For reigning Canadian champion, Nancy Csabay, it’s all about balance.
“I had conflicting thoughts this weekend, for sure,” the Taber barrel racer admitted. “My ego was telling me to get some dollars made and get closer to making the CFR. But my heart was saying you do this because you love to do it. It’s not the end result but the journey that really matters.”
The diminutive cowgirl made the weekend work on both counts—cashing important pay cheques and enjoying the miles it took to win them.
“The best part of this weekend was having family with me,” she added. “My brother and his family came along and (husband) Tony was able to be with us as well so we did some camping, took the gondola ride up the mountain at Jasper and got to the hot springs too.”
Oh, and along the way, the second generation rodeo competitor collected $2609 in earnings with a dominating win at Pincher Creek and a second place finish at Cranbrook—important late-season results as the defending Canadian champion entered the weekend in 13th place in the standings, just one spot away from a Canadian Finals qualifying berth.
Csabay made a conscious decision three years ago to limit her rodeo schedule. “I’m only going to compete at the rodeos I like to go to. I’m just not hauling everywhere any more. My mare (Wicked) likes her pasture and I like being at home. So we’ll go to the ones we enjoy. For me it’s about memories not miles.”
That strategy paid off in spades in 2015 for the talented rider and trainer as she and a rested Wicked (Terribly Wicked/Like an Effort) dominated the CFR barrel racing event, winning the average, the Top Gun award (most money won by an individual competitor) and her first Canadian championship.
“I wonder sometimes if I had gone really hard last year if we would have done as well,” Csabay mused. “I can’t really answer that. All I know is it worked out really well and I’m not planning to change things.”
With only six regular season rodeos left in the season and not having clinched a CFR spot as yet, Csabay may have to go a little harder to take care of business. “I might have to go to Hanna and a few other events. We’ll just have to see.”
One place you can count on the likable 2014 Cowgirl of the Year to be is Calgary for the Cinch Pro Rodeo Canada Series Final—September 30/October 1. “I’ll be there for sure. “That’s where I clinched the season leader title last year. They have a really nice setup in that building and they treat us really well there.”
Csabay wasn’t the top money earner for the weekend. That honour went to Nanton bronc rider Clay Elliott who parlayed wins at Pincher Creek and Jasper and a fifth place cheque at Cranbrook into $2909 and a move up the standings in both Canada and the US. The weekend’s successes were highlighted by Elliott’s 84 point performance on the three time Canadian champion saddle bronc, Lunatic Party from Outlaw Buckers. “She’s a pretty special horse, that’s for sure,” Elliott stated. “Anytime you get on a horse like that you know good things can happen.”
Elliott is locked in a neck and neck race atop the Canadian standings leaderboard with Layton Green and south of the 49th parallel, the gifted twenty-two year-old moved closer to punching his ticket to his first WNFR as he moved to seventh place in the world standings.
Among the other top dollar earners this past weekend were the team roping duo of Travis Gallais and Devin Wigemyr as they reeled in $1734.06, a total that included Wigemyr’s first pro win as the pair topped the Jasper Pro Rodeo with a 4.5 second run. The productive weekend was important to the twosome as they entered the three-rodeo span with both guys flirting with that 12th and final CFR position. The brother combination, Logan and Keeley Bonnett kept pace with Gallais and Wigemyr with a $1556 haul to keep their CFR aspirations alive.
And back in the barrel racing, BC cowgirl Carman Pozzobon strengthened her hold on a CFR date. She went into the weekend sitting solidly in 7th place in the Canadian standings and helped her cause generating $2208 in earnings.
Another highlight of the weekend took place at Pincher Creek where Vanscoy, Saskatchewan steer wrestler, Dustin Walker, posted the fastest time of his career and of the Canadian rodeo season with a blistering 3.1 second run to capture the bulldogging title at the southwestern Alberta community.
End of an Era
The Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo was the final rodeo destination for five time Canadian champion Kyle Thomson, who made the last ride of his tremendous career during the Saturday afternoon performance. The former CPRA board member and 11-time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier captured four All Around titles and added a High Point title as well during a career that spanned seventeen years. Thomson is one of only a handful of Canadians to win the coveted Linderman Award, the PRCA honour that goes to the top money earning cowboy competing in three events—at least one rough stock and at least one timed event. The Lundbreck, Alberta cowboy won the Linderman in 2012.
Next stop on the Pro Rodeo Canada trail is Okotoks Pro Rodeo August 26-28.