SUBMITTED BY DWAYNE ERICKSON
Despite the rain, the wind and the mud – plus two performances under sunny skies – the group of Innisfail volunteers managed to complete the five performances and opening slack of the Wrangler Canadian Tour Rodeo on the Daines ranch. And nobody went missing in the muck. Furthermore, there was even an arena record set.
Utah’s Jack Hannum stopped the clock in 6.8 seconds during Wednesday night’s opening slack of the tie-down roping to erase the 6.9 posted by Texan Jeff Chapman in 1999. He thinks he might have caught a break.
“There was only 4-5 inches of mud in the arena when I roped,” Hannum told PRCA media co-ordinator Jim Bainbridge, “and I heard that, in later perfs, the mud was sloshing around like water.”
The time also equalled his career best. The interesting part of it all is that while the infield conditions got worse – certainly deeper – he and Nebraska barrel racer Trula Churchill were the only leaders in slack to see their times stand up through the rest of the rodeo.
It didn’t seem like the conditions favored those who competed in any particular performance for the most part.
Steven Turner split first in the bull riding with an 87-point score on the Northcott family bull Spanish Fork. He rode in Thursday night’s opening performance. Craig McPhee covered Wayne Vold’s little buckskin bull Seeing Double for the same score in Friday night’s action.
The duo of Trevor Jones and Dustin Round won the team roping with a time of six-seconds flat. They also competed on Thursday night.
Dustan McPhee posted the highest bareback riding score on Saturday with an 87 on the Outlaw Buckers black mare Jay Bar Nine. And, in Sunday’s closing performance, Dustin Flundra won the saddle bronc riding with an 85.5 on Calgary’s strong bay mare Mata Fact and Oregon’s Trevor Knowles captured the steer wrestling with a 4.5-second run.
An event champion emerged on each day of the rodeo, no matter what the weather was like. The steer wrestling paid 10 monies. Three of those winners came out of the slack and another three out of Sunday’s action. One contestant placed in each of the other four performances.
Of the 11 bull riders who placed in the money, two rode Thursday, three Friday, and two in each of Saturday afternoon, Saturday night and Sunday afternoon.
The team roping was also fairly evenly split with three teams placing on Thursday, one Saturday afternoon, two Saturday night and four on Sunday afternoon.
So, it really didn’t matter when everybody was up – with the possible exception of the barrel racing. Nine of the 15 monies in that event were decided in the slack. And, through the entire rodeo, not one horse fell down.
Then, there was the obvious sight of animal care taking place behind the concession stand. The first thing the timed event contestants did after leaving the arena was hose down their horses — long before they hosed the mud off themselves.
As Knowles and traveling partners Clayton Haas, Jason Miller and Lee Graves were driving through Innisfail on their way out of town, they spotted a car wash. They parked their truck and trailer, hauled out clean clothes and towels, and took a shower in the car wash.
“We just grabbed that wand and went to spraying the mud off each other,” Knowles chuckled. “We were just driving by and thought it would be a good spot to get clean.”
Was it all that private?
“We didn’t look that close but it seemed it was pretty private.”
The rodeo marked the second year in a row that Turner has finished first in the bull riding. And, the money he won was enough to give him the all-around buckle, which he also captured last year when he won both the bull riding and steer wrestling.
The Cochrane product also won the bull riding in 2003 and the steer wrestling in 2008.
Overall, the four-time Canadian all-around champion has won $34,304 out of Innisfail since he took out his pro card in 2002.
Flundra’s win was his fourth on the Daines Ranch, three in the open and one in the novice. Over 13 years competing at Innisfail he’s earned a total of $32,117.
McPhee, the one in the bareback riding and no relation to the bull rider, also won Innisfail in 2008. Last month, he topped Grande Prairie for the second year in a row.
Knowles previous history at Innisfail included a sixth-place finish in the average for $3,328 in 2007 when the steer wrestling was a two-header and a $704 payday in 2009 for a 4.1-second run.
Please visit rodeocanada.com for rodeo results and standings.
Dale Ashbacher, the senior member of the Ashbacher brothers who dominated the wild horse race scene from the mid-1980s through the early 1990s, lost his life in a horrific highway accident on June 16th. Dale, running the original family’s farm in the Hoosier, Sask., area, was killed in a collision with an oil tanker while on his way home after helping a neighbor with a calving operation.
He was 50 years old.
Ashbacher, along with brothers Duane and Darrel, won the Canadian Wild Horse Race championship eight consecutive years, six times under Dale’s name and twice under Duane. They also won the Calgary Stampede five times.
A funeral service is scheduled for the community hall in nearby Major, Sask., on Friday at 1 p.m.
In addition to his brothers, Dale is survived by daughter Alexandra (Glazier) and son Owen and four sisters, Linda, Llana, Loanne and Lorna.