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Pro Rodeo

CANADA

INSIDER

BEST IN THE WORLD PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

Kolton Schmidt's world-class heading horse, Badger was honoured as the 2016 CPRA and PRCA Heading Horse of the Year. This is the first time a Canadian team roping horse has won double honours. Read more on page 55.

RODEOCANADA.COM DECEMBER 2016/JANUARY 2017


SHANE HANCHEY

2015 CANADIAN CHAMPION TIE-DOWN ROPER

LEAD,

DON’T FOLLOW. ®

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


C.P.R.A.

LOOKING FORWARD TO 2017

N

OW THAT CFR 43 HAS COME TO AN END, I’D LIKE TO CONGRATULATE ALL OF OUR NEW CANADIAN CHAMPIONS!

THE ACCOMPLISHMENT OF COMING OUT ON TOP AT THE END OF A LONG, GRUELING SEASON IS ONE YOU CAN ALL BE INCREDIBLY

PHOTO COURTESY CPRA

PROUD OF. I’d also like to recognize all of our Canadian cowboys battling it out in Las Vegas right now at the NFR. You are all individuals that we, as Canadian rodeo fans, are extremely proud of.  Congratulations, as well, to those Canadian stock contractors whose animals were selected to represent our country on the biggest stage in the rodeo world.  Like they say, ‘All good things must come to an end’ and the 2016 CPRA rodeo season is already a thing of the past.  Thanks to the addition of the Agribition Pro Rodeo in Regina, Sask., the 2017 season and race to #CFR44 is already underway.  Congratulations to the team at Agribition on a fantastic event. The CPRA is happy to have pro rodeo back in Regina!  As many of you know, the CPRA and Northlands have partnered again to keep both the 2017 and 2018 CFR in Edmonton at Northlands Coliseum. 

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It is an exciting development for both organizations, an opportunity to work together under a new agreement, and look at CFR through fresh sets of eyes. There are many really positive pieces to the new agreement; just one being a community reinvestment initiative that will drive money back to our communities and rodeo committees.  It is really going to help us, help our committees and show them how much we value and appreciate them.  A huge thank you has to go out to Tim Reid, Northlands CEO, and Jeff Robson, representing the CPRA, for all of their tremendous work in making this new partnership a reality. This new two-year agreement with Northlands really provides us with some time to start planning for the long term future of the CFR and make sure we continue to build on past successes and the rich history so many have worked so hard to establish. After a year in the CPRA that saw some ups and downs and a tremendous number of changes, I’d like to thank the incredible CPRA staff, the membership, the sponsors, the tireless volunteers and the fans for all of their continued support.   On a personal note, I’m incredibly proud and excited to once again be a part of the CPRA. I’d like to thank everyone who has reached out offering support and encouragement and I know together we can continue to make the CPRA an association that we can all be proud of. The 2017 rodeo season is one that hopefully excites everyone, both members and fans alike. With the possible addition of some fantastic new events, and the return of Oldstoberfest, it is shaping up to be another great year! Hope to see you down the road… — Kyle Rock, CPRA Operations Manager

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

The Short Round

By DIANNE FINSTAD, BARB POULSEN, and DAVE POULSEN

PANDAHAUS RODEO

His rodeo friends knew him as Cactus. Robert Fairweather was a Maritimer who came west for a period of time when he was young, to pursue his love of rodeo. And while you won’t find his name in championship listings, he’s remembered by people like Wayne Vold, Lester Gurnett and Dave Poulsen as a guy who loved the west and the western lifestyle, and remained connected to it from afar throughout his life. Robert Fairweather, who resided for much of his life in Springdale, NB, passed away on September 24, 2016 at the age of 78. Cactus will be missed and remembered. —D.P.

TANNER YOUNG CORRECTION In the last issue we displayed a wonderful photo of ‘Tanner Young’ accepting his 2016 Calgary Stampede Novice Bareback Tour bronze at the Strathmore Stampede. While Young did indeed earn the prize, it turned out that another rodeo contestant was asked to accept the award on behalf of the absent winner. So once again, congratulations to Tanner Young on his win… and our apologies for misnaming him in the photo!

