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Pro Rodeo

CANADA

TY TAYPOTAT Bareback rider Ty Taypotat, captured at the 2015 CFR by photographer Gracey Dove for the TV show, underEXPOSED. The documentary will air early in the new year on APTN.

PHOTO BY GRACEY DOVE

Road to the CFR, page 42

RODEOCANADA.COM

INSIDER


CALEB SMIDT

TIE-DOWN ROPER

LEAD,

DON’T FOLLOW. ®

C I N C H J E A N S . C O M


C.P.R.A.

MESSAGE FROM THE

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

W

ITH THE CINCH PRO RODEO CANADA SERIES FINAL WRAPPING UP AS THIS MESSAGE REACHES RODEO FANS, THE FOCUS IS ON

THE 43RD CANADIAN FINALS RODEO SLATED FOR EARLY NOVEMBER IN EDMONTON, ALTA. BOTH FINALS CELEBRATE THE SKILL AND DEDICATION OF OUR RODEO ATHLETES WHO HALE FROM ACROSS

PHOTO COURTESY CPRA

NORTH AMERICA. The 2016 Canadian Pro Rodeo roster is unique by virtue of the high number of young competitors headed to their first CFR. (More about this on page 36 of this issue.) Join us as we showcase the best in Canada from November 9–13 at Northlands Coliseum (formerly known as Rexall Place) in Edmonton. Equally exciting is the fact that we have, as of late August, nine Canadian competitors in the top 15 in the world pro rodeo standings (with a couple more just outside the fifteen) meaning that we could see one of the largest groups of Canadian contestants on the NFR roster in our history. This past summer has been an interesting one for the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. CPRA administration and board changes and a reduction of sponsorship dollars for a number of our rodeos due to the economic downturn in western Canada, not to mention adverse weather conditions at times, have resulted in a series of challenges that had to be dealt with on a number of levels. Because of the dedicated efforts of CPRA staff and board members and the stepping up of a tremendous group of new people, we are confident that we have turned the corner and are moving forward in a positive, professional manner to complete what in many ways has been a terrific rodeo season. New CPRA Board members include Renne Reidy from the Okotoks Pro Rodeo committee, Al Bouchard who returns to the board as our tie-down roping director, and Dustin Flundra and Tanner Girletz who take over as our saddle bronc riding and bull riding directors, respectively. Special thanks goes out to those four individuals for coming forward when our association needed the help. One of the strengths of our board is the variety of voices, backgrounds and experiences these members bring to the organization. We now have a fully functioning board and cowboycountrymagazine.com

the business of the association is being carried out in a timely and efficient manner. The position of president will be addressed at a special meeting of the association. Check the CPRA website (rodeocanada.com) for updates. Other endeavours we’re currently working on include preparation for the 2016 Canadian Finals Rodeo — which should be another exciting showcase of Canadian rodeo talent. And negotiations continue with respect to CFR 2017 and beyond. Our agreement with the PRCA is up this year and discussions have been taking place with that body to put a new agreement in place. Overall, the committees, volunteers and sponsors that make professional rodeo possible have risen to the challenges that weather and a difficult economic climate have presented to make our 2016 season a truly memorable one. Special thanks to all who have offered their help and support through some trying times for all of us. With your dedication and confidence in Canadian Professional Rodeo, we believe that exciting opportunities are ahead. Next up is our Canadian Finals Rodeo. And we congratulate all of the cowboys and cowgirls who once again showed why this sport is so special to our fans. To those who qualified for the CFR and those who didn’t—our appreciation and admiration for what you do every day has never been greater. Let’s have an amazing CFR. See you there! —  The CPRA Board of Directors

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

The Short Round

By BARB POULSEN and DAVE POULSEN

2016 CALGARY STAMPEDE NOVICE TOUR CHAMPIONS Designed to help build future stars of rodeo, the Calgary Stampede Novice Tour covers entry fees and provides additional prize money for novice bareback and saddle bronc riders, and steer riders competing at tour rodeos in Hand Hills, Lea Park, Innisfail, Ponoka, Calgary and Strathmore. The 2016 Tour Champions include novice bareback rider Tanner Young of Sylvan Lake, Alta., novice saddle bronc rider, Kolby Wanchuk of Sherwood Park, Alta., and steer rider, Carter Sahli of Red Deer, Alta. Second-generation cowboy, Kolby Wanchuk, was diligent about entering the Stampede Novice Tour events where the 20-year-old’s attitude and talent paid off. “It’s a real cool deal,” Wanchuk commented. “I just

took one horse at a time and did the best I could. The Tour is great for the young guys going down the road. And when you check in at one of the Tour rodeos, they (office staff ) let you know that your entry fees are covered.”  — B.P.

