There’s no doubt there’s plenty of home grown rodeo talent in central Alberta, but a Bowden cowboy proved he can ride and rope with the world’s best at this year’s Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo.
Ky Marshall earned both the bareback and the All Around Champion buckles.
Marshall wowed the crowd during an impressive round of bareback riding Saturday night at the ranch, spurring to the moon on the Vold horse True Grit for an 89.5 mark. Then he dashed down to the other end of the arena and roped a calf in 8.6 seconds, just a tick off the lead for that event. Organizer Jack Daines quipped that it was ‘Ky Marshall night at the Innisfail Rodeo’.
“This is just the funnest rodeo ever on the circuit, I believe,” said Marshall.
“It’s kind of my hometown rodeo, and we’re good friends with the Daines’. It’s just an awesome rodeo, and there’s tons of people here watching, and we’re good friends with them all, so it’s awesome to have a good night.”
For some contestants, the pressure of performing in front of the hometown crowd is a heavy burden. But that didn’t bother Marshall.
“There’s pressure at every rodeo you go to, so I guess you learn to get over it. Maybe you actually try harder when all these people are here watching you, because you don’t want to embarrass yourself,” he grinned.
“I got on that horse last year at the CFR, and we didn’t quite have the matchup. When I entered this rodeo and I knew Vold was up tonight, I was hoping for that horse. When I saw the draw, and my name was beside that horse, I was just stunned that I got him. All day, I’ve been a little nervous, just thinking about it, and it all came together and worked out. That’s just an awesome little horse of Wayne’s, and he feels good. All the cowboys wish they could draw him.”
“It all felt really good, and when you’re walking back and hear 89, that’s probably the best feeling when you know you’re on top. It just feels awesome. That’s my highest score.”
The ride earned him $2098.
When it came to the roping, Marshall knew he’d plucked a good calf out of that pen too. Although he claimed to have bobbled on a few things on the run, it was a confidence builder for the 22-year-old, who hadn’t done much in that event yet this spring.
While his time was bumped back on the leaderboard considerably during a fast roping round Sunday, Marshall still picked up $871.
The rancher, who also helps coach the Olds College Rodeo team, qualified for his first Canadian Finals Rodeo last fall, in both the bareback and All Around races. His only competitor in the All Around race was Travis Reay, who wound up with the 2013 Canadian title. But at Innisfail, it was Marshall’s turn, and he bettered Reay’s result by a mere $30. Reay placed in the bronc riding ($316), and won the steer wrestling in 4.1 seconds ($2623).
“I needed the hit,” claimed Reay, who lives in Mayerthorpe. “I haven’t had a really good spring. It’s been kind of slow. I’ve always wanted to win the Innisfail Rodeo.”
The special Ross Contway bronze up for grabs in the saddle bronc riding went to Sam Kelts, by half a point. Kelts was 88 points on Calgary Stampede’s famous Lynx Mountain, with past Innisfail winners Dustin Flundra (87.5) and Kyle Thomson (87) close on his heels.
“That’s a horse you can win first on anywhere,” said Kelts, of Millarville. “This was only the second time I’ve gotten to get on her.”
“The Daines Ranch Rodeo has been here for so long and it’s a prestigious rodeo. They give away such a great bronze. The money is a big deal at these rodeos, but the money spends, and the trinkets are there forever. Everybody wants to have this bronze.”
Idaho’s Nate Baldwin won the tie-down roping in 8.0 seconds, for $2411, while 19-year-old rookie Brock Radford of Dewinton scored his first pro win with an 89.5 point bull ride on Gingas Kong ($2294). The 15.877 second time turned in by Laci Suitor of Duchess in the barrel racing during slack held up for first overall ($2613), while Ponoka’s Levi Simpson made it two years in a row for an Innisfail team roping buckle, by roping in 4.8 seconds with his new partner Ryon Tittel of Oregon ($1865 each). Owen Berreth of Airdrie won steer riding with a 76; Dantan Bertsch of Eastend, SK took novice bareback with a 79; Keenan Reinhardt of Calgary was first in novice saddle bronc with a 77. The Bruce Burrell team won the Wild Cow Milking.
Rodeo contestants try their hand next at Wainwright and Sundre on the weekend.