Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. CPRA photo by Billie Jean Duff.
RED DEER, Alberta — In just a few hours, Canadian Professional Rodeo’s champions will be crowned. And CFR ‘45 – the first in Red Deer, Canada – will come to a close.
Two cowboys who will be in the spotlight on Championship Sunday are 2016 World Champions and reigning Canadian Champions, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. The talented duo have placed in every round and tied for first in two of them to put $32,400 in each man’s pocket to date. Both Simpson and Buhler and co-round winners, Clay Ullery and Riley Warren, posted 4.0 second runs – the fastest time of the week.
“The cow that we drew tonight didn’t have the best track record, but it looked really good on the video from the first two times that it went.” Simpson noted. “I just tried to see my start. The round was shaping up to be really fast with three runs prior to us of 4.3 and I knew we’d have to speed it up a bit tonight to stay in the money. We were able to make a good solid run and things just worked out.”
Heading into the final performance, Simpson and Buhler are first overall and first in the aggregate with an overall time of 27.2 seconds on five head.
Another roper who is enjoying a productive and profitable week is Carstairs, Alberta cowboy, Kyle Lucas. The five time CFR qualifier started slowly, finishing out of the money on night number one, but since then has been on his game with a first, a second and a pair of thirds to move him to first in the aggregate (41.5 seconds on five head). The $25,920 Lucas has earned this week has him $4700 ahead of two time Canadian Champion and 2013 World Champ, Shane Hanchey, of Sulphur, Louisiana.
“I had a few mishaps in the first three rounds on my part,” shared Lucas, “that I feel were kind of rookie mistakes. I was letting the nerves get to me but I was able to set those aside for the next few rounds. I should have been better tonight as well, but I’ll be thankful for third.”
Tight races are the order of the day in the remaining events as well.
In the bareback riding, three time Canadian Champion, Jake Vold, remains in the overall lead with Dublin, Texas cowboy, Richmond Champion, and Ky Marshall of Bowden, AB tucked just behind him in second and third respectively.
Ponoka, Alberta’s Wacey Finkbeiner is the only man who’s five for five in the bull riding. The second generation athlete holds a $4700 lead on fellow Ponoka resident, Zane Lambert. However, Finkbeiner leads the aggregate with Lambert sitting in fourth.
Hermiston, Oregon barrel racer, Callahan Crossley, has put together the most lucrative CFR week to date with $47,250 in earnings. With three first place finishes and two seconds, the three time CFR qualifier (and former runner up for a Canadian title) has vaulted from fourth place at the start of the week, to first with a comfortable $12,000 lead over second place cowgirl, Taylor Manning.
Scott Guenthner of Provost, Alberta saw his season lead evaporate during the early rounds of this CFR, but has rebounded with a first and a split of second in the last two rounds to climb back into the driver’s seat heading into Sunday. $15,000 back of Guenthner is Fort St. John, BC dogger Stephen Culling.
And in the saddle bronc riding, 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) holds a razor thin lead of $200 over second place man, Zeke Thurston. Third place cowboy, Jake Watson, is also in the conversation. While Watson is $15,000 in arrears of Elliott and Thurston, Watson sits first in the aggregate while Elliott holds down third place and Thurston is back in sixth.
The Champions in all seven events will be determined Sunday afternoon, November 4 at the Enmax Centrium, Westerner Park in Red Deer. If you are unable to be there in person, sign up to follow the action on FloRodeo’s Live Stream or tune into CFCW 840 Radio.
All Around Champion: Jacob Gardner
Steer Riding Champion: Tristen Manning
Novice Bareback Riding Champion: Mason Helmeczi
Novice Saddle Bronc Riding Champion: Cooper Thatcher