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K-Days – Rodeo’s richest one-header event kicks the standings around
One of the newest additions to the Canadian rodeo calendar has quickly become a mid-summer game-changer for pro rodeo contestants. In it’s second year, the rich K-Days rodeo again attracted the best in the game, and good crowds to the new location in the Edmonton Expo Centre.
The rodeo fits into a busy weekend, which also included another Finning Pro Tour stop at the Manitoba Exhibition and Stampede in Morris, plus the Moose Mountain Pro Rodeo in Kennedy, SK and the Oyen White Lightning Cowboy Crunch. Put them together, and you’ll see a lot of jumbling around in the standings this week.
A big win for Clay Elliott in Edmonton jets him near the top of the Canadian saddle bronc roster and it will also impact his WNFR drive. Elliott was 87 points on C5 Rodeo’s High Valley, for a whopping payday of $12,972.
But another cowboy who made a big move in the bronc riding was North Dakota’s Dusty Hausauer, who turned number two into a good place to be. Hausauer came in second place at K-Days for an 86 point ride, was second at Kennedy, plus he split second place at Morris, putting together a $13,608 weekend. All this ten years after he won the Canadian title, and at the age of 36.
“I feel really good,” declared Hausauer. “I feel in shape like I haven’t felt in a long time, and it’s sure paying off.”
“My wife’s got me going to these classes every day, and it’ll test you every single day. I can just tell week by week I get stronger.”
“I’ve got things set up at home, so now I take it as a job to go work out. I go to classes every day and it’s been unreal the way I feel like I can ride the way I once could a long time ago.”
“There’s a bunch of money to be won so you’ve got to be at the best of your ability with all these good guys going.”
Hausauer has his sights firmly set on a sixth trip to the Canadian Finals Rodeo, as he escalates from 27th place to top five.
“I was really needing this. I’ve been just mostly going to Canadian rodeos. I can be home during the week, coming up here, because I live so close. I just had a great week.”
Canadian leader Zeke Thurston kept himself on top, thanks to a third place Edmonton cheque of $8,648, while Jake Watson pulled $5,675 out of the same show. Another bronc rider who had a great week was Cort Scheer, who took first at the Manitoba Stampede and split fourth at Edmonton for an $8,225 hit. Rocky’s Jim Berry won Kennedy ($1,352) and placed at Edmonton ($2,162).
Bull rider Scott Schiffner’s retirement plans got a little more complicated when he posted an 87 point ride on the Girletz bull Cuckoo Kong in his last Edmonton appearance, for $11,621. That puts him back inside the CFR hunt. While he claimed he wasn’t going to chase a spot for Red Deer, the ‘if it happens’ scenario is a big step closer to happening.
Schiffner split the jumbo Edmonton pot with Brock Radford, who marked his 87 on the Outlaw Buckers bull OLS Tubs Nickel Package. As well, he finished second during a muddy, wet Morris performance, adding a total of $13,573 to his CPRA account and moving him into the driver’s seat for the Canadian standings.
“I don’t think I’ve ever been so wet getting on in my life than the night we were in Morris. It felt like I jumped in a lake before I got on. It was a torrential downpour on us,” chuckled Radford.
“I’ve finally got the ball rolling again,” said the DeWinton bull rider. “The two weeks before I kind of plateaued a little bit, and stuff wasn’t going my way.”
But a good ride on a tough bull at a PBR in Salinas, CA seemed to spark a new burst of success.
“This game’s all about confidence, so I got my confidence rolling again, and just brought it back to Canada and put ‘er together here for a good run.”
That included Radford’s win at the PBR Canada Czar Lake Bullarama, where he was the only rider to go two for two. He and traveling partner Lonnie West continue their crazy run, aiming for the trifecta of CFR, PBR Canada and PBR World Finals.
Despite missing his chance at Edmonton cash, Ponoka’s Zane Lambert topped Morris ($2,466) and won the long round at Oyen ($2,521). Garrett Green was the average winner at the Cowboy Crunch ($3,480) before getting a high elevation horn toss at Edmonton, which is expected to sideline him for a few days. Timothy Lipsett was the only cowboy to hear the whistle in Kennedy ($3,562) plus he got a share of fifth at Edmonton ($3,784) while Jordan Hansen placed at Morris ($1,336) and Edmonton ($8,648) and Marcos Gloria collected $2,274 from Oyen.
Barrel racer Nikki Hansen is looking forward to a return to the Canadian Finals rodeo and she can make her plans for Red Deer, after notching the K-Days win in 13.664 seconds, for $10,951.
