The 2012 CFR is chalked so full of talent, I pity the poor souls who can’t fit at least one perf of spectating in. We’re going to go through a brief rundown of each event to give you an idea of what to look for this Nov. 7-11th and the road thus far.
The bareback riding, starting from twelfth spot begins with Jason Wheeler, a first time CFR qualifier but a veteran of the sport. Life came up and prolonged Wheeler’s first CFR, but after a couple decades of dreaming and working for it, you can bet Wheeler is revved and ready Regina’s Ty Fast Taypotat has no doubt been pumping iron in preparation for the gruelling six head of CFR. Clayton Bunney, is back at CFR and ready to add another good showing to his already astounding 39 Canadian rodeos, the most of all CFR qualifying bareback riders. Just ahead of Bunney is his younger Cousin, Rookie Rider Clint Laye. Cowley’ Wyoming’s JR Vezain comes in in 7th place, with his former travelling partner Josi Young two spots up. The top two spots are separated by little over $11,000. The two coming in are last year’s Canadian Champion Dusty Lavalley and travelling partner Jake Vold, last year’s runner up… and they are coming into CFR in the same seats they left it a year ago.
In the novice events, twelve contestants total will make their way to Edmonton on Tuesday to check into possibly their first ever CFR. Some have been before and some have not, for those making their first trip, there’s not much more exciting than that first time to Edmonton. Layton Green has a commanding lead on both Cole Neely and Calgary Stampede Champion Clay Elliot in the Novice Saddle Bronc. An interesting fact about the Novice Saddle Bronc is that there are six former champions that are competing this year in the open. It’s a big stepping stone and all three of this year’s contestants are well on their way to a full time professional career.
Dylan Bilton leads in the Novice Bareback and has a good sized lead over his two competitors. Kagen Schmidt won more money than any other Steer Rider in the 2012 Regular Season. That Steer Riding is always a crowd pleaser and sure won’t be any different this year with the talent that’s qualified.
Tie-Down roping, which since being opened up to American contenders has been overflowing with US champions and contenders. This year’s top three spots went to Colorado’s Joshua Peek who earned $17,715 in 3rd, Texas’ Clif Cooper with $26,862 and with $36,042 Louisiana’s Shane Hanchey is nearly 10k ahead of the field. Though the Canadian’s are a bit behind the leaders, young guns Erik Dublanko, Riley Warren, and Steele Depaoli will try to gain ground while Veteran’s like Murray Pole and Curtis Cassidy sneak up the ranks.
The Saddle Bronc riding starts with twelfth man Justin Meston who had to wait for a reride, the last horse bucked of the year, rode by Justin Berg, to find out if he would be at this year’s CFR. Chet Johnson, of Douglas, Wyoming, former Canadian champion and winner of Hanna, last regular season rodeo of the year came in in 11th hole, right behind Dusty Hausauer, 2006 Canadian champion, first American Canadian Champion. Denver Daines, singer/songwriter/bronc rider, comes in to CFR with only 16 rodeos because after winning Ponoka, Canada’s largest regular season rodeo, why bother rodeoing your tail off if you don’t have to. Rylan Geiger of Duchess, AB who rodeoed just in Canada this year was 25th in the world standings, is the season leader nearly $6000 ahead of Luke Butterfield in 2nd place. Jim Berry, Sam Kelts and Dustin Flundra round out the top five and will be sure to come after the leaders.
Little over $8000 separates all 12 steer wrestling qualifiers, so it’s easily anyone’s game. Cody Cassidy is in first with $20,915, closely tailed by Tanner Milan with $20,803. Americans Matt Reeves, Chason Floyd, and Wyatt Smith are scattered in the fray, with Cochrane’s Baillie Milan coming in the final spot with $12,854.
Stephenville, Texas’ Carlee Rae Pierce is in top spot in the barrels, with $32,382, with over $20,000 ahead of 12th place Steffanie Mather Pierce is ahead of the field but not in the clear as Cranna Roberts is in third with $25,620 riding this year’s horse with the most heart Mooney, and fellow Texan Lee Ann Rust is between the two with $27,018.
In the Team Roping, it’s anybody’s game. Paul Eaves and Dustin Bird may be in the lead, but all the teams are within striking distance. No more than $7,000 separates first and twelfth spots on either end. Rocky Dallyn will surely be looking to win once again in this, his 13th CFR qualification. Brett McCarroll, Levi Simpson and his brother Chase all have the opportunity to win Canada for their second time or more. This could also be the first time the Canadian Championship in the Team Roping is won by American Team Ropers.
With little over $13000 separating first and last place, CFR could be anyone’s game in the bull riding. Pozzobon managed to edge Schiffner out for top spot by $619 and has no room to breathe if he wants to maintain top spot for a Canadian Championship. But with all the success Pozzobon has had throughout the year at rodeos and PBR events you can expect further phenomenal performances from him in Edmonton.
Returning Champion Chad Besplug is nestled in the mix in 8th spot but will be seeking to fend his way up through the field and win his second and back to back Championship.
Who are your picks for each event? Let us know your thoughts as a comment below!