The last of the rich rodeo weekends of the 2014 Canadian season wrapped up in Strathmore Monday.
As a Wrangler Pro Tour event, the Strathmore Stampede had the most cash up for grabs, and several local cowboys took advantage of the opportunity. Bareback rider Jake Vold had the high mark of the finals round, when he clicked with Wayne Vold’s much ballyhooed horse Mucho Dinero for 90.25 points.
“I’ve seen that horse the last couple of years, and I’ve been wanting to get on him,” said Vold. “I kind of figured we’d get along good, because he’s so electric. He’s a big horse, and I’ve got long legs.”
“There were some awesome horses in this pen. I needed to be 90 today. That’s what I needed to be, and I needed something I could do that on. He feels outstanding.”
The high mark propelled Vold from his tenth qualifying spot way up the list to third, but the average title and the biggest payoff from Strathmore went to Oregon’s RC Landingham, who put together 173.5 points on two rides, for $6375. But Vold still won $4666. He also did some earning at the other weekend stops.
“I won High Prairie, but then our flights got delayed so I missed Abbotsford. But I won second at Grimshaw, so I’m just picking away.”
Many cowboys would consider a $6743 run a pretty big haul rather than chipping away, but Vold has his eyes on the prize ahead.
“Things have been kind of slow for me the last couple of weeks, but I’m not going to change my game plan.”
That includes entering up at everything left in Canada and the big shows south of the line, where Vold is still inside the world’s top ten in the race for Las Vegas. While he’s been on a ‘whatever happens, happens’ approach this season, Vold admits he is now keeping an eye on the results.
“I’ve been peeking at the standings here lately. Last year up here, getting hurt and missing that season leader really just felt like someone stole something from me,” admitted the Ponoka cowboy. “I was bound and determined to win that this year.”
The latest boost puts some ground between Vold and the field. Trying to keep pace just behind him in the bareback race is Bowden’s Ky Marshall, who also cashed in at Strathmore. He picked up $2154, but it was in the tie-down roping event, which gives him the second of his required three timed event placings to be in the all-around race for Canada this season. Marshall won $628 in Grimshaw in the bareback riding, and another $654 in Abbotsford.
The roping Robinson boys from Innisfail did some damage this weekend, with Ben Robinson winning first in Abbotsford, collecting $1594 for an 8.3 second run. His older brother Kirk took top dollars in Grimshaw, $1384, for an 8.4 second run.
In the steer wrestling, Ponoka’s Chance Butterfield had one of his best, and one of his worst, weekends. He split first place in Abbotsford with a 3.9 second run, for $1995. He was in second place going into Strathmore’s Finals, and was headed for a great run when the steer ducked his head and a horn caught the corner of Butterfield’s face. He left for medical attention, and later tweeted he was lucky to still have an eye, and grateful for his sunglasses, which helped save it. Butterfield still collected $3237 from Strathmore. His Ponoka neighbor Craig Weisgerber also made the Finals, but was knocked cold from an awkward fall off his horse towards a wayward steer. He earned $2544.
Saddle bronc rider Rylan Geiger walked away from Strathmore with the most money in his event, but it came at a price. The Saskatchewan cowboy, who now lives in Duchess, rode Vold’s Pedro in the Finals Monday to 88.5 points. He won the long round, the finals and the average, for a $7719 payday. But Geiger headed straight to the busy Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine team for them to look at the severe back pain that came after he was banged at the gate.
“It just happened so fast,” said the Canadian champion.
“He hit the front of the chute, and I remember the first jump out he popped my chin so hard. It felt like he folded me inside out.”
Advised to get his back checked out, Geiger may be facing a short term layoff, depending on the severity of the injury.
Another big winner at Strathmore was bull rider Tyler Thomson of Black Diamond, who was the only one of the ten finalists to make the whistle. Thomson rode Calgary’s bull I’m a Gangsta to 86.75, to win $6648, plus the rest of the $4200 in the Finals pot. He also won $1537 for first in Abbotsford, BC.
Rebecca Paradis of Dalemead was the Strathmore Stampede barrel racing winner, with a two run time of 35.361, for $5993. Utah’s Clint Robinson finished on top in the tie-down roping, with a time of 16.5 seconds on two runs, for $7323. The steer wrestling went to Nebraska’s Dru Melvin, who won the finals in 3.6 seconds, for a $7194 payday.
Jeremy Buhler of Arrowwood and Rhen Richard of Utah took the team roping title in 10.2 seconds for $5093 each. But Travis Gallais of Red Deer, and his Medicine Hat partner Kevin Schreiner, were only two tenths slower, and their second place overall paid them $4744 apiece.
They were also second in Abbotsford. Lacombe team roper Tyrel Flewelling and Roland McFadden came in third at Strathmore, for $2921 each.
Other local winners on the weekend included Ponoka steer wrestler Trygve Pugh, who split first at Grimshaw ($1576); and Rocky Ross of Botha and Marty Lillico of Stettler, who won the team roping in Abbotsford ($1328 each).