“My season has been great,” smiled the North Dakota competitor. “I’m sitting good in both standings, but I haven’t really had a big win. To have a big win like this at this time of the year is huge. It’ll be a big jump and its obviously a huge confidence builder too.”
“This time of year it seems like you get tired, your horse gets tired, and you run, and then you drive, and you run and you drive. You can have not very good runs, and then the drives are really long,” she sighed. “So this is huge for my season.”
Hansen is mainly running her horse Sky, who she used at the 2013 CFR, now healthy after some tendon injury troubles in between.
Meantime, runaway barrel racing leader Carman Pozzobon continued her winning streak, taking home first from Kennedy ($1,170) but it was also a significant weekend for 22-time CFR qualifier Deb Guelly, who claimed the Morris win ($2,515) while Lynette Brodoway got a $7,119 boost for third place at Edmonton. Taylor Manning was fourth there ($5,476) and second at Kennedy ($1,003) while Shayna Weir also got a pair of cheques, from Morris ($1,509) and K-Days ($1,643).
The big dollars at Edmonton in tie-down roping went to Trevor Brazile and Rhen Richard, who each scooped up $9,567 for 7.3 second runs. But Lee Rombough wasn’t far behind with his 7.6 to get $6,933, while Logan Bird and Erik Dublanko scored matching cheques of $3,790. Bird also was the co-winner at Kennedy ($1,374) with Jesse Popescul for a 7.6 second run. Popescul pulled a tidy $2,195 from Morris for second place, while Ben Robinson of Innisfail got a much need win there for $2,394. Riley Warren managed to place at all three, for a juicy $4,084 deposit in his rodeo account.
Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, who were runners up to the World Champs last year in Las Vegas, took the lions share of the team roping dollars from Edmonton back to Texas, winning $9,983 each for a 4.2 second run. But Roland McFadden and Devin Wigemyr made up a ton of ground on those galloping Canadian leaders Tristen Woolsey and Denver Johnson who were unusually absent from the weekend payoffs. McFadden and Wigemyr were only a tenth off of the Edmonton fast time, and their 4.3 second run earned them $9,152 each, plus they also placed at Morris ($583 each). Clay Ullery and Riley Warren gained $1,166 apiece after their Moose Mountain win, while Trent Tunke and Wyatt Hayes got the W from Morris ($1,676 each). The B.C. duo of Jace Lambert and Nick Teixeira pulled money from both eastern stops, for $1,977 each.
There was a lot of ‘stirring in the pot’ in the steer wrestling standings this week. Ponoka’s Craig Weisgerber continues his dream season, notching a Morris win in 3.8 seconds for $2,318. But Cody Cassidy still bumped him back after he, Clayton Moore and Kody Dollery each collected $8,042 for sharing second spot at Edmonton with a 3.6 second run. The money brings Moore, the 2013 Canadian Champion, back into the mix while Tanner Milan is smiling about the $5,269 he got for a fifth place tie to help him keep pace with the top gunners. Another Ponoka bulldogger, Ben Ramey, joined the fray, after getting hot at all three for $7,090. Matt Mailer took first at Kennedy ($1,427) while the Butterfield boys collected a couple of payouts each from the east run – Chance got $1,991, while cousin Brock caught $2,314. Plus Edmonton was an important enough stop that world leader Tyler Pearson went to a lot of arranging and hauling to be able to compete, and he made the effort count by capturing the victory and $9,983 in just 3.1 seconds.
“I left my horse (Bobby Joe) up here in Calgary with Tanner Milan, just specifically for this one rodeo,” explained Pearson. “This is such a good rodeo and pays so good, we wanted to be mounted good.”
“I’ve been three flat once, but it’s been a long time since I’ve been that fast, so it was fun,” grinned Pearson, who’d split first at Nampa just the night before. “To be fast is one thing, but to be fast for a lot of money is another thing. So that was cool.”
They shared the top bareback bucks at K-Days when both Richmond Champion and Shane O’Connell posted marks of 86.75 points, which gave them each $11,570. Champion rode C5’s Black Feathers, while O’Connell was on Oney.
“I kind of threw all my cards into one hat this week,” admitted O’Connell. “I had to turn out of some rodeos to be able to get here on time. I’m dang sure happy it paid off.”
It’s been a long haul for the South Dakota athlete who hurt his sternum, collarbone and pec muscle area over the July fourth run.
