Coleman Kohorst took home a 75-dollar cheque from the Wainwright Stampede ten days ago. His bank deposit after this past week's Ponoka Stampede will be considerably larger.
"Now the weight's off my shoulders," exhaled Kohorst, shortly after a 4.4-second run in Wednesday night's "Final-Four-Showdown" in Ponoka, AB. "I can just go rodeo now and not worry about winning all the time. I've never won 14-grand in one day so it's a pretty good feeling."
It was Kohorst's first Ponoka steer wrestling championship and the $14,019 won will raise the 31-year-old's 2015 Pro Rodeo Canada steer wrestling earnings to nearly 17-thousand dollars, about $2,500 more than it took to qualify for last year's Canadian Finals Rodeo.
"I was just never able to get two steers caught and thrown down in the same day here before," explained the Okotoks, AB, cowboy, who was the aggregate leader with a three-head time of 19.1 seconds heading into the Showdown round. "I had the luxury of going last. With how it went, I knew I just had to be safe at the barrier, throw him down and win it."
"I have to give a big shout out to the (Canadian Pro Rodeo) Sport Medicine Team. I've been having back trouble since Wainwright and they were working on me up to an hour before the finals."
World saddle bronc standings leader, Cody DeMoss is using rodeos on this side of the border to help pad that lead. The Louisiana cowboy was the top money earner during Canadian Cowboy Christmas with $21,492 from winning championships at Ponoka and the Airdrie (Alberta) Pro Rodeo.
"Canada's been really good to me," undersold DeMoss, who also won $4,126 the weekend before from Wainwright and Sundre, Alberta. "I have been toying with the idea of coming up here for the (Canadian) Finals (Rodeo). I have to get to ten more rodeos up here."
Ponoka also laid out the welcome mat for Oklahoma's Dustin Searcy, who teamed up with Kolton Schmidt of Barrhead, Alberta, to win the team roping championship.
"This is by far the coolest rodeo I've ever been to and to win it is amazing," offered the 22-year-old graduate of Northwestern Oklahoma State University.
The win for Searcy and Schmidt, who posted a 6.0-second time in the Showdown round, was worth $8,096 each. The 21-year-old Schmidt, who earlier in June won the team roping championship at the College Nationals Finals Rodeo in Casper, WY, was already in the top ten of the Pro Rodeo Canada heading standings going into the week. Searcy will now enjoy that same stature in the new heeling standings.
The third rodeo of the week was in Williams Lake, BC where reigning Canadian bareback champion, Jake Vold took home top honours with an 86.5-point ride on John Duffy's Blondie. The $3,959 cheque from the Williams Lake Stampede helped Vold put together a $13,739 week, the highest total in his event.
"It always turns around, you’ve just got to be able to fight through it," suggested Vold, who has won $22,104 of his season total of $25,670 since June 7. "I'm getting back to being excited to get back in the truck now. I'm having a blast."
Other big money winners from the three stops include bareback riders, Matt Lait ($11,938) and Ty Taypotat ($8,224); steer wrestler, Tanner Milan ($10,176); bull riders, Dakota Buttar ($13,113), Scott Schiffner ($6,896) and Lonnie West ($6,813); barrel racers, Taylor Jacob ($13,655) and Sherry Cervi ($12,076); saddle bronc rider, Chad Ferley ($12,572); tie-down ropers, Ryan Jarrett ($14,362) and Hunter Herrin ($13,906); team ropers, Brett McCarroll/Justin McCarroll ($6,766 each) and Klay White/Brett Buss ($5,127 each).
Novice competitors also enjoyed the benefits of increased prize money during the week. Lane Cust topped the novice saddle bronc riders with $2,227, Wyatt Gleeson was the top novice bareback cowboy with $2,161 while Luke Ferber had the best week among the steer riders with $2,383.
Next on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the Benalto Stampede in Benalto, AB (July 3-5), the Coronation Pro Rodeo in Coronation, AB (July 3-4) and the Taber Pro Rodeo in Taber, AB (July 3-5).