PHOTO COURTESY CPRA/MIKE COPEMAN
ONE HELL OF A RIDE For 44 years Northlands hosted the Canadian Finals Rodeo. Thank you, it's been one hell of a ride...
CANADIAN COWBOY COUNTRY FEBRUARY/MARCH 2018 35
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Canadian Cowboy Country February/March 2018
2018 Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Schedule FEBRUARY
PHOTOS COURTESY CPRA
Exciting Times These are exciting times in Canadian professional rodeo. We are thrilled to announce that the new home of the Canadian Finals Rodeo is Red Deer, Alta. Congratulations to Westerner Park and the Red Deer and District Chamber of Commerce for their tremendous work in putting together a thorough and very impressive proposal. We appreciate the efforts of all those who expressed interest and we are excited and looking forward to CFR 45. At a spectacular final edition of the CFR at our long-time home in Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum, we crowned a terrific group of champions. On behalf of the CPRA Board of Directors, management and staff, I extend congratulations to all of our 2017 Champions — both two-legged and four-legged — and special thanks to everyone who contributed to 44 years of Canadian rodeo history. All of us, as Canadians, are proud of the nine competitors who represented our country at the 2017 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. Congratulations as well to Canadian stock contractors who between them took 50 horses and bulls to the Thomas & Mack Arena in Las Vegas — with particular mention of C5 Rodeo and Virgil. Virgil was named 2017 top Canadian, CFR and World Bareback Horse and tied for top Bareback Horse of the WNFR. As always, as we look back on a successful 2017, we can’t thank enough our sponsors, our rodeo committees and their volunteers and our fans. All of you are valued more than you know and we look forward to having you as part of our 2018 season. We kicked off our 2018 event roster with another successful Canadian Western Agribition Pro Rodeo in late November. And we look forward to the two CPRA bull ridings, the Rebel Energy event in Red Deer and the Chad Besplug Invitational in Claresholm that will usher in the spring season. Finally, I wish everyone a happy and successful 2018. Safe travels, good health and we’ll see all of you on the rodeo trail. — Terry Cooke, President, CPRA
Red Deer, AB *........................................ Feb 17 Claresholm, AB *................................... Feb 24
APRIL Medicine Hat, AB.................................. Apr 6–8 Olds, AB *................................................. Apr 13 Tofield, AB *............................................ Apr 14 Camrose, AB........................................... Apr 27–29 Coleman, AB........................................... Apr 27–29
MAY Drayton Valley, AB............................... May 4–6 Stavely, AB.............................................. May 10–12 Falkland, BC............................................ May 19–21 Grande Prairie, AB................................ May 30–Jun 3 Leduc, AB................................................. May 31–Jun 3
JUNE Wildwood, AB *..................................... Jun 2–3 Hand Hills, AB........................................ Jun 2–3 Rocky Mountain House, AB............. Jun 7–10 Brooks, AB.............................................. Jun 8–9 Lea Park, AB........................................... Jun 8–10 Innisfail, AB............................................. Jun 15–17 Okotoks, AB * (team roping)............ Jun 16 Wainwright, AB ProTour................... Jun 21–24 High River, AB........................................ Jun 22–24 Sundre, AB.............................................. Jun 22–24 Ponoka, AB ProTour........................... Jun 26–Jul 2 Airdrie, AB............................................... Jun 27–Jul 1 Williams Lake, BC ProTour.............. Jun 28–Jul 1 * – Special Event ProTour – Tour Rodeo Dates are subject to change. Please visit rodeocanada.com for up-to-date information, up-to-the-minute rodeo results and draws.
