LAS VEGAS — The last time a Canadian bull rider qualified for the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo was in the year 2001.
Kagan Sirett and Rob Bell would compete. Greg Whitlow would qualify but be sidelined after an injury sustained at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in November.
The last time a Canadian bull rider won a round was Sirett the year 2000 on the sixth night.
New history was made on Thursday night as Jordan Hansen of Okotoks would ride a previously unridden bull by the name of Tequila from Corey & Lange Rodeo to win Round 8.
“I heard that right before I nodded, but I wasn’t entirely sure about it,” Hansen said. “I knew he would want to pull you down on his head a bit, but I was excited because I thought he would fit my style and luckily he did.”
As tradition remained, Round 8 at the WNFR is dubbed “Canada Night,” a fitting evening for Hansen to claim the buckle.
“I don’t think I could have picked a better night,” Hansen said. “Especially having family here and it being Canada Night meant that much more.”
Before the win, Hansen ranked seventh in the average and ninth in the world standings. He now sits No.7 in the world standings and No.6 in the aggregate.
“Oh, you know it’s a ‘let’s keep things rolling’ kind of thing,” Hansen send. “I swapped ropes and it’s feeling awesome and I’m just excited for tomorrow. My other one was worn out and wasn’t feeling great, so I figured it was time to switch. Last time I used a new rope it worked out for me and luckily it is now.”
After the win, the 2016 Canadian Champion bull rider couldn’t have been more excited about the extremely prestigious victory.
“It’s definitely one of the coolest feelings I’ve ever had,” Hansen said. “It’s something a guy dreams about growing up.”
With only four qualified rides on Thursday, Hasen would win $28,981, pushing his WNFR haul to $67,538 American.
“I’m at the point in my life now to save up and buy a house,” Hansen said. “I’m trying to be smart with my money for once, but I’ll go have some fun tonight.”
Canada Night and a trip to the lucky couch on Outside the Barrel with Flint Rasmussen may have been the change of luck Clay Elliott needed. The Nanton athlete would ride Sue City Sue for 87.5 points finishing third for a check totalling $15,654. Every member of Team Canada has now earned a check for placing in a round at the 2017 edition of the WNFR. Both Zeke Thurston and Layton Green would be called on the mark-out rule to receive no scores.
Two-time Canadian steer wrestling champion Tanner Milan would bounce back after taking a no-time in Round 7. Milan split fifth in Round 8 stopping the clock in a time of 4.4 seconds to earn $5,500. That check moved his WNFR total to $72,192 but he slipped to No.5 in the world standings. The Cochrane man did however move back into a paying spot in the aggregate at No.8.
Ahead of Milan by one spot in the aggregate race would be fellow Canuck Scott Guenthner of Provost. The WNFR Rookie recorded a time of 5.6, out of the money in Round 8.
An unfortunate event would leave Airdrie’s Jake Vold very frustrated following a wreck against a bucking horse named Redigo. At the beginning of the ride Redigo would turn out of the chute to Vold’s right and hit his head and right knee on the bucking chutes resulting in a re-ride option. Before Vold could get on the ground, he would sustain a dislocated kneecap described by the Justin Sportsmedicine Team as a patella femoral ligament sprain.
At first, Vold would be offered to take the re-ride on Friday prior to his Round 9 horse but declined after attempting to move his knee with the help from sports medicine. The three-time Canadian Champion is probable to compete in Round 9 on Friday.
Manitoba’s Orin Larsen would add another score, a 75.5, to his week but not win a cheque. Larsen ranks in the No.6 spot in the world standings and now holds down a split of seventh in the aggregate standings.
Jeremy Buhler would not throw his rope after header Tom Richards missed the head loop in Round 8.
On an earnings note, Team Canada would surpass the half million dollar mark in earnings including the $10,000 qualifier bonus.
The second last night of the 2017 Wrangler NFR begins on Friday December 15th starting at 6:45pm Pacific at the Thomas & Mack Centre.