There’s nothing better in the sport of rodeo than getting on a roll, especially when it comes after time off due to injury.
Ty Taypotat knows that feeling. He is riding a momentum wave and it carried him right to the lead of the bareback event at the 80th Ponoka Stampede. The Regina cowboy could scoop some big cash, after an 86 point ride on the Kesler horse Double Dippin, top spot so far.
“I’ve been 87 on that horse before, about three years ago at Cloverdale,” recalled Taypotat. “That’s just an awesome horse. I was super excited when I found out I drew him. I knew you could be a bunch on him.”
“I was ready for anything today, because I know he’s more of an exotic, wild horse. That’s what he was out there today, with a couple ducks and dives in there. I just kept on gassin’. It felt good.”
The 24-year-old was off to a good start this winter towards his goal of qualifying for the National Finals Rodeo, when he was hurt in Houston, TX. That put him out of action for two months.
“I pulled a muscle from my knee up to my pelvis,” he explained. “It ripped off my pelvis, and pulled off two pieces of bone. So I was sored up for a while. I didn’t walk for three weeks or so. Then after I could start walking, I was doing light exercise. Then I started working out real hard again. Everything’s been going good since then.”
“I still have two pieces of bone inside there floating around, but they’re not bugging me right now.”
Taypotat came back with a flourish, winning his first rodeo back, and making some big deposits in his rodeo account ever since. That included nearly $6000 from Reno, NV last week.
“I kind of picked up where I left off in Grande Prairie, and it’s been going good. I’ve been blessed right now with good draws, and I’m feeling good. I’ve probably won close to $20,000 in the last month.”
“Dad had it figured out with the Canadian rodeos, I’d be sitting twelfth in the world. My dream is to be at the NFR. It always has been, so I’m going to work extra hard to try and make it there this year.”
He’s also fourth in Canada, and hoping to make his fifth CFR. All those goals could be a lot closer if he can do well at Sunday’s Showdown at this rodeo.
“This is the one, the daddy of ‘em all. The real daddy of them all is Ponoka because you can win the most money out of here of any rodeo.”
Meantime, Ponoka was the first bull ride back for Joe Frost after being sidelined with injury for three months. But it was a bit of a scary start for the Utah cowboy, when the bull stumbled and fell down, and Frost had to scramble off. He was given a reride and settled in with an 83.25 point performance on Kesler’s Liberty City, just a half point behind his traveling partner Trevor Kastner of Oklahoma, who was 83.5 on Anything Goes.
“I tell you what, that might have been the best thing for me,” acknowledged Frost. “Just to knock the nerves off that way and then I could come back and be ready to ride. I guess it was a bit of a blessing in disguise.”
“It’s a lot better when you come back and ride that first one, no matter how many points you are. Then you can build on that, and know that you remember what you’re doing.”
Frost had been on blood thinners for three months, after a blood clot was discovered in his thigh, after he was stepped on by a bull.
“I was still able to work on the ranch. The only thing I couldn’t do was ride bulls or get in a potentially dangerous position where I could get hit in the head. I’ve been working out every day, and still eating right. The only thing I’ve lacked is three months of riding, and that seems to be coming back just fine.”
At the time of his injury Frost was leading the world bull riding standings, but he’s only slipped back to fifth after his time away. It’s his first trip to the Ponoka Stampede, the only rodeo he’ll work on this side of the border. So he’s looking forward to returning for Sunday’s Finals.
“My goal was to win $200,000 by the end of the year, so now after taking off those three months, maybe I only win $160,000, but I still think I can win the world.”
There was a new lead set in the saddle bronc riding at Ponoka, when Clay Elliott rode Kesler’s horse Centre Stage for 85.75 points. The Nanton cowboy was happy to see his name in first, after getting bucked off last year at the rodeo.
“I drew one of their really nice horses. That one has a great track record. Last year I had one that was a little bit hard, this year I had one that was really nice. That’s rodeo for you,” smiled the 22-year-old, who was riding in Airdrie Tuesday evening, Prescott, AZ on Wednesday and Cody, WY Thursday. But he’s happy to have his travel schedule swing back to Ponoka for Sunday.
“This rodeo game is pretty exciting.”
NFR regulars Erich Rogers and Cory Petska of Marana, AZ were the best in fast field of team roping on Tuesday at Ponoka. They put together a pair of runs in 12.1 seconds. Ponoka’s Brock Butterfield held on to his steer wrestling leading time of 15.7 seconds. In the tie-down roping, Ben Robinson of Innisfail wrapped up his two runs Tuesday in 18.8 seconds, to sit in third spot behind leader Timber Moore of Texas with his 18.4.
Another Ponoka competitor, Kirsten Gjerde, also stayed out in front of the barrel racing pack with her 17.969 second run.
Best of the day was Chelsea Moore of B.C. with a time of 18.094 seconds, for fourth spot in the standings.
Saskatchewan’s Colton Ouellette leads novice bareback with 76.75 while Dawson Dahm of Duffield is first in novice saddle bronc with a 72.5. Luke Ferber of Irricana has the highest steer riding score with 72.25.
In the first night of WPCA chuckwagon racing weather and track conditions were outstanding, and it was an entertaining evening for racing fans. Colt Cosgrave opened up the 2016 Ponoka Stampede with the fast time of the night with a 1:14.88. Coming off barrel number 2 in the 7th heat, Cosgrave – driving the High River Autoplex & RV outfit – placed first on the night by 34 one-hundredths of a second over former Ponoka Stampede Champion Roger Moore. Last week’s Guy Weadick Days Champion Mark Sutherland placed third, with “the Hound” Codey McCurrach and Luke Tournier rounding out the top five for the night.
The Ponoka Stampede continues today with the 1:00 pm rodeo performances and the 6:30 pm chuckwagon races.