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Canadian Cowboy Country February/March 2018
The Short Round CHAMPION RETIRES Tanner Girletz, the 2006 Canadian Champion bull rider, retired at the 2017 CFR, and 16,000 rodeo fans gave him a standing ovation. The Cereal, Alta., bull rider had a pretty good year. He won the Grass Roots Final, and earned nearly $30,000 at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, winning two rounds and splitting a round 2/3. In all, Girletz ended the year with over $62,000 in earnings and ironically, an invite to the Calgary Stampede — which begged the question, will he ride at Calgary? “When I looked up and saw all those people cheering for me, it was the most humbling experience that I’ve had in my life,” said Girletz. “So to be able to call ‘er quits on that note helped make my decision that I’m done. To see that — the people applauding what I’ve put this much work into was appreciated more than anyone will ever know.” He may be officially finished with rodeo, but rodeo isn’t finished with him. He recently accepted the rough stock coordinator position at Olds College, where
Tanner Girletz waves to 16,000 fans as he walked out of Northlands arena for the last time
2018 MRC Brittney Chomistek and 1976 MRC “Sis” Thacker (Shelly Bjarnason)
CANADIAN HONOURED IN VEGAS he organizes stock and the staff needed to run a safe practice. He also puts on a bull riding school; this year it’s at the Pawnee Agriplex at Maskwacis, (formerly known as Hobbema) on February 9–11. To register, call Houston Stewart at 403-896-7604. And, as if that’s not enough, Girletz is now working some young horses to enjoy team roping.
PHOTOS COURTESY CPRA/MIKE COPEMAN; INNISFAIL PROVINCE
YOUNG & FAST Congratulations to Miss Taylor Manning who, on her nine-yearold gelding, Matlock, set the fastest time of the Canadian Finals Rodeo. The 13-year-old crossed the line at a blazing 14.432 seconds in the third round. In an interview with Dianne Finstad, the Grade Eight student had a suggestion for the rodeo organizers. “They should start the rodeo with the barrel racing, because this late in the rodeo it was past my bedtime.”
By TERRI MASON
Taylor Manning on her way to setting the fastest time of the CFR
Shelly (“Sis” Thacker) Bjarnason of Innisfail, Alta., was honoured for her contributions to rodeo in a special ceremony at the 2017 World of Rodeo Reunion and Gold Card Gathering during the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. The event honoured 50 women who have made important contributions to all areas of rodeo and the horse industry. Bjarnason, 63, is known as a barrel racer, a Calgary Stampede princess and 1976 Miss Rodeo Canada. “I am so honoured. It is so humbling. I just can’t put into words how much I appreciate it,” she said. “I could name 50 women in Central Alberta that I think are every bit or more deserving than I am.” Throughout the years she won a championship saddle with the Alberta Barrel Racing Association and placed at several pro rodeos in Canada. In addition, Bjarnason and a couple of friends began a drill team, something she was committed to for 17 years, participating in hundreds of grand entries. Bjarnason said success in her rodeo career comes down to the people around her. “You have to have a lot of supportive people behind you,” said Bjarnason, noting family and friends. “I couldn’t have done it without them.” 39
CANADIANS IN VEGAS By NEAL REID
OOKING BACK ON THE 59TH WRANGLER NATIONAL FINALS RODEO, THE NINE CANADIAN COWBOYS WHO DID BATTLE IN LAS VEGAS WERE HIT WITH AN ARRAY OF EMOTIONS.