“I’ve just been fighting with pain, super bad. I go back to those wrestling and football days where you just take the pain. You’ve got to ride through it. I’m sitting pretty good where I’m at right now. I’m going after my first gold buckle, not just trying to make the NFR. This is dang sure going to help me.”
And it’s amazing how cash can cure.
“I am pain free right now,” whooped O’Connell, moments after his first place tying ride.
Clint Laye got an $8,610 boost for his CFR/NFR goals for finishing third at K-Days. Manitoba’s Colin Adams is finding his form again after returning from the injured list. He placed at all three rodeos, for $6,803, while Saskatchewan’s Danny Vandenameele also came back on to the pro scene by splitting first at Morris with Dantan Bertsch and Ky Marshall ($1,886), then placing at Kennedy ($496). Marshall got to the paywindow at two of the stops, for $4,845. Pascal Isabelle was the Kennedy bareback champion with his 85 point ride on the Big Stone veteran Gold Dust ($1,028).
Jake Vold was one of the big Canadian winners south of the line for the week, when he placed second in the opening round at Nampa, ID, for $3,938, and caught another $1,473 for a share of fifth from Spanish Fork, UT. Scott Guenthner won Ogden, UT in 3.5 seconds for $4,398, plus he got $2,670 out of Nampa and added in another $1,550 from Spanish Fork. For his compatriot Tanner Milan, the profit picture included $3,753 from Nampa and Spanish Fork. Curtis Cassidy was fourth for four flat at Ogden and $3,009.
Bronc rider Layton Green collected $3,818 from Nampa, while Kole Ashbacher ($1,104) and Dawson Hay ($1,166) each got a bit from there too. Clay Elliott tied for fifth at Ogden ($887) while Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler tied up some team roping cash there ($931).
Like the Canadian standings, the world figures are being juggled nearly daily. The latest published ones have steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy sitting in the number two position ($67,188) followed by Scott Guenthner in fourth ($59,842); Carman Pozzobon in tenth place ($72,474); Zeke Thurston fourth for saddle bronc ($82,516), Clay Elliott in ninth ($66,157); and Orin Larsen thirteenth in bareback ($56,907). Clint Laye (16th) and Ty Taypotat (17th) are hovering just outside the top fifteen bareback riders.
And in the ‘doesn’t count, but it spends’ category, Layton Green won $2,400 out of the Days of ’47 non-sanctioned rodeo in Salt Lake City, while Zeke Thurston got $1,600, and Kolby Wanchuk picked up $800. Pascal Isabelle earned $2,800 in the bareback riding, with Chance Butterfield getting $1,600 in the steer wrestling. But none of the Canadians factored in the winning during the rich gold medal round.
Canadian high school rodeo competitors made an impressive showing at the National High School Finals Rodeo in Wyoming, with the Alberta team finishing as the eighth place team overall. Alberta boys stood sixth as a team. Quinten Taylor of Parkland finished fifth for the saddle bronc riding average, while Ben Andersen of Eckville was 16th and Hayden Cole of Condor 19th. Justine Elliott of Lacombe wound up third in the barrel racing. Ethan Mazurenko of Thorhild was tenth in the bareback average. Denton Spiers of B.C. tied for 13th in the bull riding, with Jason Smith of Wimborne 14th for tie-down roping. Kelby Keeley from Claresholm split 19th in goat tying. Ryan-Spur Reid from B.C. wound up sixth in steer wrestling, followed by Dawson Loewen of Saskatchewan in tenth, and Tate Schmidt of Barrhead in twelfth. Alberta’s Chase Skocdopole and Colton Fletcher nailed down thirteenth in the team roping, followed by Wylee Squair and Kyle Wanchuk in fifteenth. Ben Mitchell, also of Alberta, finished eleventh in cutting.
There are a couple of single event specials in the busy week ahead on the Canadian pro rodeo calendar, plus another Finning Pro Tour stop. The second Hardgrass Bronc Match takes place on Saturday, July 28th at Pollockville, offering a $30,000 purse to saddle bronc riders. That same day the Bowden Bareback Challenge is back at the Bowden Rodeo Grounds with a 7pm performance as well. The Medicine Hat Stampede features three performances July 26-28, and is the Pro Tour stop. But there’s also the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo July 27-28 plus the historic Bruce Stampede, edition 105, on July 29th. The 58th Annual High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo runs July 31st and August first.
Stateside, the Cheyenne Frontier Days wraps up on the weekend.