CANADIAN RODEO ROOKIES 46

REMEMBERING A DISTANT FAN

Tanner Young

Legendary hat maker Resistol came on board as a CPRA sponsor this year, honouring the top rookie in every major event, as well as the overall winner, with a hat and buckle for their success. Resistol General Manager, Ricky Bolin, says the company feels it is important to reward not only the current champions of the sport, but the up-and-comers as champions in their own right.

Congratulations to overall Rookie, Lane Cust. Kudos as well, to the other Rookie Champions of the CPRA: bareback-Pascal Isabelle; bull ridingArmondo Davila; tie-down roping Clayton Smith; steer wrestling Brendan Laye; ladies barrel racing Colby Gilbert; team roping heeler Graham Dillon; team roping header Graham Dawson. The top rookies in every event — ­ other than bull riding — earned over $10,000. —D.F.

Canadian Cowboy Country December 2016/January 2017

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY STOCK.ADOBE.COM/SOGNOLUCIDO; PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

A new sports app, with its roots in the skiing world, is making its way onto the rodeo stage courtesy of an exciting team of entrepreneurs, among them Olympic medallist Jan Hudec. pandaHAUS Rodeo is the third, and most recent app under the pandaHAUS umbrella. (pandaHAUS Snow and pandaHAUS Equestrian preceded pandaHAUS Rodeo). Endorsed by such rodeo notables as World and Canadian Champion bull rider Cody Snyder, with ambassadors that include Canadian Champion/NFR team roper Kolton Schmidt, CFR bareback rider, Michael Solberg and Canadian Champion bull rider Scott Schiffner, the app is growing in popularity. The premise behind the free app is to connect established and up-and-coming athletes and contract personnel with sponsors, specialists and rodeo fans around the world through a network specific to cowboy culture. pandaHAUS also offers an option where athletes can add a ‘fund me’ element to their profiles. —B.P.


C.P.R.A.

COMPETITOR PROFILE Lane Cust rides Prairie Rodeo’s Little Muffin for 83 points and the round win enroute to the 2016 Cinch Pro Rodeo Canada Series title

CUST CAPTURES RESISTOL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR By DIANNE FINSTAD

A

HOTLY CONTESTED RACE FOR 2016 CPRA ROOKIE OF THE YEAR WENT RIGHT TO THE FINISH

LINE, AND IN THE END, IT WAS LANE CUST WHO RODE AWAY WITH THE

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

TITLE. Cust, Novice Saddle Bronc champion for the previous two years, made a smooth transition to pro ranks. The 21-year-old placed at just his fourth rodeo in the spring, and earned the rest of what he needed for a full pro card at Stavely. He went on to win money at a dozen more shows, securing a spot at his first CFR in the open bronc riding. cowboycountrymagazine.com

“I drew really well all year,” said Cust. “I tried to pick away as much as I could, and focus on consistency and doing my best on every ride.” While Cust kept focused on ‘the next ride’, he was aware of the rookie race, where a crop of talented competitors was led by steer wrestler Brendan Laye for much of the season. “I knew I was close after Armstrong,” Cust recalled. “I was hurt near the end of the year, and I turned out of Okotoks and Medicine Lodge, which were a couple of opportunities for money.” When it came to the Cinch Finals in Calgary, the chips were down. “Brendan and I were about $400 apart, so I had to go at each horse.”