From temporary elation and joy, to disappointment and despair, the 10-day extravaganza in the Entertainment Capital of the World provided a variety of feelings for the talented riders, bulldoggers and ropers who hail from north of the border. They came, they competed and they made their marks. Ponoka, Alta., bareback rider Jake Vold led the average standings through seven rounds to thrust himself into the world title mix before disaster struck in round eight. He dislocated his right knee when Beutler & Son Rodeo’s Redigo stumbled coming out of the chute, and Vold’s promising Wrangler NFR was cut short far too early. Vold was unable to make a re-ride and sat out the final two rounds, falling to 14th in the average. His 85.5-point average score was better than eventual Wrangler NFR average and world champion Tim O’Connell’s 85.35 mark, and Vold managed to move from eighth to seventh in the final Professional Rodeo Cowboys 40
Association (PRCA) World Standings—thanks to $83,545 in Las Vegas earnings. That’s a small consolation for the 30-year-old, three-time Finals qualifier, who will have to undergo surgery to repair a torn medial patellar tendon and faces at least a three-month recovery. Standing on the precipice of greatness, a cruel twist of fate snatched it all from him in a matter of seconds. “That’s rodeo, and it’s not the first time I’ve been X’d out in a good situation,” said Vold, who won the opening round and placed in four others. “I came in here with a game plan and didn’t get to execute it all the way. I still had a good week, it was a lot of fun and hopefully I can get back here again next year and see if I can finish it off.” Provost, Alta., steer wrestler Scott Guenthner was the topearning Canadian in Las Vegas, banking $87,338 after a strong finish. Guenthner switched to Tom Lewis’ talented bulldogging horse Maverick before round nine, then proceeded to finish first and second in the final two rounds enroute to a fifth-place finish in the Wrangler NFR average. He finished sixth in the world with $186,839; not bad for his first trip to Las Vegas. “I finally figured out the start, and the start is the big deal here,” Guenthner said of his late-rodeo surge. “I still won a lot of money and moved up a couple spots in the average. It makes you really pumped and excited and definitely makes you want to go really hard. I start again in January, and it’ll be nice to go to my circuit finals on an up and not a down, that’s for sure.” Canadian Cowboy Country February/March 2018
PHOTOS BY DAN HUBBELL
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
Bull rider Jordan Hansen of Okotoks, Alta., was the biggest Canadian mover, earning $84,038 to rise five places in the world standings to eighth with $180,295. The 24-year-old won round eight on Canada Night with a mark of 86 after conquering Corey & Lange Rodeo’s previously unridden Tequila for his third consecutive cheque. Hansen’s success in Rounds six-eight came after a bull rope switch, and he finished sixth in the Wrangler NFR average despite six buck-offs at the $10-million rodeo. Bareback rider Orin Larsen of Inglis, Man., placed in five rounds to pocket $71,769 in Las Vegas and move up two positions to eighth in the world standings. Cochrane, Alta., steer wrestler Tanner Milan
PHOTOS BY DAN HUBBELL; PHIL DOYLE
OPPOSITE PAGE Bareback rider Jake Vold winning Round One at the 2017 WNFR on Kesler Championship Rodeo's Oakridge with 87.5 pts.
won rounds two and five and earned $72,192 at the Finals, but no-times in rounds seven and 10 proved costly, and he remained eighth in the world standings when the dust settled. It was a tough 10 days for Canada’s trio of saddle bronc riders. Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alta., arrived in Las Vegas in the world title hunt in the No. 2 position, but made just $29,462 at the Thomas & Mack Center to fall five places to seventh. Wrangler NFR rookie Layton Green of Meeting Creek, Alta., fell four spots to No. 9 in the final saddle bronc riding standings after earning just $45,679, and Clay Elliott of Nanton, Alta., dropped three spots to 14th when he could add only $32,423 to his bottom line. Jeremy Buhler’s 2016 and 2017 Wrangler NFRs could not have been more different. After teaming with Levi Simpson to win the team roping gold buckles in 2016, Buhler finished 15th in the average and world standings after seven no-times with stranger Tom Richards when Simpson failed to qualify for Las Vegas. cowboycountrymagazine.com
TOP Steer wrestler Scott Guenthner winning Round Nine with a 3.3-second run. He was the top-earning Canadian cowboy at the 2017 WNFR. BOTTOM LEFT Tanner Milan making the victory lap after his 3.8-second Round Five win BOTTOM RIGHT Orin Larsen on Frontier Rodeo's Night Fist for a Round One score of 86.5pts, making it a one-two punch of Canadians in the bareback riding on the first night
Canadian stock performed well at the Finals, with Two-time CPRA Bareback Horse of the Year and reigning PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year F13 Virgil from Vern McDonald’s Lac La Biche, Alta.-based C5 Rodeo Company sharing the Bareback Horse of the NFR title with Powder River Rodeo’s Craig at Midnight. Buckers from north of the border also earned nightly honours on five other occasions. It was an exciting and interesting 10 days for Canadian cowboys and stock in Las Vegas, and the future looks bright for Canucks in the always intense realm that is pro rodeo. c
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
ONE HELL OF A RIDE! CANADIAN FINALS RODEO By DIANNE FINSTAD
RO RODEO COMPETITORS TIPPED THEIR HATS TO SALUTE THE END OF AN ERA FOR THEIR SEASON FINALE AT NORTHLANDS COLISEUM BY TURNING IN SOME MEMORABLE PERFORMANCES DURING CFR 44.
