Boulet Boots Pro Rodeo Report – 06/26/18

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He may have traveled a lot of miles to get there, but the Wainwright Stampede is about as close to his home ranch as Clint Laye gets all season long. This year the bareback rider who was raised at Cadogan made the most of the trip and rode away the victor, with $4,442 in spoils. That was thanks in part to a big grey known to be a cash counter – Mucho Dinero.

“I’d been thinking about him since it looked like I would make it back (to the Finals),” said Laye, who now lives with his family in Pocatello, ID.

“I had him on my mind, using the Law of Attraction to just reel him in,” smiled the 25-year-old.

The magnetic pull resulted in an electric combination, and 87.5 points to score the top spot in the Finals.

“He was awesome. It was my first time getting on him. I’ve seen him a ton of times, so I was super excited.”

The last time Laye won in front of the hometown fans was 2013. In between he’s battled some injury problems but is back and climbing the ranks in hopes of making it to the NFR again, like he did in 2015. The Wainwright win, plus a small cheque from High River, helps Laye climb to the upper echelons in Canada and just outside the top 15 in the world.

“This will be a really good boost for me in the standings, and more importantly, to win this rodeo and be rolling into Ponoka in two days is just awesome for my confidence. I’m feeling good because I’ve got some big, important rodeos coming up.”

It was a weekend full of big, important rodeos in what’s know as the run-up to the official Cowboy Christmas stretch. Laye wasn’t the only bareback rider to make a big move. Three-time Canadian champion Jake Vold found his groove, splitting the Sundre Pro Rodeo on Calgary Stampede’s Zipper Whitney, with his friendly rival and world standings leader Caleb Bennett ($1,781 each) for matching 84’s, plus he also got out of Wainwright wit another $1,236. However the two tangling at the top of Canada are still duking it out. This week, Ty Taypotat won the first round at Wainwright to collect a sizeable $4,351, but Ky Marshall was first in High River on C5 Rodeo’s Walker Bay ($1,400) to try and keep on his heels.

 

Two for the Team

Sitting on top of the Canadian Heeler standings is a young cowboy who doesn’t plan on going away any time soon. Tristen Woolsey and his heading partner Denver Johnson made their presence felt in June by winning first at Rocky Mountain House, second at Innisfail, and placing at Leduc. This weekend saw an even better score for the duo, as they won the Wainwright buckles and their biggest pro cheques ever, at a whopping $5,272 apiece. Plus they split third at Sundre, for another $1,402.

Woolsey and Johnson went into the Wainwright Finals leading the average, and it only took 6.1 seconds to nail down first.

“We knew he was a stronger steer and we had a three second lead going into it, so we just wanted to catch him. You’ve just got to be aggressive and when the opportunity presents itself, you’ve got to take it,” said Woolsey, who hails from Nanton.

“We decided to rope together at the start of the year. He fits my style and and I think I fit his. Denver throws fast and handles them around there so I’m able to throw fast and it works out.”

“I was a little bit worried there when I was quite a bit late off the line,” admitted Johnson, from Strathmore. “But I knew I just had to keep my gas pedal full and hope for the best. I got him roped, and Tristen did a heckuva job getting him stopped.”

Johnson credits the hard work and practice the two have been doing at home for being able to put together success come competition time.

“We’re going to try to keep the ball rolling, now that we’ve got it going. So hopefully we can keep on laying ‘em down and making runs.”

A couple of wily veterans of the game pointed out they can’t be overlooked. The new partnership of Rocky Dallyn and Dustin Bird is paying off, and they won Sundre ($2,081 each) and Guy Weadick Days in High River ($2,011 each). Also picking up dual cheques from the weekend was the team of Chase Tryan and Brenten Hall (Wainwright – $2,564 and High River – $1,617).

 

They Will Come

The big bucks flowing at Canadian rodeos this time of year brings contestants up from the deep south. Texan Trevor Brazile snagged his share of it by being fast man in tie-down roping at both High River ($2,270) and Sundre ($2,412), placing at Wainwright ($1,872) and catching some team roping cash with his partner Patrick Smith at High River ($1,224). More money went Lone Star stateside with Randall Carlisle for his fast ties at Wainwright ($2,521) and Sundre ($1,748) and to Taylor Santos ($2,435 from Wainwright and $839 at Sundre). But fellow statesman Cory Solomon had them all beat as he rode away with the buckle from Wainwright ($5,541), with the assistance of his horse Ragin Cajun just returned from a spring injury layoff.

“I like it up here,” grinned Solomon. “The people are great. I usually come up for Ponoka, but my traveling partner Randall Carlisle, he likes to come up, so we came here. I always seem to do good up here in Canada. I wish it wasn’t so far, and so hard to get the horses back and forth.”

Brazile did have to share the Sundre honors with Al Bouchard, who also had a 7.5 second run, and the $2,412 helped boost him to first in the Canadian race.