Cust made two outstanding rides, and the pair of go-round victories gave him $5,000, enough to shoot past Laye for the overall rookie title, with $20,407. The season definitely had some highlights for Cust, including the ride in Stavely which launched his pro career. “I was lucky enough to draw the Vold horse Eclypce. That paint horse can be an eliminator. He’s big and strong. So it was a good test for me. To get by him, and place, was a boost of confidence. “My first win came at Teepee Creek. It was their 100th anniversary and I received the first Greg Kesler Memorial Buckle, so that was pretty special.” One of Cust’s longest drives this year resulted in a victory at the northernmost Field of Dreams rodeo in La Crete. His biggest single payday was at the Strathmore Stampede, where he won $3,378. Cust, from Ardmore, now lives in Sylvan Lake, Alta., with three other cowboys. He welds for fellow bronc rider Jim Berry’s company, and values time on the trail with the veteran pro. “Jim is going to be a threat no matter what he gets on, and he makes the most of every horse. To win money every day, you need the ability to go at every horse 110 per cent like Jim does. “He’s such a good guy to travel with, and a lot of fun. He knew where to be, and what pens to enter. I learned a lot from him this year,” credited Cust.  Unlike some of his contemporaries, Cust did not take out his PRCA card until after the 2016 season. “My goal was to get to Edmonton. I wanted to make sure I proved myself up here first. I just wanted to do one step at a time. I felt I wasn’t quite ready, and wanted to improve in the arena. But hopefully, I can make my way to Las Vegas one day too.” Canada’s top rookie is happy to see his rodeo game plan on target. “It’s a pretty special feeling to win that award. There were a lot of great rookies this year. It was a huge honour to be the top money earner and I just hope every year keeps getting better.” c

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

WHAT HAS HAPPENED TO BULL RIDING? T By DAVE POULSEN

HE LAST EVENT. THE ANNOUNCER

EXHORTING THE CROWD WITH “ARE YOU READY FOR THE BULL RIDING?” THEN RAUCOUS ROCK MUSIC —

AC/DC OR QUEEN OR MOTLEY CRUE.

The stage is set for the traditional finale to the rodeo. Ten guys against ten top bulls, a couple of high 80s rides and the crowd leaves the arena satisfied with a thrilling conclusion to an action-packed performance. At least that’s the way it was prior to this year. 2016 was a different story when it came to rodeo’s climactic bull riding event. It wasn’t always climactic. Often it was disappointing and sometimes it was virtually non-existent.

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Canadian Cowboy Country December 2016/January 2017


PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN

C.P.R.A.

The trouble, in part, was a perfect storm of circumstances that resulted in the loss of some of the best riders for all or most of the 2016 rodeo season. Canadian champion Tyler Thomson retired after the 2015 CFR, a couple of months into this season, CFR campaigner, Beau Brooks, followed suit; perennial finalists Beau Hill and Ty Pozzobon took their careers in a different direction (ERA and PBR), Chad Besplug, Jesse Torkelson, Adam Jamison and Billy West all missed the entire season rehabbing injuries and Jordan Hansen joined them on the DL in July. (He returned for the CFR). Two-time Canadian champion Scott Schiffner summed it up. “You take that many top guys out of the mix all at the same time — it’s gonna hurt,” he commented. “Especially guys that are leaders in the sport, the people the young guys follow and look up to.” Schiffner was right. It did hurt. In 2015, 51 bull riders cashed cheques at one or more Canadian rodeos. In 2016 that number shrank to just 32. At Cranbrook (before turn-outs) 11 riders were entered. At Jasper, a four performance rodeo, there were three contestants entered for the first performance, then three, four and one in the remaining performances. Fewer riders means fewer rides. Several rodeo performances had only one or two riders, a couple of rodeos had no qualified rides, and almost all of the rodeos comprising the Canadian rodeo schedule paid out ground money, often a lot of ground money (when not enough cowboys ride to fill the placings allotted to that rodeo, the money that would have been paid out for those places is divided between the cowboys who did actually ride). At Medicine Hat’s summer Stampede, a Wrangler Tour rodeo, there were two rides over the three days of competition — Brock Radford and Jared Parsonage were paid $3,100 and $2,500 respectively for finishing first and second and each received $3,214 in ground money. At Cranbrook, B.C., Tim Lipsett’s 66-point ride was the lone score recorded, again over three days. The Lumsden, Saskatchewan cowboy’s winning cheque was for $1,150 while his ground money was double that at $2,229. Not surprisingly, there are rodeos that, faced with disgruntled fans’ grumbling, are

