Brown carving out own name in rodeo

Jake Brown never got a chance to see his dad ride broncs. But he’s been inspired by the career of his father, Mel, and a band of his friends. Now the 21-year-old has begun his own legacy in the sport of rodeo.

Luke Quartermaine of Australia now living in Leslieville is thrown from Moonshine Missus during the bareback final at the Foothills Cowboys Association Cowboy Classic Finals Rodeo at the Westerner on Sunday.

Luke Quartermaine of Australia now living in Leslieville is thrown from Moonshine Missus during the bareback final at the Foothills Cowboys Association Cowboy Classic Finals Rodeo at the Westerner on Sunday.

Jake Brown never got a chance to see his dad ride broncs. But he’s been inspired by the career of his father, Mel, and a band of his friends. Now the 21-year-old has begun his own legacy in the sport of rodeo.

The Eckville cowboy rode his way to the saddle bronc championship of the Foothills Cowboys Association Sunday afternoon at the Westerner Stockmens Pavilion.

“It kind of seems unreal right now,” puffed Brown, moments after riding the FCA saddle bronc of the year, Pengelly’s Rummy, to 73 points, and third in the round. That gave him the average, 140 championship points, and his first bronc riding title.

It was a much different result than he’d experienced at two previous semi-pro association Finals this fall, where he made the whistle on only three of his 10 horses.

“I went to those Finals up north, and pulled one cheque between the two of them,” admitted Brown. “I didn’t have much success, but I got things changed around for here.

“It doesn’t hurt being close to home here, but I definitely learned a lot from those other ones. My dad, Mel, and good bronc riders like Clayton Hines and Skeeter Thurston — those guys are always there to help, and anything they’ve got to say is all good.”

Bronc riding, as with any rodeo event, is one part physical and three parts mental. Brown worked on both aspects in the time between the Lakeland and Wild Rose Association Finals, and the Cowboy Classic.

“I came here a little more mentally prepared. But I also hadn’t really been lifting on my bronc rein properly. I was getting horses started good, but then just getting bucked off right at the end. I spent a lot of time on the spur board, and just visualized doing it right, and it clicked for me this weekend.”

And after growing up looking longingly at pictures around the house of his dad riding broncs, starting out in Mel’s old chaps, and still using his saddle, Jake Brown can now start his own championship collection.

It’s been a long time coming, but Bentley’s Troy Pollitt finally has an FCA championship steer wrestling buckle.

He and his travelling partner Rudy Neiborg of Rimbey were set up for a showdown in Sunday’s final round, tied for points and only two-tenths of a second separating them in the average.

But a miscue with his hazer’s horse resulted in Neiborg leaving the box without his wingman, so he wound up with a no time. The title was in Pollitt’s hands at that instant. But he wasn’t about to win that way. So he went out and threw down his steer in four seconds flat, to split first in the round and win the average, finishing with a total of 165 points.

Of course, he got it done with Neiborg’s assistance. He was riding his horse Banjo, and Neiborg hazed for him. And as Pollitt tossed his hat in celebration, Neiborg ran right over and gave him a big bear hug. That’s because both knew Pollitt’s buckle was a long time coming.

“It’s probably been 15 years now. I’ve been season leader, I’ve been second, third, everything else, but I’ve never been able to get ‘er. It means quite a bit to me. I’ve had the season leader saddle, but now I’ve got the buckle to go with it.”

In the calf roping, there was some tough luck for both local contenders. Curtis Butterfield of Stettler got his loop around the calf’s belly and took a no time, while Big Valley’s J.T. Robinson had trouble taming a feisty calf and was too long. They had been tied at the lead, but that opened the door for young Mace Perozak of Kipp, who roped his calf in eight seconds flat to win the round and the buckle with 140 points.

Barrel racing was a close call, but in the end it was the consistency from Valerie Gillespie of Duchess that came through and earned her the buckle, as she collected 110 points.

There was no doubt in the bull riding after Saskatchewan’s Dakota Buttar won the first three rounds, but he bucked off his last bull, marring his perfect record. However, his 160 points was still comfortably ahead of the field, giving him the championship.

In the bareback riding, Cole Goodine of Carbon prevailed, marking a 75.5 on the bareback horse of the FCA Little Lu. He tied for first in the round and managed to edge out both an Australian and a New Zealand competitor, by winning the average, for a 150 point tally.

The team roping went to Clay Ullery of Red Deer and Kasper Roy of Mossleigh.

They placed in the final round and finished second in the average, giving them 120 points, 10 more than Trevor Jones of Ponoka and Mark Flynn of Camrose.

There was plenty of excitement in the other events. Novice horse riding went to a ride-off, and Dylan Bilton of Innisfail came up with half a point more than Skyler Bearchief to win. There was also a ride-off in the boys steer riding, which was taken by Tristan Carlier of Medicine Hat. In the junior bull riding, Jacob Stemo of Calgary beat Zeke Thurston of Big Valley by a mere 10 points. And Terry Kipty of Raymond came through to win the junior barrel racing.

Dianne Finstad is a regular contributor to the Red Deer Advocate and is the agriculture/rodeo director for Newcap Radio/CKGY/CIZZ FM in Red Deer.