For the first time, Pro Rodeo Canada bareback riders were in the spotlight this past weekend. While there are a handful of bullriding-only events and the annual Wildwood Bronc Bustin' for saddle bronc riders on the yearly schedule, bareback competitors have never before enjoyed a night for themselves until now. And the organizers of the event in Bowden, AB, last Saturday night couldn't have written a better script.
"It was an amazing feeling when they crowned me champion," offered Ky Marshall, who won the event in his hometown with an 87.5-point ride on C5 Rodeo's Fabio in the final round. "There were lots of local people there that I knew. The crowd was pretty wild. It was a good, fun night."
Marshall, who split the first round with four-time Canadian champion, Dusty LaValley with an 83-point score, won $4,270 on the night. He also added another $1,143 from the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo in Bonnyville, AB, and the 102nd annual Bruce Stampede in Bruce, AB.
"I only had about sixty-four hundred won before this," revealed the 23-year-old, reigning Canadian All-Around champion, "This could be a big turning point for me for the CFR.
"Once you get through the big rodeos like Ponoka, and you don't have much won, you start scrambling and worrying. But there is still lots of money to be won. Some guys start slowing down now and there aren’t as many Americans coming up, so you can still win a lot."
Cole Goodine is also hoping his two wins in Bonnyville and Bruce will be a turning point for him. The 25-year-old grabbed cheques worth $2,296 to push his unofficial Pro Rodeo Canada bareback season earnings to nearly 77-hundred dollars.
"Considering how this year's been a struggle with consistency and injuries, it's nice to be able to pick up a couple of wins," said Goodine, shortly after his 81.5-point trip on Franklin Rodeo's Twenty Three on Sunday afternoon in Bruce. "That was my third time on that horse. At the CFR last year, she threw me over the front, spun me around, pulled me underneath and stomped on me. That was in the back of my mind before I got on today."
"I'm really fighting to move up in the standings. The cheques are starting to add up. I'm getting closer to the target."
Tie-down roper, Riley Warren considered himself on the bubble for a CFR berth before winning $4,044 from the Medicine Hat Stampede in Medicine Hat, AB, and the Bruce Stampede.
"This should shoot me right up there in the standings now," speculated Warren, who was 8.3-seconds in Bruce to win the rodeo for the second time in four years. "Seems like you have some rodeos that you always do good at. This is a lucky place for me."
There was also a pair of bullriding-only events to round out the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule. Ty Pozzobon on Merritt, BC won the Cochrane Classic Bull Riding in Cochrane, AB, as part of his $5,528 weekend while Tim Lipsett was the champion of the White Lightning Dodge Professional Cowboy Crunch in Oyen, AB, part of a $5,554 weekend payday for the Saskatchewan cowboy.
Other top money winners from the weekend included bareback riders, Logan Hodson ($4,084), Matt Lait ($3,986) and Dusty LaValley ($3,199); bullriders Tanner Girletz ($3,866), Jordan Hansen ($3,571) and Zane Lambert ($3,356); saddle bronc riders, Tyrel Larsen ($2,786) and Sam Kelts ($2,612); steer wrestlers, Rowdy Hays ($3,812) and Straws Milan ($2,800); barrel racers, Deb Guelly ($3,478) and Braidy Howes ($2,983); tie-down ropers, Clint Arave ($2,927) and Ryan Jarrett ($2,683) and team ropers, Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler ($2,692 each) and Brett/Justin McCarroll ($1,936 each).
Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo in High Prairie, AB (July 28-29), Bulls for Breakfast in Camrose, AB (July 30-Aug 2), Mighty Fraser Pro Rodeo in Abbotsford, BC (July 31-Aug 2), Strathmore Stampede in Strathmore, AB, the ninth stop on the Wrangler Canadian Professional Rodeo Tour (July 31-Aug 3) and the North Peace Stampede in Grimshaw, AB (Aug 1-2).