

Photo credit:

Photo credit: Mike Copeman, Courtesy of the CPRA.

Excitement was the order of the day as Canadian Professional Rodeo Association and Edmonton Northlands negotiators made it official. The Canadian Finals Rodeo will remain at its traditional home – Northlands Coliseum.

“We’re happy to be back!” noted CPRA Canadian Finals spokesman Jeff Robson. “We’ve enjoyed 43 great years in Edmonton and we’re excited the partnership doesn’t have to end. We’re eagerly anticipating a future with Northlands as we extend our CFR contract for two more years.”

Robson went on to say, “The 2017-18 deal is similar to what we have at present in some respects, but the event will enjoy a new flavour. We’ll streamline a few things. And this is the first of a number of exciting initiatives with Northlands.”

As far as contract specifics, both organizations are still working to confirm details.

“The money for the contestants is relatively close to what it is now. We’re staying with six performances and we’ll tie in 100% with Farm Fair. As far as dates, these will be announced in due course.” indicated Robson.

A new component that both partners are excited about is an endeavour where a reasonable dollar figure will be set aside to give back to rodeo committees. “We value our member rodoes,” emphasized Robson. “We want them to know that. And we’d like to help them be viable on a long term basis.

“We’re positive, moving forward and looking ahead!”

With just 21 days until the 2016 edition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo kicks off, today’s announcement was welcome news for competitors, committees, partners and fans.

Tim Reid, CEO of Edmonton Northlands, echoed Robson’s optimism.

“This is an opportunity to get close to the agriculture industry and showcase its diversity through both Farm Fair International and the CFR,” Reid commented. “The economic impact of the two events is $50 million for the city. It is a great time to be in the Capital region and we look forward to celebrating and growing the western lifestyle.”

Canadian Champion tie-down roper and CPRA board member Alwin Bouchard sees the announcement of the new agreement as a positive for future competitors.

“For me, it gives the kids coming up in my sport a chance to have what I have. It opens the door for rodeo to be even better than it’s been for me.”

2016 ladies barrel racing season leader and three time CFR qualifier, Kirsty White added, “I’m proud of the CPRA, Northlands – everyone involved – for rallying together, overcoming obstacles and getting the relationship happening. And as a member, I’m ecstatic!”

For more information, check out: RodeoCanada.com.