 

Rollin’ On

Turns out Zeke Thurston’s golden roll was just getting started in the last few weeks. Now he’s really turned up the heat. Fresh off capturing the Innisfail bronze, the saddle bronc rider rode into Reno to add $6,512 to his NFR bankbook for finishing second in the average. Then he dashed back home to wind up on top of the Finals, and claim his first Wainwright Stampede buckle, not to mention another $5,280, after a hectic travel weekend which included a lost saddles, rearranged flights and mad dashes to make rodeos.

Wyoming’s Brody Cress had a big Canadian weekend in the bronc riding, winning Sundre ($2,042) and cashing in second place at Wainwright ($4,670). B.C.’s Ricky Warren shared first at High River ($1,426) and got a bit from Wainwright as well ($1,707).

 

Share and Share Alike

The steer wrestlers were in a sharing kind of mood on the weekend. Take Wainwright, for instance, where a trio of competitors all wound up with the exact same time of 14.6 seconds on three head, to divvy up the championship three ways. Scott Guenthner ($3,633), Jesse Brown ($2,875) and Jacob Talley ($3,584) all got a share of the silver. But it was Talley, from Keatchie, LA, who also split first at Sundre with Tanner Milan, for another $2,067. Milan picked up some change in High River ($562). Dallas Frank won that show with a time of four flat ($1,989), while his brother Derek Frank placed there ($1,081), at Sundre ($1,738) and at Wainwright ($680).

 

Barrels and Bulls

Carman Pozzobon had a profitable weekend, winning Sundre ($2,876) and finishing second at Wainwright ($4,310). She edges up to 13th in the world standings now. Texan rookie Shelby Spielman made her first Canadian cheque a big one, claiming first at Wainwright for $5,212, plus she placed at Sundre ($539) and at High River ($1,215). That should vault her up to top five of the world rookie standings in barrel racing. Another Texan, Stevi Hillman, won High River ($2,026) and was third at Sundre ($2,014).

Bull riding buddies Brock Radford and Lonnie West recorded some high point rides, with Brockford taking first at Sundre with 87.5 on Calgary’s Big Red ($2,287). He was also third at Sundre ($971) and placed on his first bull at Wainwright ($471). West topped the opening round there, recording an 87 on Vold’s Apollo Gold and finished second overall for $3,007, was fifth at Sundre ($653) and caught last hole at High River ($108). CPRA rookie Cody Coverchuk earned the Wainwright buckle and a bountiful $6,594, including a big ground money cheque from the Finals where he was the only one to make the whistle. Texan Boudreaux Campbell found the pay window at High River where he was high man at 84.5 on C5 Rodeo’s Little Dipper ($1,511), and he was third at Sundre ($1,470). Jared Parsonage collected $2,476 from Wainwright and also placed at Sundre ($163).

 

Slim Pickings

Canadian competitors did most of their winning on home turf on the weekend. But bareback rider Orin Larsen did enjoy some strawberries and cream at the Pleasant Grove, UT Strawberry Days rodeo after finishing second, for $2,478. Brother Tyrel Larsen placed in the saddle bronc riding in the first round at Reno ($1,609) where team roper Kolton Schmidt also got a bit ($686). Luke Creasy got a share of third place in Santa Fe, NM ($682).

In the standings race, Thurston is highest of the Canadians, at 4th in the saddle bronc riding with $65,000. Also inside the top 15 there is Clay Elliott at eight place.  Orin Larsen sits 9th in the bareback riding, with Creasy in 15th, and Laye hovering at 16th. Pozzobon is 13th for barrel racing, while Curtis Cassidy holds down third for the steer wrestling stats, with $47,276, while Scott Guenthner is 13th. That brings the total to seven potential NFR contenders. But Cassidy points out it’s too early to put much stock into those numbers just yet.

“It’s always good to be up there close, but in about two weeks the standings are going to get turned upside down anyways. I like the position I’m in, don’t get me wrong, but there’s going to be guys that come from nowhere to somewhere, and guys that are somewhere who fall back six or eight places. My ultimate goal is to have between $80-100,000 (won) or over $100,000, if it went that good this summer.”

 

It’s On!

Cue the Jingle bells or make that ‘jingle in the jeans’. Cowboy Christmas is officially underway, as the 82nd Ponoka Stampede kicks off the first of six performances before the July 2nd Finals and Showdown round. It’s the richest of all the Christmas events either side of the border. But there are also big dollars up for grabs at the Williams Lake Stampede with its five performances June 29-July 2nd. Both Ponoka and Williams Lake are part of the Finning Canada Pro Rodeo Tour, while Ponoka is also the only Canadian stop on the PRCA Wrangler ProRodeo Tour. The Airdrie Pro Rodeo also features five performances, from June 28-July 2, but the 28th is a Bull Riding Bonanza only. South of the line, Greeley, Prescott, Cody and St. Paul are just a few of the big stops competitors will also try and include in their hectic travel schedules.

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