It’s been nearly two years since cowboys and cowgirls have toed the dirt in Red Deer.
The Canadian Finals Rodeo was cancelled in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic but returns next month for the 47th installment of the event and the third edition in Red Deer.
The six-performance event takes place Nov. 3-7 at the Peavey Mart Centrium.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s highest-earning cowboy, Logan Spady comes into the event wearing number one.
The second generation, two-event cowboy (tie-down roping and team roping heeler) heads into the CFR with $18,870 in money won and also sits on top of the high point standings ahead of previous winners Morgan Grant and Riley Warren.
At least three of the seven major events will see new champions crowned as defending champions, Orin Larsen in the bareback riding, steer wrestler Scott Guenthner and tie down roper, Shane Hanchey will not be in Red Deer this time around.
Defending Canadian Saddle Bronc Champion and two-time World Champion, Zeke Thurston is ready to put on a show once again for the practically hometown crowd.
The Big Valley talent enters the CFR with $18,583 and a comfortable lead over the field with the bronc riding Hay brothers, Dawson and Logan, in second and third place in the standings.
Lacombe’s Justine Elliott and her two-time CPRA barrel horse with the Most Heart, Blondy are hoping to wow the local faithful as well. She enters the 2021 CFR as season leader at $18,578 with a $3,000 margin over second-place veteran Lynette Brodoway.
Sylvan Lake’s Jhett Wheeler is the season leader in the junior steer riding event.
Dantan Bertsch, of Sask., leads bareback riding standings heading into the event. The five-time CFR qualifier overtook Cole Goodine on the final weekend stop of the year at Hanna, Alta. to earn the right to stamp his name on the coveted season leader saddle.
For the third time in his stellar career, Nanton’s Logan Bird will carry the season leader honour into the CFR in tie-down roping. The 2017 champion did most of the damage this year on Peso, his nine year-old gelding. The 2021 Tie Down Roping Horse of the Year succeeded stablemate, TJ, another Bird-trained superstar who won that honour twice previously, including 2019.
Steer Wrestler Stephen Culling of B.C collected $11,338 on the season giving the four-time finalist a thousand dollar lead over five-time Canadian champion, Cody Cassidy.
Edgar Durazo rode all six bulls at CFR 46 and enters this year’s event with $15,782 in season earnings and a narrow $1,300 cushion over the 2018 title-holder, Wacey Finkbeiner, who sits in second spot.
One of the most dominant season performances in recent memory was that of team roping brothers Dillon and Dawson Graham.
Header Dawson at 22, and 20-year-old heeler, Dillon, both topped out at over $16,000 for the season and a solid $3,000 head start on second place qualifiers, Logan Spady and Kash Bonnett.
And Maple Creek, Sask. bull rider and team roper Jared Parsonage earned his first All-Around title in 2021.
In the CPRA novice events, Brodie Roessler of Fairview leads the trio of saddle bronc riding qualifiers while Biggar, Sask’s Cruz McNulty heads up the novice bareback riders. Nanton cowgirl, Lakota Bird, tops the field of six young women appearing in the inaugural CFR breakaway roping competition.