Landon Schmidt, a 21-year-old from Tofield Alberta set a goal in his first year with the Canadian Cowboys Association.
To make finals.
He has successfully accomplished that goal in 2018. But the young bull rider has a his eye on a certain piece of hardware come October 20 in Swift Current.
“Right from the start of the year that CCA finals were my number one goal of the year,” Schmidt said.
“The finals buckle has really been the main goal for me all year long. For the event title I would say it’s anyone’s game. Everyone goes in at square one and whoever rides the most bulls will come out with the title.”
One of the things that attracted Schmidt to the bull riding event was the camaraderie and the adrenaline of the sport. Having gotten on his first steer at 13, Schmidt experienced a few years of lacklustre performances while competing in the Lakeland Rodeo Association and Wildrose Rodeo Association. But its the camaraderie that Schmidt, affectionately nicknamed “Yoshi” by his pals, attributes with his success this year and reinstating the passion and drive for the sport.
“In the last while I have gotten to be really close with Lonnie and Bryce West, Brock Radford, and Coy Robbins. These guys have all become or are on there way to becoming household names in the PBR. I went through a few years of not being very successful and those guys have really helped me step my game up this year,” Schmidt said.
“(I) had the pleasure of going down to the Cheyenne PBR with Radford, West, and Lachlan Richardson. That trip taught me so much about keeping a good attitude in your rig and keep rolling with the positives. I could go on forever about how everyone of these guys have helped me succeed in their own way and I owe so much of my success to those guys.”
“I personally find it really cool getting to be able to travel all across the country with some of your best buddies getting to do what you love. In all my years of playing sports this is the only sport that I have ever seen the kind of camaraderie that bull riding has between competitors. There are not very many sports you will find someone cheering for a buddy telling him beat you, and that is something super cool to me. And also I am yet to find a feeling as good as making a good bull ride and seeing all your buddies cheering you on, on the back of the bucking chutes.”
The long term goal for Schmidt is to make it to the pro ranks of bull riding. He said that competing in the CCA, which has more rodeos in Saskatchewan than any other province really taught him about putting the miles behind and focusing on the job at hand.
“The CCA are an awesome stepping stone before committing to go pro and I figured if I can come win at this level than I am ready to make my way up the ranks.”
Schmidt says the competition in the CCA is stiff, and it has been a hectic year in the standings with five different competitor sitting atop the standings throughout the year.
“The competition has been pretty consistent all summer long,” Schmidt said.
“I know there are some guys who have had really strong pushes at the end of the year like Chanse Switzer and Quinton Taylor, so they will definitely be guys battling for season leader and ones to watch at the finals.”
But the competition couldn’t match Schmidt’s effort at two events this year, taking home the win in Shaunavon and Kindersley Saskatchewan, which solidified Schmidt as a contender in 2018.
“It was really cool getting to ride at a rodeos like Kindersley which to me is basically a professional calibre event. Not many semi-professional/amateur shows are ran with such class and excitement that it makes you feel like you at the pro shows,” he said.
Having never attended the CCA finals in its previous two years in Swift Current, Schmidt says he has heard it is just like a miniature Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR).
“The CCA finals have never been one to disappoint and I cannot imagine this year will be any different. Some of the countries top cowboys will be competing which will make for some awesome performances. As for the bull riding I know there is a good lineup of bull riders which I am sure will result in some awesome bull rides.” Schmidt said.
For more information about the CCA, or the CCA Finals, please visit www.CanadianCowboys.ca.