AND ALL BUT ONE OF THE MAJOR EVENT TITLES WENT TO NEW CHAMPIONS.
Putting his name in the record books along the way was 23-year-old saddle bronc rider Layton Green, who dominated the entire year. He added $29,325 at the CFR to his regular season winnings of just over $78,000, for a year-end tally of $107,363.75. That blew out the former record season earnings record of $101,646 set by eight-time Canadian champion Rod Hay back in 2005. Green, a third-generation pro from Meeting Creek, Alta., came into Edmonton with a hefty lead over reigning World Champ Zeke Thurston. The Big Valley, Alta., cowboy did his best to close the gap by winning the average, placing in five of the six performances. That included a go-round win for an 87.75 point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Weekend Departure. 42
But nothing could deter a determined Green, who also got paid for five of his six rides, sealing the deal with an 86-point performance on that same horse Sunday afternoon. It was also extra sweet because Weekend Departure had bucked him off at last year’s CFR. “It’s huge. It’s a dream come true. Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be a Canadian champ,” declared Green, who credited his family for helping him achieve his goals. Winning a Canadian title was also the stuff of dreams for Nanton, Alta’s Logan Bird, competing at his third CFR in tie-down roping. He, too, parlayed his season lead into a championship but had plenty of contenders on his heels all week long. His biggest threat came from Stettler’s Riley Warren, who roped his way to the average title in Edmonton for a $26,450 week. Bird took second in the average, to earn $22,138 at the CFR, and finish with a $52,045 season, a mere $989 more than Warren. “I had an unbelievable year,” he added, also grateful for his four-legged partner. “TJ, in my opinion, is the best horse in the world and he works every time. I would not be here without him.” Bird is only the second Canadian (after Al Bouchard in ’09) to win the tie-down roping title since Americans were allowed to compete in Edmonton. “This means the world to me. To say that I was the last Canadian champion in the Coliseum is unbelievable. It’s something that I’ll never forget.”
Canadian Cowboy Country February/March 2018
PHOTOS COURTESY CPRA/MIKE COPEMAN
The highlight of the closing ceremonies was the presentation of the saddles to the 2017 Canadian Champions
There was something missing on the resume of the reigning World Champion team roping duo — a Canadian title together. That was on the minds of Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler all season long, as they racked up the dollars to take them into Edmonton in the number one spot. When it came to the final CFR go-round, there were all sorts of permutations and combinations in the tight race which may have prevented that from happening. But reassured the victory was theirs seconds after they made a snappy 4.2-second final run, and other teams stumbled, Buhler smiled with relief. “This is the one I’ve been waiting for,” confirmed the B.C.-raised heeler, who now calls Arrowwood home. Simpson, from Ponoka, was thrilled to win his third Canadian buckle as a header. “I told Jeremy when we started roping I’d get him a gold buckle. I didn’t know it’d be the other one before this one, but I’ll take it!” Simpson and Buhler each collected $30,475 at Edmonton, the first time team ropers each received the full CFR event payout, posting a $59,000 season apiece. Brothers Justin and Brett McCarroll of Camrose, Alta., were the average winners. Barrel racer Carman Pozzobon capitalized on her season leading position in Edmonton, to dash away with her first title. Like she’d done all year, the B.C. competitor focused on keeping the barrels up, and let her mare Ripp worry about the speed. They collected cash in five of the six rounds, for second place in the average behind Texan Jamie Hinton. In the end, Pozzobon’s season tally of $68,399 was just $182 more than Hinton. It was a nail-biter in the bareback race as well, where season leader Jake Vold looked well on his way to a fourth straight title until Canadian and World champion horse Virgil bucked him off. That opened the door for Wyoming’s Seth Hardwick, who won money in every round, to snatch the average title and the Canadian championship in his first CFR appearance, finishing off a $74,980 season, only $852 over Vold’s total. It’s a long way from Arkansas to Edmonton, but Jason Thomas made it a valuable trip when he cashed in six rounds in a row in the steer wrestling, to take top honours in the average, and