Carter Sahli, 2016 Calgary Stampede Novice Tour Steer Riding Champion 2016 Strathmore Stampede

Kolby Wanchuk accepting his trophy buckle and commemorative bronze from Calgary Stampede Rodeo Administrator Barry McGrath

Tanner Young accepts the buckle and commemorative bronze for winning the 2016 Calgary Stampede Novice Bareback Riding Tour

Justin Berg

32

Layton Green

Luke Butterfield

While Luke Butterfield has clinched a berth at the 2016 Canadian Finals Rodeo, the 2012 Canadian champion saddle bronc rider isn’t planning much time off leading up to the CFR. “Layton Green has a real good shot at getting to the National Finals Rodeo and he wants to get to a lot of U.S. rodeos this fall so Justin Berg and I are gonna jump

in with him and see if we can help him make it to Las Vegas.” It’s a cool gesture from a couple of bronc riders helping a buddy make the miles necessary to possibly capture that elusive berth at the prestigious WNFR. “And heck, we’ll be trying to win some ourselves,” Butterfield grinned, “so it should be fun.” —D.P.

Canadian Cowboy Country October/November 2016

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN

WITH A LITTLE HELP FROM MY FRIENDS


C.P.R.A.

Jake Vold sustained cracked, fractured and separated ribs at Ponoka. Vold returned 31 days later with backto-back wins at La Crete and Dawson Creek, B.C., and more importantly, was in perfect health for his wedding in mid-August.

SADDLE BRONC Sam Kelts suffered a broken ankle when he landed wrong coming off his horse at Omak, Wash. Kelts had surgery and was expected to miss six to eight weeks. He expects to return for the CFR. Tyrel Larsen had almost exactly the same injury as Sam Kelts when a horse fell with him at Lea Park. He too had surgery and was out for eight weeks. Larsen returned to action at the Tour Challenge in Cody, Wyo., and won a second place cheque there.

BULL RIDING Jordan Hansen, 86.5 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s Kish Me at 2015 CFR

CPRA INJURY UPDATE 2016 has been a tough year on the bodies of CPRA competitors. While that’s the case every season in one of the most physically punishing sports on the planet, this year has proven to be more challenging than most for the health of rodeo contestants. What follows is an update on the relative health on some of the more prominent injuries sustained to date.

BAREBACK RIDING Ty Taypotat; torn biceps,  see Tim Ellis’s Road to the CFR column. Luke Creasy fractured his pelvis at Williams Lake. While the first prognosis was for him to be out for the year, Creasy returned in early August to resume his pursuit of a WNFR berth. Clint Laye initially had head and neck problems sustained during the Rapid City/ Fort Worth run. Laye returned to competition only to suffer a broken elbow at Las Vegas on May 13. While the arm has fully healed, Laye will not return to competition until the 2017 season. cowboycountrymagazine.com

Adam Jamison the New Zealand bull rider was diagnosed with a severe concussion last winter and will miss the entire 2016 season. He plans to be back in 2017. Fabian Dueck, the Paraguayan-born cowboy, has had a series of concussions. The most recent and most serious was at Medicine Hat, where he also injured his shoulder. Dueck plans to be back for his first CFR. Jordan Hansen suffered a severely broken ankle and torn ankle ligaments at Cheyenne. The original prognosis saw him out for at least six months, but the recovery is going faster than expected and Hansen is hoping that the CFR will be his first rodeo back. Billy West of Cadogan had shoulder surgery in February. He had hoped to be back for Strathmore but didn’t feel the shoulder was right and will miss the rest of the 2016 season.

BULL FIGHTERS It’s been an especially difficult year for Canadian bull fighters. Scott Waye (broken shoulder, 19 screws to repair it); Bo Byrne (dislocated hip incurred at Wainwright) and Brett Monea (broken tibia when a bull stepped on his leg). All three missed significant time during the season but all three have returned to the arena.  — D.P.

