By Dustin Edwards for EverythingCowboy.ca
Ponoka, AB: It was the first of its’ kind in Canada, and the 2012 Ultimate Cowboy Championship didn’t dissappoint. 12 cowboys were to compete in at least 4 of the 6 possible rodeo events at the new Ponoka Ag event center. The event, organized by Scott Wyzykoski, was a fundraiser for the Ponoka Broncs Rodeo Academy. For a rodeo fan, it was a chance to see some of Canada’s best cowboys from different events come together and leave their rodeo “comfort zone”. Points were earned based on qualified times and placing: 40pts 1st- 30pts 2nd- 20pts 3rd 10pts 4th and 5pts for a qualified time or score.
The cowboys trying for the championship included: Clem Lowry, Beau Brooks, Ken Siemens, Josh Harden, Colter Harden, Baillie Milan, Kyreon Geiger, Devan Porter, Clay Elliot, Keenan Reinhart, and Rowdy Hays who made 12 for the team roping. The bareback riding kicked off the event, and it was Big Valley, AB brothers Josh and Colter Harden that dominated the event. Colter registered a 73 pt ride on the first horse bucked, but the “favoured” rider was quickly beat by his brother Josh, who got on what he said was his first and last bareback horse. He looked like a seasoned pro as he put his spurs to work and a 74 pt ride to win the first event.
All the contestants took part in the team roping, and there were many steers stretched. It was the duo of Baillie Milan and Beau Brooks who were the fastest. Milan, a former CFR qualifier in the team roping, and bullrider Brooks were 7.5 sec to take the event. The saddlebronc riding was looking to be very competitive with a roster of great bronc riders. Kyreon Geiger, who took a re-ride option after his first horse, would ultimately take the event he competes in normally, posting an 84 pt ride and earning the 40 championship pts. It was pure entertainment watching some of the cowboys get on the first ever and probably last saddlebronc horses.
Here, former WPB Champion and CPRA Bullrider Ken Siemens gets in on the Saddlebronc action:
All the cowboys were in on the Tie Down Roping, and it was entertaining to say the least. With a few big calves that were alot of work to flank, and a horse that seemed to outrun the cowboys it was fun to watch. A field of talented ropers made it competitive, and even a cowboys surprised themselves. Devan Porter, who is no stranger to success in the Tie Down roping, would have the fastest hands and win the 40 pts.
The steer wrestling promised to be another close event. Watching cowboys dismounting for the first time was worth the price of admission, and there were a few good spills. It came down to the 2 bulldogging veterans Josh Harden and Baillie Milan, the 4x CFR Qualifier. Milan was a bit quicker on his run and added 40 more points to his total. Harden would finish 2nd and made a close points race heading into the Bullriding event.
The Bullriding would wrap up the night, and ultimately decide who our champion would be. With a field of talented bullriders like Beau Brooks, Clem Lowry, and Ken Siemens it was going to be a tight race. However, it was the guys getting on their first bulls ever who made the biggest impressions on the night.
Josh Harden, the bulldogger and saddlebronc rider by trade, made this 70 pt ride and was the first non-bullrider to get a score.
Beau Brooks would make a qualified ride on a pretty easy bull for him, and then it was bareback rider Colter Harden who surpirsed the crowd with a 79 pt ride. He credited alot of the rides success to his behind the chutes coach, multiple CFR qual. Devon Mezei.
Ken Siemens, a 11′ Elite Professional Bullriding finalist, would ulimately show the rookies how it was done and posted an score in the 80’s for the win. However, before the night ended it was Baillie Milan’s turn to crack out in the bullriding. He didn’t draw the rankest of the pen, but held on for 8 seconds and a 55 pt ride:
With a 8 second bullride in the books, it would give Cochrane cowboy Baillie Milan enough points to be crowned the 2012 Ultimate Cowboy Champion. He picked up a 1oz piece of gold (valued at approx. $1700.00) new boots, jacket, and of course braggin’ rights. I’m sure he will be back next year to defend his title, and there will be 10 other cowboys all wanting their shot at being Canada’s Ultimate Cowboy.