Ben Andersen has been very good for a long time. But 2023 has seen the second-generation central Alberta bronc rider take his craft to another level.
His most recent win—the Pollockville, Alberta Hardgrass Bronc Match and the accompanying $12,238 payday moved the two-time CFR qualifier to 6th place in the world standings and second in Canada.
Andersen thrilled the massive Pollockville crowd with a 94-point exclamation-point ride in the Finals to clinch one of rodeo’s most sought-after titles. Andersen rode for eight on the Calgary Stampede’s superstar mare, X-9 Xplosive Skies, the same horse that carried Logan Hay to the Hardgrass win and world record 95.5-point ride one year ago.
The two-time CFR qualifier last appeared at the National Finals Rodeo in 2021 and will be hard to keep from getting back to the Vegas bright lights for a second time.
Andersen was coming off a big-time win at Ogden, Utah (86.5 points, $8883) and a couple of weeks earlier had finished second at the Calgary Stampede to cousin, Dawson Hay, who won the Stampede title on (no surprise) Xplosive Skies.
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If you are looking for that person whose life defines that old chestnut about a roller coaster ride, look no further than Canadian tie-down roper, Beau Cooper
The latest high—a 9.2 second winning run at the Medicine Hat Stampede, stop number ten on the SMS Pro Rodeo Tour, that topped the field for the Stettler, Alberta hand. The win was his second in a row at Medicine Hat and netted Cooper $3396.
“I dang sure didn’t need to miss the barrier by five feet,” Cooper commented on his run. “I was thinking I might not catch him, but my horse is really fast and we just had to suck it up and make it work.”
The rangy roper loves the night performance at Medicine Hat. “I always enter for that Friday night perf. It’s a really fun atmosphere, a lot like some of the American rodeos where lots of them are under the lights. The three-peat next year would be cool.”
Cooper was quick to credit his mentor, World Champion and four time Canadian Champion Shane Hanchey, with playing a huge role in his career. “I wouldn’t be where I am without him, both on the roping side and on the business part of it. It’s big business in the US and Shane knows all of that really well.” And speaking of business, Cooper has put in a fair amount of time working with Shane at the Louisiana cowboy’s famed Bo’s Boil N Geaux in Giddings, Texas. “The food (crawfish) is different, that’s for sure, but it’s pretty darn good.”
As the likeable Canadian talent moves closer to clinching his first trip to the Thomas and Mack Arena in Las Vegas, he might just want to set aside time for a visit to the Big Apple Roller Coaster. Turns out Beau Cooper is an expert on the subject.
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Another cowboy who continues to make noise in the arena is the number one ranked steer wrestler in the world and in Canada—Dalton Massey. After adding a Ponoka title to his impressive list of 2023 triumphs, the Oregon hand took another step toward a trip to Red Deer and the Canadian Finals with a blistering 3.1 second win at the historic Bruce Rodeo for a $1668 payday.
A couple of Canadian champions were also on their game on the weekend. 2019 Bull Riding Champion and Rookie of the year, Edgar Durazo, was victorious at the Rockyford Rodeo with an 86.5 point ride on Northcott Yule’s 932 Redneck Raisin for $1090.40 then added a second place cheque at Medicine Hat with an 87.5 effort for $2399.82 (finishing right behind Wyatt Gleason’s 88.5 showstopper on Kesler Championship Rodeo’s 826 Fallen Angel that netted the Sundre, AB cowboy $2921.52). And the team roping tandem, Dawson and Dillon Graham took top honours at Medicine Hat with a 5.0 run as their quest for a second consecutive Canadian title and a first-time qualification for the WNFR came another step closer to reality. The Wainwright, AB duo pocketed $2795.38 each with the win.
See rodeocanada.com for complete unofficial results.
CPRA athletes continue a busy run for the next week with High Prairie (Alberta) Elks Pro Rodeo Aug 1-2, SMS Equipment Tour events Strathmore Stampede Aug 4-7 and Pile O Bones (Regina) Rodeo Aug 4-5. A return north follows for Grimshaw, AB’s North Peace Stampede Aug 5-6 and Field of Dreams Stampede in La Crete, AB Aug 8-9.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alta. is the official sanctioning body for Professional Rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves 55 + events annually with a total payout exceeding $6 million. The organization oversees the SMS Equipment Pro Tour Finale each fall in Armstrong, BC, holds their premiere event–the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR)–at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alta. in early November and endorses the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals as part of Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, Sask.
For details, please see RodeoCanada.com
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