Lait gets late surprise at Ponoka rodeo showdown

Expect the unexpected in the world of rodeo. Ponoka Stampede fans had their hopes pinned on local favorite Jake Vold to take top honors in the bareback riding at the showdown round of the 79th annual event.

Expect the unexpected in the world of rodeo.

Ponoka Stampede fans had their hopes pinned on local favorite Jake Vold to take top honors in the bareback riding at the showdown round of the 79th annual event.

The Canadian champion had a spectacular 88 point ride in the afternoon Finals to lead the way among the top four vying for the title. Then he was matched up with the Calgary Stampede horse Special Delivery in the sudden death showdown.

The horse had a powerful lunge out of the chute, and both Vold’s spurs got on one side of the horse. He just couldn’t get back on track, and was bucked off.

Back on the chutes was Matt Lait, who had just turned in an 83 on Vold’s True Grit. Suddenly he found himself having to run out to accept the trophy buckle and jacket.

He was just as surprised as anyone to win the event.

“I bobbled myself. It was one of those rides where right out of the chute, I spurred over the neck and had to play catch up. I got off and was thinking ‘you just blew your shot’,” said Lait.

Unlike Vold, Lait had managed to recover and spur out the eight seconds of his ride.

“In all honesty, he let me catch back up. You kind of get your mean face on, and get back to business.”

“Obviously, it’s like any sport, as much as you try to predict it on paper, you can’t, until it actually happens. I feel I got really lucky today. I’m really happy,” smiled the 2013 Canadian Champion.

“I came in today in tenth from the long round, and I was hoping just to move up in the average. It was one of those days when someone was looking out for me.”

Lait earned a whopping $11,608 from his time at the Ponoka Stampede.

“I was behind on my rodeos this season. I got sick and then went on a trip to Europe. Playing catch-up was maybe what I needed, to light a fire under my butt!”

Lait had nothing but admiration for the horse that Vold tangled with, and Special Delivery was named best bareback horse of the Ponoka Stampede.

“That horse today looked like his daddy, Grated Coconut, as much as I’ve ever seen. He deserved horse of the Stampede, for sure.”

Despite not making any money in the Showdown Round, Jake Vold still leaves Ponoka with $7797 in his pockets.

Coleman Kohorst was so excited about making a 4.4 second run in the steer wrestling, he exited the arena before realizing he needed to stick around and collect the spoils of winning the Ponoka Stampede championship.

Kohorst had the best time on three steers at 19.1 seconds, which had already given him a healthy $6519 payout. While the slate is wiped clean in the Showdown, Kohorst did have the advantage of being last man to nod his head.

“It’s the first time I’ve ever had any luck here,” stated the Okotoks bulldogger, who added the $7500 bonus to his haul. “It’s pretty special to win it.”

“But I don’t know who was more nervous, me or my ol’ man. He’s been pacing for the last two hours. Either one of us was pretty nervous. My sister drove up from Calgary when she heard I was in the final four. It’s been a pretty exciting night.”

“It was my luxury to be last (out). With how it went in the steer wrestling, I just knew I had to be safe on the barrier, go catch him, and throw him down to win first.”

“I’ve never won 14 grand before in one day, so this is a pretty good feeling.”

The team roping at Ponoka went to 21-year-old Kolton Schmidt of Barrhead, who won the heading honors at the College National Finals Rodeo in Wyoming just two weeks previous. He brought up Dustin Searcy from Oklahoma to be his new heeling partner in Canada and it paid off as the duo earned over $8000 apiece, after winning the Showdown with a time of 6.0 seconds.

Oklahoma’s Ryan Jarrett won his first Ponoka Stampede tie-down roping title, but it was a close race. Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa roped a calf in 7.7 seconds, but Jarrett shaved a valuable tenth off his turn, making a 7.6 second run turn his Ponoka earnings into $13,384.

The biggest money winner of the Stampede was Louisiana’s Cody DeMoss, who made an impressive 88.25 point ride on Lunatic Party. He cashed in for $17,500 at Ponoka, and also won Airdrie, for a $21,500 trip to Canada.

Texan Taylor Jacob has her sights set on making a Canadian Finals appearance in the barrel racing, and she can pretty much count on that after she won $11,684 for first at Ponoka, after making a 17.379 second trip around the barrels. Saskatchewan bullrider Dakota Buttar stuck to a bull called Up Tight for eight seconds and 88.25 points. He was the only one of the Final Four round to make the whistle, and earned a total of $13,113.

Cochrane’s Tanner Milan won the High Point Award, while Montana’s Luke Gee was the All Around winner.

The Tommy Dorchester $50,000 Dash for Cash winner was Kirk Sutherland with his Emco Corporation tarp while Neil Salmond won the Dash for the pony chuckagwagons. Over 77,000 fans took in this year’s Ponoka Stampede.