Kail Ethier, member of the rodeo crew at the 2016 Dawson Creek Stampede

REMEMBERING GREG KESLER The 2016 professional rodeo season is nearly at an end. One of the challenging realities this year for many contestants and rodeo personnel has been the absence of Greg Kesler. The patriarch of the Kesler Rodeo stock contracting family passed away in April. Among the many moving tributes to Greg has been the distribution of commemorative red neckties to many of the people who worked with, for and around Greg on the rodeo trail. Special recognition goes to the Kesler family, who initiated and carried out this effort as a way to honour a stock contractor, friend and family man. — B.P.

33


Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

Kyle Thomson teams up with Vold Rodeo’s WNFR champion saddle bronc horse, Awesome, at the 2015 CFR

KYLE THOMSON RETIRES FROM COMPETITION Another final appearance highlighted the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo when five-time Canadian champion Kyle Thomson, made the last ride of his tremendous career during the Saturday afternoon performance. Thomson, who captured four All Around titles and added a High Point title as well, is one of only a handful of Canadians to win the coveted Linderman Award, the PRCA honour that goes to the top money earning cowboy competing in three events — at least one rough stock and at least one timed event. The Lundbreck, Alta., cowboy won the Linderman in 2012. “The thing I’m proudest of in my rodeo career is that I was able to have my family with me for so much of my time in this sport,” the modest Thomson noted. “Rodeo is all about family and it’s given so much to me over the years.” —D.P.

HIP FINAL CONCERT BACKGROUNDS SLACK The slack at the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo had a unique element as it played out after the rodeo’s Saturday afternoon performance. Sound and music coordinator, Stewart Schramm tapped into the CBC telecast of The Tragically Hip’s final concert and the Hip provided the soundtrack for the slack. Schramm even picked up the feed on his computer monitor so that announcers, Dustin Edwards and David Poulsen (both huge Hip fans), could be among the millions of Canadians watching the magical moment in Canadian music history unfolding in Kingston, Ont. 34

“Twenty years from now, we’ll remember where we were for the final Tragically Hip concert,” Edwards noted. CPRA rodeo photographer, Billie-Jean Duff added, “That was the coolest ever, listening to The Tragically Hip and watching rodeo at the same time.” Steer wrestler Dustin Walker may request the Hip for all his runs in future. The Vanscoy, Sask., bulldogger posted the fastest time of his career and of the 2016 Canadian rodeo season with a 3.1 during the “Hip slack.” —D.P.

DWAYNE ERICKSON HONOURED If Dwayne Erickson had you on speed dial, you knew you’d arrived. At least that’s how many rodeo contestants viewed a call from one of the most notable, memorable Canadian rodeo writers. Dwayne was an old-style newspaper man who focused on sports. A request in the late ’50s to write a rodeo story launched the skilled journalist into the world of professional rodeo — a career move the sometimes crusty writer embraced.  For the next several decades, Dwayne covered the sport with passion and skill. He was responsible for regular stories, results and standings appearing alongside other sports in the Calgary and Edmonton Suns and the Calgary Herald. Dwayne wrote for numerous other organizations as well, among them: Canadian Rodeo News, Pro Rodeo Sports News, CBC-TV and the Winnipeg Free Press. He covered his first Calgary Stampede in 1982 and was a fixture at both the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo and Canadian Finals Rodeo for close to 30 years. A Canadian Professional Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee and a Calgary Stampede Pioneer of Rodeo, Dwayne was also a twotime recipient of the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association Media Award for Excellence in Print Journalism.  Until his passing in the spring of 2013, Dwayne occupied the same chair in the South Media Press Box each Calgary Stampede. So it was particularly fitting that at this year’s Stampede, at the suggestion of Dwayne’s media colleagues, the Calgary Stampede renamed the South Media Press Box, the Dwayne Erickson Media Suite. — B.P. Canadian Cowboy Country October/November 2016

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; MIKE HOMER; COURTESY OF LIVE NATION

THE SHORT ROUND


Alberta’s Country Legend

NOW

is province wide with

Listen to Tim Ellis’ CFR Broadcast November 9-13 LIVE on 840 CFCW & 910 CFCW


Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

ORIN LARSEN DREAM SEASON By DIANNE FINSTAD

B

AREBACK RIDER ORIN LARSEN HAS BEEN PUTTING TOGETHER A YEAR TO REMEMBER

IN 2016. WITH OVER $100,000 WON BEFORE THE FINALS EVEN START, HE HAS EXCELLED AT SOME OF THE BIGGEST VENUES IN THE SPORT.

