Calgary Stampede rookie Wacey Finkbeiner says the basics of bull riding don’t change based on the stage, but admits he is excited at his first chance at the $100,000 at the Calgary Stampede this July.
Qualifying for the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth via his capture of the 2018 CPRA Bull Riding title, Finkbeiner says things get just a little bit more real when the paperwork shows up.
“Once I got that email from Barry Magrath saying I am actually going, its a pretty awesome feeling,” Finkbeiner said.
The opportunities available for any rodeo athlete in any event at the Calgary Stampede are evident. $100,000 bonus to the champion in each of 6 of rodeo’s events. $5,500 a day on the line to the round winner in each event. But for the forward thinking rodeo athlete, winning that much in one go can set up as Finkbeiner put it “opens a lot of doors”
“When a guy sits down at the start of the year, you write down those big events you need to get to. Calgary is at the top of that list. It’s the toughest rodeo in the world to qualify for,” said Finkbeiner. “With the format that it is, it’s four days straight and you can have family and friends come see you. There are opportunities at new sponsors with corporate calgary coming out. And its upwards of $120,000, that is huge being in my mid 20s. That money can set up a guy beyond the Calgary Stampede. Whether that be a mortgage, or whatever, when there is $100,000 in the bank, that opens a lot of doors.”
Competing against the best in bull riding, from PRCA Champion Sage Kimzey to PBR World Champions Kaique Pacheco and Jess Lockwood, Finkbeiner isn’t rolling into Calgary this July without putting the work in. Finkbeiner knows what it is like to put the work in behind closed doors paying off, and is ready and willing to do it again.
“Throughout the year I try and watch what I eat and eat as healthy as I can. It can be tough on the road when you are crunched for time. You have to grab the quick food once in a while,” said Finkbeiner. “During the week at home I am working out once a day. Leading into the CFR I was doing the same workout in the morning and at night and I look forward to that similar routine this summer to not only make a big run at a Canadian Title but that Calgary Stampede as well.”
The proximity of family is a big win for any of the Canadians who qualify for the Calgary Stampede, but for Finkbeiner, he expects to have a sizeable cheering section in the south grandstand.
“My dads side of the family originate around brooks. I have had a ton of family already call and text to find out what pool I am in so they can line up hotels and tickets and whatever else. I definitely want them to be a part of it all, and I know they want to be a part of it too.”
Along with Finkbeiner, Canada is well represented out of the 20 competitors with six. Meeting Creek, AB’s Garrett Green, Calgary’s Jordan Hansen, Ponoka’s Zane Lambert, DeWinton’s Brock Radford and Maple Creek SK’s Jared Parsonage make up the other five canucks aiming at that big pay day.
“Calgary is a huge city, but everyone in that city knows when Stampede is on. They have a huge following from the city. Being around there and seeing how contestants are treated, you are treated like rockstars. I don’t know if there is anywhere else in the world where you can go four days winning $5,500 a day. Once you are there, you are there. When you get that stadium and grandstand filled, the atmosphere around here is second to none,” Finkbeiner said. “There’s damn sure a good group of guys going to represent not only Alberta, but Canada as a whole. It would be good to keep that $100,000 in the bull riding in Canada.”