set a new Canadian speed record for 23.4 seconds on six runs, breaking the 23.6-second mark held by Curtis Cassidy since 2006. Thomas takes home the Canadian championship for a $59,177 season. Another cowboy who hung on to his number one spot through to the end was bull rider, Garrett Smith. The Idaho contender rode four of his six bulls for a $24,725 CFR debut, pushing his year’s earnings to $70,185. Other highlights included the enthusiastic Brazilian Marcos Gloria, who makes his home in Edmonton, winning the average; and Tanner Girletz closing out his great bull riding career at the last CFR in Edmonton by finishing second in Canada. Bowden’s Ky Marshall rode away with his second All-Around championship, while Morgan Grant claimed his second High Point title in a wide-open race, competing in both steer wrestling and having a great week in the tiedown roping. Dawson Hay of Wildwood, Alta., emerged the novice saddle bronc champion, while Connor Hamilton inked his name on the novice bareback honour. The steer riding was quite a battle with Luke Ferber winning his second champion buckle, by a mere $16 over defending titlist Dixon Tattrie. The great C5 grey Virgil kept his record intact, adding the Bareback Horse of the CFR to his achievements, but Calgary Stampede’s Wild Cherry claimed the Saddle Bronc halter, with Kesler Rodeo’s Flight Plan taking top bull honours of the CFR. The 44th CFR went out in grand style, with 90,268 fans celebrating the legacy of Canada’s rodeo best at the Northlands Coliseum. c cowboycountrymagazine.com
Logan Bird and his great horse, TJ, voted as the 2016 Tie-Down Roping Horse of the Year, in the sixth round catching both the calf and the 2017 Champion title
2017 Canadian Champion Carman Pozzobon on Ripn Lady (Ripp), voted as the 2017 Barrel Horse with the Most Heart
2017 Novice Saddle Bronc champion Dawson Hay scoring 81 points on Vold Rodeo’s 2 Apache Trail in the second round
A group of past and current bull riding champions and competitors surrounds Tanner Girletz after his last ride. Girletz, the 2006 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, who won two rounds and split a round, retired at the CFR.
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
Aerial view of a portion of the Ponoka Stampede rodeo grounds
COMMITTEE OF THE YEAR
By TERRI MASON
Ponoka Stampede, Ponoka, Alta. Committee of the Year — Large Rodeo
Located two hours north of Calgary, the towering grandstand dominates the landscape of the rolling prairie town and the seemingly mile-high “Ponoka Stampede” lettering leaves you with no doubt that you have arrived. This iconic rodeo has won the Committee of the Year Award for Large rodeos a record-setting 12 times and the reasons are numerous. First and foremost, says Bruce Harbin, committee vice president, “Ponoka is a cowboy’s rodeo. Tom Butterfield always maintained that it has to be fair for the cowboys, and that’s still what drives every decision.” It’s widely known that it’s easier to match the calibre of a pen of bulls than it 44
is to match a pen of broncs, so this is what drives the committee’s decision to bring in the best rough stock from a wide range of stock contractors. When the cowboys draw their bronc for that day, they know that it’s up to them to make the ride; they’ll darn sure have enough horse under them to win. “That’s why Ponoka is known as a riding competition, not a drawing contest,” says Harbin. Ponoka has always had free camping on the rodeo grounds, and that’s something that will never change. “If you play your cards right, you can camp for free and with all the pancake breakfasts going on you can practically eat for free for the whole rodeo,” laughs Harbin. The event has over 800 volunteers (over 12 per cent of the population) helping in every conceivable capacity from stock handling to grounds keeping, parking to the
fantastic drill team carrying sponsors flags while galloping intricate patterns. Every volunteer is appreciated and the board thanks them all with a huge barbeque after the rodeo wraps for another year. The arena also welcomes the World Professional Chuckwagons, the pony chuckwagons, mounted shooters and two massive concerts; for 2018 they will have the Road Hammers and Trace Atkins gracing the big stage. The Ponoka Stampede runs June 26– July 2, 2018. To see a full rundown on the vast array of events and attractions, visit ponokastampede.com
Canadian Cowboy Country February/March 2018
PHOTO BY KAYLEE JO HENKLEMEN
or 82 years and counting, the entire town of Ponoka, Alta., has welcomed fans and competitors alike to the famous Ponoka Stampede.