After riding at his first Wrangler National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas last December, Larsen has proven he fits well with the world’s best. Raised in Manitoba, the two-time College Champion launched this season with a career best weekend. In February, he claimed the San Antonio bareback title — then added a Tucson win — for a $29,000 haul. 36

With his name at the top end of the world leaderboard, Larsen has been focused on getting back to Las Vegas. But he also wanted to get to his first Canadian Finals Rodeo, so he’s made every trip north of the border count. Starting with a good cheque early in the year at Grande Prairie, he followed up with a win at Leduc, and placings at Hand Hills, Innisfail, Medicine Hat, Strathmore, plus a healthy $5,200 from the Ponoka Stampede. “It’s always been there,” said Larsen, of his goal of being in Edmonton to contend for his home nation’s title. “The problem was making it work with the rodeos down south. But this year I’ve made a point of getting my 15 Canadian rodeos in. “I was fortunate to have the winter and spring I had down there, which allowed me to come up here a bit more.” Meanwhile, stateside he was still clicking big — including another highlight result at Cheyenne’s Frontier Days where he was first in the long round and the average, for a $16,330 payday. “It’s something I’ve never experienced before,” beamed the 25-year-old. “They have a big ceremony with the Governor of

Wyoming. It’s quite a deal — one to check off your bucket list.” Larsen was born in Strathmore and lived his first years in the Hand Hills area, before the family moved out to a ranch at Inglis, Man. His father Kevin had ridden bulls, and it wasn’t long before Orin and brothers Tyrel and Kane were riding steers and staging their own cowboy competitions in the home corral. But their mom Wanda had a say in the boys’ activities too, taking them, along with their sister Cassie, to Taekwondo lessons. “I guess our secret’s out,” chuckled Larsen. “Mom made us go since we were little. I think it’s helped my riding, with stretching and balance, and keeping aware of your surroundings.” They all achieved their black belts, but Larsen insists those days are behind him, as he prefers saving his kicks for bareback horses. After high school, the boys pursued college rodeo in Idaho and Oklahoma where Orin was influenced by bareback riding greats like Kelly Wardell and Cody DeMers. Tyrel chose to pursue rodeo with a saddle in hand, while Kane went the bull riding route. It was a special thrill for Orin to be at the NFR last year with Tyrel. Another high point for Larsen this season was the Calgary Stampede, “a bit of a vacation stop,” since he was able to stay with his grandparents near Airdrie, and get things turned around after a fourth of July run that wasn’t as successful as he’d hoped. But that was soon forgotten, as he built a collection of daily Stampede bronze awards, winning three straight go-rounds. And although the $22,300 he earned won’t count toward a world title, it looks good in his bank account. The timing was perfect, as he and girlfriend Alexa Minch, a nurse, are remodeling a house they’ve purchased in Gering, Neb. “It’s been a whirlwind for me. I’ve been having a lot of fun this year.” c

Canadian Cowboy Country October/November 2016

PHOTO BY JEREMY WOMBOLD

Orin Larsen earned 86.5 points on Calgary Stampede Rodeo’s Peigan Warrior — good for the long go win at the 2016 Strathmore Stampede

COMPETITOR PROFILE


C.P.R.A.

Shaggy

STOCK PROFILES

3.6 seconds – Josh Harden, 2016 Coronation Pro Rodeo Josh Harden, Big Valley, Alta. By TIM ELLIS

J Vold Rodeo’s Cooper’s Comet won this confrontation with Devon Mezei at the 2015 CFR

127 Cooper’s Comet 90.25 points – Lonnie West, Ponoka Stampede Finals Vold Rodeo Ltd, High River, Alta. By DIANNE FINSTAD

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; COURTESY 2016 COWTOWN PRO RODEO/MIKE COPEMAN