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looking at alternatives to having bull riding as the last event on their program. Okay, so there's a problem. How long will it last and what can be done about it? Schiffner has considered the issue long and hard and has some thoughts. “I’d like to believe this year was a oneoff,” the Strathmore cowboy mused, “but truthfully I think we’re going to be in this cycle for a while.” For Schiffner the problem begins with the kids, or more precisely, what rodeo is doing to help the young guys fulfill their rodeo dreams. “About ten years ago, the CFR dropped steer riding from the Finals format,” Schiffner recalled. “And yes they eventually brought it back but I believe those years cost us some good young kids who just walked away from rodeo.” Fast forward to today and Schiffner has some real concerns there as well. “We’re putting these kids on long two-year-old bulls that are really well bred. These bulls have been dummied and they’re

already really good and just too much for a lot of these kids to handle. And we’re hurting them. “I get that the six guys who get to the CFR in steer riding are outstanding and those 82 and 83 point rides at Edmonton are pretty cool. “But along the way we’ve hurt a bunch of kids who are just learning and are getting on bulls that are just too tough. Those kids quit and not only do we lose future bull riders, we also lose that kid as a future fan or rodeo volunteer or maybe even a sponsor. Then that kid tells his friends that this whole rodeo deal isn’t a lot of fun so his friends stay away from it, and the whole thing snowballs.” But the problems plaguing bull riding don’t end with the difficulty of attracting

OPPOSITE PAGE: Two-time Canadian Champion and event producer Chad Besplug combines with Outlaw Buckers’ Up Tight for 87 points at CFR 2014 RIGHT: Veteran bull rider Scott Schiffner winning round 2 at the 2015 CFR aboard Big Stone Rodeo’s Attitude Dude

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider youth to the sport. Rodeo is no longer the only game in town. Bull riders have lots of options and some are exercising those options. The PBR and BRC (Bull Riders Canada) take their share of the talent pool and even though those events may also struggle to fill event rosters, the bottom line is there are lots of opportunities for riders to choose from. Add to that the reality that the more events bull riders go to, the greater the chance of injuries.

CFR bullfighter, Brett Monea, sees the economic downturn as another culprit. “Guys that previously worked in the oilpatch and other jobs all winter, then rodeoed in the summer are having trouble affording to compete,” stated Monea. Fewer bull riders has a direct effect on Monea and the job he does. “Sometimes it felt like I got dressed up and had nothing to do. I like to be busy out there. The feeling that you’ve done nothing when there’s only a few guys riding — that’s not good for me or the crowd.” Stock contractor Curtis Sawyer (Outlaw Buckers) is also concerned and has a suggestion he feels will help. He’d like to see rodeos introduce junior bull riding into 50

schools for those guys maybe they don’t even get on anything at first — it’s lots of video and riding the barrel until they’re excited about it and ready to try getting on steers. They’re already doing this kind of thing in Brazil and look at the success they’re having.” One guy who makes no secret of the fact that his primary focus is rodeo is the talented Okotoks cowboy, Jordan Hansen. “Since I was old enough to ride, my goal has been to get to the NFR,” he admitted. “Those yellow chutes are Bull fighter Brett the dream I live for and ride for.” Monea CFR 2015 It’s not just a young man’s dream that has Hansen taking his bull rope to rodeos. “It’s a business decision,” he added. “For me to buy a plane ticket and fly off to a one night bull riding event when I can get to maybe three or four rodeos in the time I’d be away and make as much or more money, that just makes sense. Plus the Canadian Finals Rodeo has six performances with $12,000 to win first in every round; I need to be there, that’s good business.” But it’s more than fiscal management for the 23- year-old star. “When I go to the CFR, I know I’m one of only twelve guys who qualified, that I’m one of the best riding against the best. It feels like a championship.” So there is widespread agreement that there is a problem in bull riding. And while there are different suggestions as to how to deal with the problem, most agree that rodeo does need to address the issue. short guys in the open bull riding.” It’s unlikely 2017 will be as challenging a Two-time Canadian Champion and year for CPRA bull riding as 2016 has been. event producer, Chad Besplug, agrees that Some of the walking wounded will be back; the place to start is with the youth but has a few kids will make the jump to the big another approach in mind. leagues. But bull riding is not likely out of “With the smaller farms and ranches the woods just yet. disappearing, there are fewer people liv“There is no magic answer,” Scott ing the western lifestyle today,” Besplug Schiffner concluded. “I think we’ll be five noted. “We need to start looking beyond years before we’re back to where we were. ranch-raised kids and try to attract athletic The reason I’m still riding is that there isn’t kids that didn’t grow up getting on calves a bunch of kids pushing me out, the way and being around stock. My business plan young guys pushed the veterans out in the includes going into schools in towns and past. That needs to change.” c eventually even cities and using some of our really good young guys, like K’s Thomson and the Smeltzers, to help recruit guys who just want to try it. And at the their events. “The kids go from steer riding to the amateur or semi-pro circuits and they’re getting on bigger, older, harder bulls that they’re not ready for,” he explained. “If we had junior bull riding, contractors could handpick some of those bulls that we’ve been culling because they’re not quite good enough for the big stage. But they’d be just right for the kids moving out of steer riding. Plus it would give us more riders at those rodeos that are

