Being crowned a champion at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo had always been a dream for Eckville-born Jake Brown.
The 30-year-old had participated in the rodeo many times, but had never won.
That changed at the 59th annual Innisfail Pro Rodeo for Brown, who now calls the community home.
“(I’ve participated) at least 10 to 12 times,” Brown said Sunday after collecting his buckle and bronze in the saddle bronc category, where he was crowned winner with 85 points.
“I wanted to win this rodeo for a long time,” said Brown.
“It’s one of my favourite rodeos.”
Brown shared the glory alongside veteran cowboy Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, who is currently sitting in second place in the world for saddle bronc, according to prorodeo.com.
Brown competed Saturday night and was pleased with his performance.
“Eighty-five in bronc riding is a good day at the office absolutely, that’s up there,” he said, referring to his personal best score.
“It couldn’t have worked out any better. Had a really good day, (the horse) jumped out and gave me every chance I could win, and all the stars aligned and it worked out great,” said Brown.
Winning the buckle and the title alongside Thurston is a big deal for the up-and-comer.
Growing up, Brown looked up to the Daines and their legacy as he participated in rodeo events.
“The Daines family have left a bronc riding legacy. I grew up in central Alberta, my dad rode broncs, knew the Daines.
“I always looked up to those guys. I always came to this rodeo, and to win a bronc riding title here is a pretty special thing to me,” he said.
The win propelled Brown into the top 20 in the Canadian saddle bronc riding standings and could provide the impetus to pursue a first trip to the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Other winners included, bareback riding: Richmond Champion (Dublin, Texas), 88 points on Kesler Rodeo’s 452 Flashy Secret; steer wrestling: Clyton Moore (Pouce Coupe, B.C.), Landon Beardsworth (Red Deer County) and Matt Mailer (Botha, Alta.,) tied at 3.9 seconds; team roping: Hunter Koch (Vernon, Texas), Matt Sherwood (Pima, Ariz.), 5.7 seconds; tie-down roping: Tuf Cooper (Decatur, Texas), 7.2 seconds; ladies barrel racing: Stacey Ruzicka (Bluffton, Alta.), 15.927 seconds; bull riding: JB Moen (Elrose, Sask.) on Outlaw Buckers’ 96 Tennessee Whiskey and Marcos Gloria (Edmonton) on Calgary Stampede’s 125 Wounded Warrior, tied at 87.5 points.