I

f you want to do some star gazing in the bull pen these days, keep your eyes on Cooper’s Comet. The five-year-old yellow bull is top dog in the Vold Rodeo herd, but spokesman Nansen Vold admits this one was a lucky find for the family string. “I’d like to say we raised him,” confessed Vold. “But we bought him in a cow-calf pair from (former bull rider) Aaron Gibb.” Right from the start, the bull showed potential. “The second time we bucked him, we knew we had a pretty good one. He’s just built perfect, with all the tools a guy could ask for.” The bull’s lineage goes back to a reputation Todd Braithwaite bull by the name of Boogieman, with Whitewater breeding on the cow side. Cooper’s Comet started turning heads last year, including an impressive trip in the Ponoka Stampede Finals where Lonnie West was 90.25 points on him,

cowboycountrymagazine.com

to launch his pro career with a bang. The bull went on to make the CFR roster as just a four-year-old. “It was not shocking to me, but I was still pretty proud,” said Vold. He points out as the bull has gotten stronger, it’s been tougher for the cowboys to last the full eight seconds. In fact, probullstats.com shows him with a 92 per cent buck off rate. Cooper’s Comet has become a regular for short rounds on both the pro rodeo and PBR circuits. “He’s in his prime. He’ll go out to the right, and if they ride him far enough, he’ll come back the other way.” Making the bull even more special to the family is the fact he’s named after Nansen’s stepbrother, Cooper Tonneson, who died in 2014 from complications of lupus, at just 19. “Cooper’s Comet is definitely our top bull. We’re hoping he makes all four Finals this year,” added Vold.

osh Harden is again in the hunt for a Canadian AllAround championship and he credits his “all-around horse” for the opportunity. “I know for sure he’s the reason for my turnaround this season,” confides Harden, who was without his trusted 10-yearold bay Shaggy for five weeks in midst of the busiest part of the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule. “It was tough going not having him underneath me.” The numbers back up Harden’s claim. Before the horse was injured at the Hand Hills Lake Stampede in early June, the Big Valley, Alta., cowboy had won $2,665 in the steer wrestling. After Shaggy’s return in early July, the pair has combined to win over $5,000. “When I’m in the middle of him, there are no worries,” offers the 33-year-old Harden, who qualified for the all-around race by capturing his third steer wrestling cheque of the season

at the Coronation Pro Rodeo in their first run together since the injury. “I’ve got the confidence to just back in and go because he’ll do his job.” Harden bought the horse from 2004 Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier, Ryan Guest in the fall of 2014. “I actually tried the horse out for Ryan when he was thinking of buying him back when Shaggy was just a four-yearold,” begins Harden, who loaned the horse to older brother Jeremy last season, helping him win the CCA bulldogging championship. “I told Ryan he was pretty nice and he ended up buying him. “He was selling him as a heeling horse. (Guest’s wife) Cora ran barrels and poles off him and their girls rode him. I was hazing off him to start after I bought him and then switched him to the other side. I just felt something when I rode him. He’s a special all-around talent.”

Josh Harden makes a money run on Shaggy at the 2016 Cowtown Pro Rodeo, Maple Creek, Sask.

37


Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

CFR 43

NEW FACES IN FAMILIAR PLACES By DAVE POULSEN

A

T EVERY CANADIAN FINALS RODEO, THERE ARE TWO OR THREE ROOKIES —

CONTESTANTS MAKING THEIR FIRST CFR APPEARANCE — IN ALMOST EVERY EVENT, AND 2016 WILL BE NO EXCEPTION AS A TREMENDOUS CROP OF “NEWBIES” RIDE INTO REXALL PLACE FOR A SHOT AT BIG-TIME

Steer wrestler Stephen Culling is typical of that breed of competitor. The 22-yearold from Fort St. John, B.C., first garnered serious attention in 2010 when he won the National High School Rodeo Association championship, the first Canadian to win that title since fellow B.C. cowboy, Mike Garthwaite, did it back in 1993. Culling then went on to North West Oklahoma State University in Alva, Okla., and competed at a couple of College National Finals rodeos as well. But 2016 has been a coming-of-age year for the 6'2" 225-pounder as he closes in on both his first CFR berth and a possible steer wrestling PRCA Rookie of the Year award. “The CFR is the big goal, for sure,” Culling commented, “Winning Ponoka really got the ball rolling for me — that’s when I started to think I’d have a shot at the Canadian Finals and maybe the rookie thing as well.” Culling is quick to credit near-neighbour and travelling partner, Clayton Moore, with a lot of his success. “He’s been a champion and he’s the guy who’s taught me everything I know. I want 38