One popular way to arrive at LaCrete includes a ferry ride across the Peace River and yes, it can accommodate trucks and horse trailers
Field of Dreams Stampede, La Crete, Alta.
Hand Hills Lake Stampede, Hand Hills, Alta.
Committee of the Year — Medium Rodeo
Committee of the Year — Small Rodeo
n the fourteen years since they’ve gone pro, the Field of Dreams pro rodeo at La Crete, Alta., holds two records. It is the most northern rodeo in Canada, and the only organizers to win the rodeo committee of the year award in all three categories — small, medium and large. Field of Dreams has won this distinction an impressive seven and a half times; the half came in 2016 when they tied with TeePee Creek Stampede.
PHOTO BY JOYCE WIELER; COURTESY ANDERSON PHOTOGRAPHY
The Hand Hills Stampede grounds, situated on the shore of Hand Hills Lake
This past year they received a double-kiss when Field of Dreams also won the coveted Most Improved Ground award. For those that haven’t been to this multi-award-winning show, the laid-back hamlet of LaCrete (pop. 2,500) is a bit of a journey — it’s just down the road from the world-famous Wood Buffalo National Park, about seven hours north of Edmonton. The cooperative planning of the northern rodeo towns, including High Prairie, Grimshaw and Dawson Creek, has created an informal circuit which attracts top competitors to this wild northern range. The free campground is kitty-corner to the grounds; the covered grandstand offers shade from the sun, and along with the full slate of pro rodeo events reinforced by the high-kicking stock of Outlaw Buckers, Field of Dreams also hosts a couple of audience participation events, and one of the most popular is the kids calf scramble (participants pull a ribbon off the calf’s tail.) “We’ve got two age categories and we get a couple hundred kids in the arena,” says Jake Weibe, committee chairman. “The winners get a brand new bike.” The other event is the “Cash Grab” for adults. “We stick a half-dozen envelopes stuffed with a hundred bucks anywhere on some range cows and they’ve got to get it off her. About 200 people get in on that. We try not to have too many cows with horns but sometimes it can get pretty western,” he laughs. “Field of Dreams is pretty unique,” says Weibe. “We sure make the effort to make the competitors and the rodeo fans want to come, and they sure do,” he says. “Come on up to our rodeo, it’s a lot of fun.” The 15th annual Field of Dreams Pro Rodeo in LaCrete, Alta., is August 7–8, 2018. For more information, visit lacretechamber.com. cowboycountrymagazine.com
ongratulations to the Hand Hills Lake Stampede committee, who, after hosting Alberta’s oldest consecutively-run rodeo since 1917, won the Committee of the Year Award for small rodeos.
