Canadians Start 2022 Right With Nine Cowboys Heading to Fort Worth Semi-Finals
Canada’s Clint Laye. FWSSR photo by James Phifer.
Hey everyone! If you don’t know me, please allow me to introduce myself as one of the new members of Everything Cowboy! My name is Darby Crouch and I have been a part of this western lifestyle since I could remember. You may know me as the girl that works behind the bucking chutes at the Sundre Pro Rodeo, or the nervous girl doing some interviews during the 2021 CFR. I am so excited to share some stories and predictions for the rest of you to enjoy!
EDMONTON, Alberta — Two weeks ago in Denver, Colorado, tie-down roper Kyle Lucas and saddle bronc rider Kolby Wanchuk both took home the championships in their respective events. Canadian team roper, Jeremy Buhler, finished second with his partner, Rhen Richard, and Alberta cowgirl, Bradi Whiteside, ran away second in the barrel racing. We are now heading into the semi-finals at the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo with nine Canadian contestants ready to get a win and advance to the finals.
In the saddle bronc riding we will see Kole Ashbacher, K’s Thompson, Ben Anderson, Zeke Thurston, Jake Watson and Layton Green. In the bareback riding we will see Clint Laye and Dantan Bertsch. Also headed into the semifinals is Jordan Hansen in the bull riding, along with Jeremy Buhler in the team roping. Ashbacher and Green currently sit in the top 15 of the PRCA standings; along with Alberta cowboy, Logan Hay.
Although the PRCA season began four months ago, we are only one month into 2022 and so much has happened. While others are making pregnancy and proposal predictions, all I can think about is what the outcome of this season will be. If 2021 has taught us one thing, it’s that anything and everything is possible in the sport of rodeo. 2021 was also a big year of firsts and triumphs, so let’s do a recap:
First off, breakaway roping was FINALLY recognized at a professional level and we got to see some of the toughest women compete for a spot at the CFR. We had more Canadian saddle bronc riders head to the NFR than ever in history, including first-time qualifiers Kolby Wanchuk and Ben Anderson. Adding to that, there was a long list of first-time qualifiers at the 2021 CFR, 30 to be exact. This list included many generational cowboys and cowgirls such as steer wrestler Ryan Shuckburgh, saddle bronc riders K’s Thomson and Lucas Macza, barrel racer Tana Millard, and breakaway ropers Lakota Bird and Kendal Pierson. Not to mention that the CPRA season was condensed into a few months.
Challenges aside, it was one hell of a year for Canadian competitors. So, what do we think will happen this year? Will we see some Canadian breakaway ropers head down to the NFR? Who will be crowned the PBR Canadian Champion? Will we see another CFR of just Canadian competitors? Will we have even more Canadians compete in the NFR?
I have a few thoughts of my own. I think we will see Kole Ashbacher qualify for his first NFR, and some Canadian cowgirls will head to Vegas in the breakaway roping. Finally, for my boldest prediction of 2022, Perry Gurski will not make it through the rodeo season without somehow getting hurt……sorry Perry, you know I care about you.
There is so much to think about as this season unfolds. How do you think it’ll all play out?