|Medicine Hat, AB – Family support was big for several winners of the Broncs & Honky Tonks Rodeo in Medicine Hat. As the first full rodeo of the 2014 season, contestants were anxious to get back in action, and many brought family members to cheer them on.
Bareback rider Denny Phipps was especially excited to take three-month-old Ryder to his very first rodeo, and ‘Dad’ went all out to impress his son. He climbed aboard Kesler’s Copper Cat Sunday afternoon and spurred to 82.5 points. As the last man out, he knew that was good enough to tie for first, and who better to split the honor with than his usual travelling partner, Bobby Peters of Pincher Creek. Peters got his mark on Kesler’s Mystic Blue. The two each picked up $1051, for a healthy initial deposit in their rodeo accounts.
Phipps quickly tweeted a picture of himself and his son behind the chutes in the Hat, calling Ryder ‘Daddy’s lucky charm’.
“He was dressed in his ‘This is my first rodeo’ shirt,” smiled the proud pop. “Hopefully, he can come to as many as possible with me. He’s ‘invested’ now!”
Phipps, who’s never won the first rodeo of the year, has been pro since 2007. But he rode with a shoulder injury suffered in 2009 for a long time. When he finally had it fixed, he had to relearn his riding style. That took some time, and considerable sweat.
“Under the ‘tutelage’ of my wife, I also got more dedicated in the gym,” admitted Phipps. His wife Navada was a high level hockey player, playing on three NCAA championship teams. “She knows a thing or two about fitness, so I’ve got a pretty good motivational system in my back yard.”
Phipps felt his momentum building last year, placing nearly every weekend in the last half of the season. But the cheques were smaller ones, that didn’t add up to a fourth CFR appearance for the 31-year-old. He’d like to make his paydays bigger this season.
“This is a good way to start. I’m hoping for a lot more wins,” stated Phipps.
Meanwhile a baby was part of the winning ticket for Cody Brett as well. The tie-down roper brought his wife Anita, sons Tuff (2) and 7-month-old Shay all the way down from their home in Silver Valley, north of Grande Prairie, to the southern city rodeo.
“We did an all-night drive,” explained Brett. “The kids were sick, so I only got about 15 minutes of sleep that night. I had a bit of a nap in the afternoon before I roped.”
But that was all he needed to go and tie his calf in eight seconds flat, and lasso himself a $1946 pay cheque.
“They were the best calves I’d ever seen at a spring rodeo. I drew a slower one. The calf went left and just about fooled me. But we were right on the barrier, and my horse crossed over, and let me do my job.”
Brett is high on his mount, a 12-year-old black gelding by the name of John.
“That was only the third rodeo I’d roped off him, and he’s made me money every time. He’s one of the best I’ve ever rode, and he’s the reason I’m going to travel fulltime to rodeo this season, for the first time.”
Second-generation steer wrester Scott Guenthner of Consort led the charge for the ‘eastern’ crew, splitting first with young Cole Rutledge of Cowley. They both had 3.9 second runs, for $1880 apiece. But right behind them were Guenthner neighbors Jesse Lawes and Wade Jober, with Casey Lawes placing as well. Three-time Canadian champion Dustin Flundra got his season off to the right start by winning saddle bronc riding in Medicine Hat with an 82.5 on Country Cat ($1341), while the team roping honors went to the newly-formed duo of Todd Gallais and Murdock Keith in 4.6 seconds ($1351 each). Montanans took the other two events, with Beau Hill turning in an impressive 87 on White Devil ($1424), while Lisa Anderson was the fastest barrel racer in 12.854 seconds ($1685). K’s Thomson earned the steer riding title, while Daniel Gratton took novice saddle bronc.
For complete results, see RodeoCanada.com
Next up is a busy rodeo run, with the new Dawson Creek Stampede Spring Rodeo (Apr 25-26), the Camrose Spring Classic, and the Kananaskis Pro Rodeo in Coleman all on the last weekend of April.
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.