Canadian Cowboy Country December 2016/January 2017


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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

By TIM ELLIS

IN RECENT YEARS, CANADIANS QUALIFYING FOR THE WRANGLER NATIONAL FINALS RODEO HAVE BELONGED TO AN EXCLUSIVE CLUB. JUST ONE FROM THIS SIDE OF THE BORDER MADE THE CUT IN EACH YEAR FROM 2011–13, WHILE ONLY THREE QUALIFIED IN 2014. LAST

YEAR, A HALF DOZEN BOOKED FLIGHTS FOR LAS VEGAS.

But this season, the doors to the Thomas & Mack Centre have once again been flung open to welcome the largest such group to the year-end finals since early in this millennium. And the collection of eight Canadians includes five WNFR rookies, two returnees from 2015 and a two-time defending Canadian champion bareback rider who placed in eight of ten rounds the last time he competed at the Finals. “Sitting at home last December lit a fire under me,” confesses Jake Vold, who qualified for the 10-day showdown in 2014 but missed the cut last year. “I wasn’t going to let that happen again.”

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“I had a really good winter which I found out is the key for me. You need to win $20,000 to take the pressure off. That way you can take in the rodeos up here in the spring and then head back down for the 4th(of July Cowboy Christmas run).” The 29-year-old finished 10th in this year’s world standings with $74,821 despite missing time in July with a rib injury suffered at the Ponoka Stampede. “I was in a good enough position that they didn’t bump me down too much,” offers Vold when looking back at his drop in the PRCA world standings at the time. “I came back swinging and everything went good again.

Canadian Cowboy Country December 2016/January 2017

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN; DEANNA KRISTENSEN; MIKE COPEMAN

ROLLING  A HARD EIGHT

R

“I’m going to try to win every round in Vegas and fill my pockets. The money’s gone up a lot since I was there. It’s a pretty good spot to be in to try to chase guys down. I’ve got nothing to lose.” The Airdrie, Alta., cowboy will be joined in Las Vegas by Manitoba’s Orin Larsen, who leads the Canadian contingent with $138,296 in earnings in the bareback event. It’s Larsen’s second straight qualification. “I obviously didn’t have the finals I wanted last year,” says Larsen, who placed in three rounds and won over $32,000. “I think that put a fire under me to have a better NFR this time.” Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler are the first Canadian team roping pair to compete together at the National Finals Rodeo. “The goal of getting to Vegas started about five years ago,” reveals Simpson, who finished 14th in the world heading standings. “I started out slow and then every year kept moving up from 40th to 30th and last year 20th and now finally made it in the top 15. “I tried not to look at the standings during the year; only maybe twice. But during the last two weeks of the season, it was more like ten times a day. It’s very exciting. Hopefully some young kids coming up can have the same dream and know it’s possible.” Like Simpson, Buhler also bought his PRCA card in 2011 with an eye on one day competing for a World Championship. “It’s funny to look back and see how far away I actually was from the goal back then,” chuckles the Arrowwood, Alta., heeler. “I had a pickup, no trailer and an older horse. But each year you get a little closer. “I’ve never done anything where there were more ups and downs. You try to be humble and not get carried away during the highs. Levi is so good at staying in the middle. He’s helped me deal with the lows. The journey was a blast. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”

Orin Larsen won over $11,000 for a fourth place finish, round eight, 2015 WNFR on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Mike Outhier

ROAD TO THE NFR


C.P.R.A.