The award invigorated the long-time committee members. “The award sure helped out a lot,” says Layton Rosin, committee chairman. “After the 100th (annual rodeo) and building the community centre we were all pretty tired but we all have a great sense of community, so this was great.” The Hand Hills Lake Rodeo grounds, located about 25 miles (40 km) east of Drumheller, Alta., plays host to a two-day rodeothat lasts a week. “People show up days early and camp out together, and all for the cost of rodeo admission,” says Rosin. Tradition is their mainstay and the champions roster of the Hand Hills Lake Stampede reads like the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame with such notables as Pete Knight and Kenny McLean. Needless to say, it’s considered a coup to win this show and have your name carved in their record book. The fans are coming from even further afield. “Once they get here, they don’t have to worry. We’ve got on-site bank machines, concessions and beer gardens.” Most notably, Hand Hills is famous for their homemade pies. From sunup to sundown there is something going on in the arena, and they also host chariot and pony chuckwagons. “And after dark, we’ve got the cabaret,” says Rosin. “We’re now actually making pretty decent money with our pro rodeo that’s held in the middle of nowhere.” Their rough stock has always been supplied by their neighbour, the Calgary Stampede Ranch, who has helped out the committee in other ways as well. “We’re like Calgary’s bad little brother; they’re always helping us out,” laughs Rosin. “We’ve got their old chutes, and various board members have donated money over the years. Without Calgary, we’d be done.” The 102nd annual Hand Hills Lake Stampede runs June 2–3, 2018. For more, visit handhills.ab.ca. c
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider ROAD TO THE CFR
BARES & BULLS WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN By TIM ELLIS
ODD CHOTOWETZ AND COLE GOODINE COMPETE IN DIFFERENT EVENTS. BUT THEY HAVE A FEW THINGS IN COMMON. BOTH HAVE WON MULTIPLE CHAMPIONSHIPS AT THE SEMI-PRO LEVEL, BOTH
ARE IN THEIR MID-TWENTIES AND BOTH HAVE LEARNED HOW TO
“Being able to mentally deal with the injuries means a world of difference,” suggests the 24-year-old Chotowetz, who qualified for his first Canadian Finals Rodeo last November since turning pro in 2012. “You can’t let it affect your riding.” The Saskatchewan bullrider put together his best campaign on the Pro Rodeo Canada trail in 2017, finishing with over $41,000 in earnings, despite serious early-season injuries. “I broke a bunch of ribs (at the spring Broncs and Honky Tonks rodeo) in Medicine Hat,” begins Chotowetz, whose regular season earnings jumped from $2,600 in 2016 to $26,000 this past season. “Then at my first rodeo back in Camrose, I broke my shoulder blade.” That left Chotowetz out of action for even longer this time, returning to the pay window in June to collect $1,100 from rodeos in Rocky Mountain House and Lea Park. The time off was spent healing and pondering. “Learning from your buck-offs, not getting worse from them and letting it pile on and pile on until you’re digging a ditch you can’t get out of,” offers Chotowetz of his new-found philosophy. “All you can do is stay on your bull and let the judges take care of the rest.” For Goodine, who, like Chotowetz, also won titles in the Lakeland Rodeo, Wildrose Rodeo and Foothills Cowboys Associations, his new philosophy also incorporated mental toughness. 46
“I taught myself to fight Cole Goodine winning round 1 on Northcott-Macza’s through the pain,” begins 118 Stevie Knicks, 2017 CFR the 27-year-old Goodine. “With all my aches and pains, instead of giving up, I turned that into drive and determination.” Goodine’s 2017 season was also cut short by injuries. First it was back muscles and tendons that kept him on the sidelines for two months. “I came back two weekends before Calgary (Stampede),” relays Goodine. “I was riding really good and placed three of the four days in Calgary and then on the last day I broke the cartilage off the front of my ribs. “I took three weeks off when I was supposed to be Todd Chotowetz splitting 3/4 on Outlaw Buckers 22 out three months and just Mr Sunshine in round 1, 2017 CFR decided to deal with it and fight through it.” Unlike Chotowetz, who qualified for Finals Rodeo berth last fall, which ended his first CFR last season, Goodine has successfully with a $1,250 cheque from the never missed competing at the Canadian Grassroots Finals in Calgary on the final Finals Rodeo in his four years on the pro weekend of the CPRA’s regular season. rodeo trail. “I was coming from 20th place with two“I knew I was trying to do the impossible thirds of the season gone to try to make the but that made me want it so much more,” CFR.” c says Goodine of his chase for a Canadian Canadian Cowboy Country February/March 2018
PHOTOS COURTESY CPRA/MIKE COPEMAN
BLOCK OUT THE PAIN OF RIDING WHILE INJURED.