to win as much as I can right now but I also want to help Clayton get to the NFR.” Culling won’t be the only bulldogging newcomer to the CFR. Consort’s Brendan Laye who is in the hunt for the Canadian rookie title, Stony Plain, Alta., cowboy Derek Frank, Columbus, Mont.’s Will Stovall and Ponoka’s Chance Butterfield are all vying for their first trip to Edmonton. Another first-time qualifier who points to Ponoka as the season turning point is Texas tie-down roper, Stetson Vest. “My win at Hand Hills was the only money I’d won in Canada up to that time,” Vest noted. “I knew that if I didn’t do something at Ponoka I wouldn’t be going to the CFR, simple as that.” Vest split second in the second go and the short go and won fourth in the average for a $5,500 paycheque, then added a second place $3,750 in the Bonus Round to take a huge step towards that trip to Edmonton in November. “I always come up to Canada early in the season to get my rodeo count in,” the Childress, Texas, hand said. “It’s always been a goal to get to the CFR and I’ve been

close a couple of times. You darn sure want to run at the kind of money they have up there; that’s part of making a living in this business.” There was a time when it looked like he might not be able to pursue his chosen career. Back surgery in 2014 sidelined him for several months and had a couple of doctors doubting that he’d be able to come back. But Vest had other plans. With a rodeo pedigree that includes his uncle, Stran Smith, and first cousins, Tuf, Clif and Clint Cooper and Shada Brazile, wife of Trevor Brazile — it’s not surprising that the tall Texan would be hard to keep down. “I’m just blessed to still be able to do what I love to do and I’m really looking forward to competing against those tough Canadians at the CFR.” Eckville, Alta., roper, Clayton Smith, Innisfail’s Ben Robinson and Barrhead’s Wyatt Branden all remain in the chase to join Vest as first-time tie down roping qualifiers. Another Texas-based newcomer to the CFR, team roper Shay Carroll will ride into the box on the other side of 2013 Canadian

Canadian Cowboy Country October/November 2016

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

GLORY AND BIG-TIME MONEY.


C.P.R.A.

OPPOSITE PAGE: Fort St. John, B.C.,’s Stephen Culling enroute to a $13,000 Ponoka payday

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; JEREMY WOMBOLD; MIKE COPEMAN

TOP LEFT: Hico, Texas, heeler, Shay Carroll, roping for the win with Canadian partner Kolton Schmidt at 2016 Sundre Pro Rodeo

champion, Kolton Schmidt from Barrhead, Alta., as the duo pursue both Canadian and world team roping titles. The Hico, Texas, heeler who made his first WNFR appearance in 2014 is also a solid tie-down roper and has a legitimate shot at the coveted High Point award. “I was looking for a partner at the end of last year and, of course, I knew Kolton,” Carroll recounted. “I knew he was a terrific talent who was about to really take off. We got together and did well at the first roping we went to; then we won the first big roping we entered — the Sand Hills Classic in Odessa, Texas, for $12,000 a man. We won a round at Fort Worth and it seemed like we were winning pretty big cheques at a lot of the rodeos and we just carried on from there. “I knew when we teamed up that I’d be going to Canada because that’s really important to Kolton,” the 25-year-old Colorado-born roper added. “I’d never been to Canada before but I really like it. And for us to be going to two big Finals, one in November and one in December is pretty exciting.” Like Shay Carroll, Terrebonne, Oregon’s Russell Cardoza will also be heeling with a former Canadian champion at CFR 43; for Cardoza it’s Cutbank, Montana’s Dustin Bird, the 2012 Champion. Among those also battling for CFR team roping spots are the teenage sensations, Dillon and Dawson Graham from Wainwright; Saskatchewan cousins Brady (Gravelbourg) and Kyle (Moose Jaw) Chappel; along with Brant, Alberta hand, Kyle Smith, on the heading side and Brooks, Alta., heeler, Devin Wigemyr. It’s been a special year for bronc rider, Clay Elliott. The Nanton, Alta., talent has already won Houston and is closing in on clinching a spot at the Wrangler NFR. But a trip to the CFR is something he cowboycountrymagazine.com

