It took a record haul from Rexall Place last November for Rylan Geiger to win his first Canadian saddle bronc championship. When the Saskatchewan cowboy comes back to Edmonton this fall, he won't likely be needing the same kind of payday in his quest for a second title.
“It will be comforting to come in (to the CFR) with a bit of a lead,” suggests Geiger. “But I'll still have to ride pretty good. Because there's so much money to be won, you can catch up fast. I realized that last year.”
The two-time Canadian Novice bronc riding champ finished the 2013 Pro Rodeo Canada regular season with just $17,469, good for 7th in the Canadian standings heading into the Canadian Finals Rodeo. He then won a CFR-record $51,164 over six performances to beat out New Mexico's Taos Muncy by twenty-three hundred dollars for the championship buckle. Muncy, himself, went into the Finals in 12th with only $10,749.
“I'm really happy with my season,” says the 25 year-old Geiger. “I won quite a bit in 2012 but I went to a lot more rodeos. After Strathmore, I started drawing some really good horses.”
Geiger's season earnings have now unofficially topped $44,000 after an $8,923 Labour Day long weekend in which he won the first place cheque at all four rodeos on the CPRA schedule. His week began August 27th at the final Wrangler Canadian Pro Rodeo Tour stop at the IPE and Stampede in Armstrong, BC, with an 87-point ride on Calgary Stampede's Timely Delivery.
“I would say that was my best ride of the weekend. I'd been on him before. He was a little harder to ride this time but still pretty good.”
The reigning champion's sweep continued August 30th at the Okotoks Pro Rodeo in Okotoks, AB, with an 83-point trip on John Duffy's Laredo. Then it was off to the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo in Merritt, BC, the next day where Geiger topped the field with a 79.5-point ride on C+ Rodeo Company's Pay Day. Following that ride, it was a two-hour trip back to Armstrong for the new CPRA Wrangler Tour Shootout where the four-time CFR qualifier finished up with another 87-point score on Calgary Stampede's Warped Logic to win the $2,500 top prize and an automatic berth into next summer's Calgary Stampede as the overall tour champion.
“I knew I had some good horses drawn,” offers Geiger, who sits 20th in the world saddle bronc standings despite competing at only two U.S. Rodeos this season. “I didn't know the last horse at the Shootout, but it worked out.”
While Geiger has now unofficially widened his lead in the Canadian standings to over $13,000, it was the competitors near the bottom of the CFR standings who used the weekend to improve their chances of securing a spot in Edmonton. Steer wrestler, Jesse Lawes ($2,624), barrel racer, Sydney Daines ($2,296), bullrider, Nevada Newman ($4,573), saddle bronc rider, Cort Scheer ($4,731) and team ropers, Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves ($5,016 each) all unofficially moved above the CFR cut-off when the weekend was done.
Other big winners from the long weekend included steer wrestlers, Baillie Milan ($3,243), Bray Armes ($3,243) and Cody Sheahan ($2,348); bareback riders, Jake Vold ($4,968), Kyle Bowers ($4,401) and J.R. Vezain ($3,324); saddle bronc rider, Justin Berg ($2,899); barrel racers, Britany Diaz ($4,841), Julie Leggett ($3,365) and Katie Garthwaite ($2,068); tie-down ropers Clint Robinson ($3,534), Clint Arave ($3,243) and Randall Carlisle ($2,612); bullriders, Jordan Hansen ($3,898), Tyler Pankewitz ($3,556) and Tyler Thomson ($2,094) and team ropers, Murdock Keith ($2,464) and Rocky Dallyn and Kolton Schmidt ($2,030 each).
Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the Hanna Pro Rodeo in Hanna, AB (Sept. 26-28), the new Dallas Sunstrum Memorial Pro Rodeo in Brooks, AB (Sept. 26-27) and the inaugural Cinch Grassroots Pro Rodeo Tour Finals in Calgary, AB (Oct. 3-4).
About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association: The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with it’s headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta, is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA sanctions over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for the 41st edition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) November 5th to 9th, 2014 in Edmonton, Alberta at Rexall Place, our association’s premiere event. For more information please visit RodeoCanada.com or call (403) 945-0903. Follow us on Twitter, or like our page on Facebook, and watch the action on YouTube throughout the year.