Fellow team roper, Kolton Schmidt flirted with a season leader title for more than three months last spring before ending up 4th with $96,147 in earnings. The 22-yearold Barrhead, Alta., cowboy will rope in Las Vegas with Colorado heeler, Shay Carroll. “I’m going to do the best I can on the ten steers they give me,” says Schmidt, who will haul his PRCA Heading Horse of the Year, Badger, with him to Nevada. “I don’t know what to expect but all you can ask for is a chance. “I’m excited to rope down there. That’s what I’m used to. All I ever practiced for since I was a kid was the Canadian Finals Rodeo. It’s pretty much the same. That’s no guarantee we’ll do well but I’m excited to see what happens.” The same year Schmidt won the National College Finals Rodeo team roping title, Clay Elliott was crowned the NCFR saddle bronc champion. Their rodeo careers will intersect again in Las Vegas. Elliott finished 8th in the world standings with $80,048 to also qualify for his first NFR. “I didn’t look at the standings, it was just one rodeo at a time,” says the 22-year-old, Nanton, Alta., bronc rider, who just missed the WNFR cut last season by finishing in 17th spot. The connection among the Canadian kids doesn’t end there. Hudson’s Hope, B.C.’s Jake Watson will join Elliott, both Oklahoma Panhandle State University rodeo team alums, as a first time National Finals qualifier. Zeke Thurston competed against Watson at the CNFR in 2013 as a member of the Sheridan, Wyoming College rodeo team. “I’ll be a little calmer this time,” claims the 22-year-old Thurston, who won over $55,000 as an NFR rookie in 2015. “I should be able to keep my composure a little bit. But there’s a lot going on down there behind the chutes. “Everybody that’s done it before says it’s a lot harder getting back there again a second time. I had to rodeo harder than I wanted to at times. It’ll be a blast but it’s a long ten days.” c

In round six of the 2015 CFR, Jake Vold enjoyed a round winning ride on Wayne Vold’s 2013 Bareback Horse of the Year, True Grit BELOW: Levi Simpson (header) and Jeremy Buhler (heeler) demonstrate their teamwork at last year’s CFR, stopping the clock at 4.9 sec’s to win the round

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

By TERRI MASON

ROUGHSTOCK OF THE YEAR AWARD

ROUGHSTOCK OF THE YEAR AWARD

717 Must Have

127 Cooper’s Comet

Owned by Duane Kesler, Kesler Rodeo

Vold Rodeo Co. Ltd.

When they click the latch holding back the stocky grey stud Must Have one thing is for sure — the cowboy “must have” a good grip or he won’t last long. He was ranch-raised on Kesler’s outfit in southern Alberta and out of the late Greg Kesler’s stud, Three Wages. Now nine, Must Have is turning heads and racking up some 2016 BAREBACK big wins. HORSE OF THE YEAR “He’s not a real big horse, but he bucks big,” says Duane. “Anytime our animals perform well we cheer for them. We don’t say too much; we like them to do the talking for us,” he says. “But a horse can’t buck much harder than he did this year.”

No one is more pleased at his bull’s success than Nansen Vold, who recognized something special in Cooper’s Comet when he bought a cow/calf pair from retired bull rider, Aaron Gibb. In the 2016 season he was ridden once at a PBR event. Probullstats.com lists him as having a 92 per cent buck off rate. And, according to Vold, the fouryear-old is in “the prime of his life.” 2016 BULL OF THE YEAR He’s going to Vegas for the PBR Finals and then back to Edmonton for the CFR. “He means a lot to us,” says Vold. “To have him picked by the bull riders as the number one bull in Canada, that’s a pretty big honour.”