TOP RIGHT: Texan Stetson Vest posts an 8.2-second time to win the 100th Anniversary tiedown roping at the Hand Hills Lake Stampede BOTTOM LEFT: Clay Elliott’s amazing year continued with a second place 87.5 on Kesler Rodeo’s Avalanche, at the 2016 Dawson Creek Stampede

sets apart from all the other achievements of an amazing year. “It’s my home country, and there’s nothing like that,” he stated with conviction. “There’s big money there but it’s more than that. When I was riding Novice, all I wanted was to someday be the Canadian Champion. That hasn’t changed.” Elliott will sit near the top of the standings heading to Edmonton and will be a favourite to win that title he’s dreamed about. He’ll be joined by fellow newcomer, Lane Cust, the two-time and reigning Novice Champion who has been steadilyclimbing in the standings. “There’s just so much on the line,” said Cust. “Eleven of the best guys; the horses are at the top of their game — this is the time when you want to get on a roll.” The 21-year-old Ardmore, Alta., cowboy has had the hot hand since about the halfway point in the season. “I think the nerves were getting me early on. I just worried too much. But ever since Strathmore where I got my biggest cheque of the year, I’ve just been trying to have fun with it.” For barrel racer Rene Leclercq (pronounced Le-Clair), 2016 has been all about “wanting to redeem myself.” The secondgeneration competitor from Holden, Alta., was close to a berth at last year’s Finals but forgot to enter the Pro Series Finals in what turned out to be a critical mistake. “It was my own fault I didn’t make the CFR last year, but I went to Edmonton and cheered on the other girls,” she ruefully 39


admitted. “I wanted to make sure I got to compete there this year.” Once again, it was Ponoka that was the “game-changer” for Leclercq. “I hadn’t made a short-go so my goal there was just to make the short round.” Riding her outdoor horse, Flit, an eight-year-old Doc’s Quixote/Doc’s Paradise-bred mare, the 22-year-old horse trainer wound up fourth in the long go and, “I figured I’d pretty much done what I’d wanted to do.” But fourth in the average as well took her to the bonus round where she faced travelling buddy, Kerilee Noval and NFR veterans, Sarah Rose McDonald and Taylor Jacob. Leclercq and Flit were not to be denied. The $7,500 win, coupled with another $5,500 in go-round earnings, punched her ticket to the CFR where she already has her goals set firmly in place. “I’d like to finish in the top four for the year to qualify for Calgary and, of course, I’d like to take a run at a Canadian championship.” Joining Leclercq will be veteran Brooks, Alta., cowgirl, Lynette Brodoway. “It’s been a lifelong desire, I just didn’t know I’d be this old,” chuckled the horse trainer/ competitor. “This has given me a whole new appreciation for the girls who are able to get there year after year. I know it’s the largest commitment I’ve ever had to make to accomplish a goal.” Brodoway will be riding her 10-year-old gelding, SR Root Sixty-Six (Freeway). The duo first put it all together in his sevenyear-old Derby year when he was almost 40

TOP LEFT: Rene Leclercq on her way to the Bonus Round title, 2016 Ponoka Stampede TOP RIGHT: Kody Lamb weathers C5 Rodeo’s Perfect Storm for 84.5 points at Guy Weadick Days BOTTOM: Brock Radford, 85.5 points on Rafter G’s 077 Village Idiot at the 2015 Pro Series Final

unbeatable. This year with a full season of CPRA competition to work with, the likable cowgirl and her mount will be heading to Edmonton in or near the top five in Canada. Other first-time barrel racing qualifiers include Callahan Crossley from Hermiston, Ore., and Aldergrove, B.C.,’s Carmen Pozzobon. Lurking in the shadows just outside the top 12 (at press time), are Saskatchewan cowgirls, Colby Gilbert from Maple Creek and Nicole Pana from Wood Mountain. The CFR bull riding contingent will be as notable for who isn’t there in 2016 as for who is. The retirements of Canadian champions Tyler Thomson, Jesse Torkelson and the absence of perennial stalwarts Beau Hill, Beau Brooks, the injured New Zealander, Adam Jamison, two-time Canadian champ, Chad Besplug and Ty Pozzobon who has focused his 2016 attention on the PBR and ERA — all have dramatically changed the face of Canadian bull riding. One guy who will be relishing his first trip to the CFR is thirdgeneration bull rider, Brock Radford. The DeWinton, Alta., cowboy has been close the last couple of years and made sure he wouldn’t miss out a third time with an impressive win at the Chad Besplug Invitational in Claresholm to kick start his season. And the 21-yearold hasn’t looked back. “I missed Chad’s event last year,” Radford related after besting the field at the CPRA’s inaugural event. “So I really wanted to be there. Winning in Claresholm can darn sure set up your whole year.” The comment was prophetic as the third-year pro will likely head to Edmonton in the top five in Canadian bull riding. He’ll be joined by Paraguayan-born Fabian Dueck, who is expected to be fully recovered from a series of upper body injuries incurred at Medicine Hat and elsewhere and Ponoka’s Wacey Finkbeiner who has parlayed a tremendous second half of the season into a likely trip to the Alberta capital come November. In the bareback riding, there’s a raft of young talent, all trying to grab one of the coveted final CFR spots. Innisfail’s Dylan Bilton, 2013 and 2014 Novice champs, Kody Lamb of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Dantan Bertsch of Eastend, Sask., the rapidly improving Quebecois cowboy, Pascal Isabelle and Swift Current’s Linden Woods are all duking it out for the last couple of qualifying spots in their event. c

Canadian Cowboy Country October/November 2016

PHOTOS BY JEREMY WOMBOLD; JEREMY WOMBOLD; MIKE COPEMAN

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider


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ROAD TO THE CFR

Ty Taypotat making an 84.5-point money ride on Vold Rodeo’s Up In Smoke at the 2015 CFR

TY TAYPOTAT THE LONG AND WINDING ROAD By TIM ELLIS

T

Y TAYPOTAT’S ROAD TO THE 2016 CANADIAN FINALS RODEO HAS TAKEN A COUPLE OF

UNEXPECTED TURNS. FIRST, THE REGINA, SASK., COWBOY WAS FORCED TO SHUT DOWN HIS SEASON FOR TWO MONTHS AFTER AN INJURY IN THE WILDCARD ROUND OF RODEO HOUSTON LAST MARCH.

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“I pulled a muscle right off my pelvis,” describes Taypotat. “It even pulled a couple of pieces of bone off. I couldn’t walk for three weeks.” The four-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier returned to the rodeo trail in late May in time for the Grande Prairie Stompede, where he posted an 86.5-point score to win the rodeo. He then went on to collect about $10,000 through to the end of the July 1st long weekend. “I was blessed with good draws during that time,” relates Taypotat, who also won another $5,846 from the Reno Rodeo in late June. “I seemed to draw all eliminators last year. I rode them all pretty good but it was not a fun year.” The second road block he was forced to navigate around came in late July in Spanish Fork, Utah. “I got on a good horse and about two jumps before the whistle I felt my bicep rip,” recalls Taypotat, who still marked an 84-point score to win $834. “Once I got

off, I pretty well knew I was done for the year because you’re not supposed to feel that much pain. “After I got all my tape off and took off my brace, my bicep was hanging where it’s not supposed to hang. The Justin Sports Medicine Team there told me I was basically finished.” Unable to escape surgery this time, Taypotat opted for an operation at a hospital in Salt Lake City in which a hole was drilled into his forearm so doctors could pull down his bicep and attach it to his forearm. “The sports medicine team with Doug Olle was awesome,” says Taypotat, who spent much of the season in the top 15 of the world bareback riding standings before the injury. “The doctors told me I had a two-week window to get it fixed or it would never heal properly. “I was able to start some light physio after wearing a cast and sling for about two weeks. They told me it would be 10 weeks before I could get on anything. They also said the way they fixed it, that once it’s healed, there’s no chance it can rip off again.” The time frame will allow the 2011 Canadian Pro Rodeo Association Rookie of the Year to make his return at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton in November after using a medical exemption to bypass a requirement of having to compete at 15 rodeos to qualify for the CFR. “I won’t get on any practice horses before the Finals,” confirms Taypotat. “I was so disappointed at missing the National Finals Rodeo after building a name for myself. But my plan for the CFR is to come back better than ever.” c

Canadian Cowboy Country October/November 2016

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider


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Profile for Tanner Young Publishing Group

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider - 1610 - Oct/Nov 2016  

Inside every issue of Canadian Cowboy Country, the Pro Rodeo Canada Insider brings you the latest news from the world of professional Canadi...

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider - 1610 - Oct/Nov 2016  

Inside every issue of Canadian Cowboy Country, the Pro Rodeo Canada Insider brings you the latest news from the world of professional Canadi...