ROUGHSTOCK OF THE YEAR AWARD

TIMED EVENT HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARD

242 Get Smart

Special Tack — Racey

Owned by Ward Macza, Northcott-Macza Rodeo

Owned by Kirsty White

“He’s only been rode once this year out of 11 trips,” says Ward Macza of two-time Saddle Bronc of the Year, 242 Get Smart. “He has always bucked out of a left hand delivery chute,” he says. “But he was blowing out so hard that I was scared he was going to hurt someone, so 2016 SADDLE BRONC OF THE YEAR I changed him to a right hand delivery, and like I said, he’s only been rode once this year.” This stellar record has earned Get Smart another trip to the WNFR in Vegas. “Get Smart is going to Edmonton and Vegas,” says Macza proudly. “He’s a little horse with a big heart.”

At 14.3 hh, Racey isn’t the biggest horse but she just might be the grittiest. “At times I almost regret giving her that nickname, because a lot of times she’s got more “go” than I can handle,” laughs Kirsty. Now 10, Racey is a rock-solid, consistent performer. Kirsty doesn’t turn the mare loose, but guides and protects her tremendous energy and 2016 BARREL HORSE heart. “I have to always WITH THE MOST HEART consider the conditions like the ground and weather; I don’t have to win every race.” “When I found out she won I was so touched, you can’t imagine,” says Kirsty. “She’s just the little horse that could.”

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Canadian Cowboy Country December 2016/January 2017

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN

STOCK OF THE YEAR AWARDS


C.P.R.A.

TIMED EVENT HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARD

TIMED EVENT HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Tennessee Fly By — Tank

Hollywood Himself — TJ

Owned by Dustin Walker

Owned by Logan Bird

For two years in a row, Dustin Walker’s mount Tank has been honoured as the Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. “He definitely deserves it,” says Walker. “I was surprised but really proud; especially that he won two years in a row.” To give you an idea of how fast Tank comes out 2016 STEER WRESTLING of the box, Walker dropped his steer in HORSE OF THE YEAR 3.1 seconds this year at Pincher Creek. Cody Cassidy also rides Tank, and the big bay carried the multichampion to the top of the standings. “He’s a pretty easy-going horse, but he’s got a mind of his own some days. Most champions do.”

In the last three years, TJ has earned over $300,000 carrying some of the biggest names in rodeo. At 14.3 hands, the 13-year-old gelding isn’t the biggest horse, but the stocky athlete is solid when he backs into the box. “He’s got a good disposition and never really causes 2016 TIE-DOWN ROPING a problem,” says Logan Bird. “But HORSE OF THE YEAR when you get ready to rope he’s ready to go. He’ll jig around but he always does his job.” This year, TJ and Bird won the season leader and a berth at the CFR, but unlike previous years, he’s keeping TJ all to himself. “It’s cool to have a horse that good,” says Bird.

TIMED EVENT HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARD

TIMED EVENT HORSE OF THE YEAR AWARD

Tuffys Badger Chex — Badger

GLH Frostbite Olena — Rick James

Owned by Kolton Schmidt

Owned by Jeremy Buhler

2016 TEAM ROPING HEADING HORSE OF THE YEAR The no-nonsense and decidedly focused 12-year-old black gelding known as Badger made history in 2016. “He has always been a great horse,” says Kolton Schmidt. “But this year he’s been an amazing horse. From June-on, I don’t think he’s made a mistake; he’s been unbelievable.” For the second time he was voted in as the Canadian Heading Horse of the Year (2014, 2016). Then a few weeks later Badger made history as the first Canadian horse to be voted in as the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year across the border. “Our family is very proud of him and we can’t wait to see where he takes us.” cowboycountrymagazine.com

2016 TEAM ROPING HEELING HORSE OF THE YEAR From amateur to pro to his second trip to the CFR, Jeremy Buhler’s horse Rick James was his main horse through it all. At 14.2 hands, the fifteen-year-old dun doesn’t exactly tower over the competition. “I’ve ridden a lot of big horses and he tries a lot harder than most of them,” says Buhler. Buhler has let a few cowboys ride, including Russell Cardoza, who won Armstrong. “He’s a pretty aggressive horse,” he explains. “He’s really likes to win.” “I was really excited when I got the news that he won,” says Buhler. “It’s pretty cool when your peers vote that your horse did his job well that year.” 55


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