Rodeo is a dangerous game, but it’s usually the athletes who choose to participate who are most at risk.
But Friday night at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, it was a fan who left the arena by stretcher, in a freak mishap. A bull called Rewind owned by Big Stone Rodeo jumped over the fence into the front row of fans halfway through the bull riding. He was quickly contained and brought back into the arena, but one woman was injured, and three others were shaken up and treated on site. There’s no further details at press time.
Meanwhile in rodeo action, there was plenty of hurt for some of the Central Alberta athletes. In the steer wrestling, Ponoka’s Trygve Pugh left the arena holding his shoulder, in obvious pain. Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team members indicated he has a strained pec muscle, an injury he’s had before. He was iced up, and they were trying to determine the severity of his injury.
And in the saddle bronc, Luke Butterfield was banged on the gate on his departure and looked very sore. He’s been riding this week on a recently broken leg. However, he was awarded a reride, which he took, and then was in more pain as he was bucked off and helped from the arena.
But there were also some great performances during the third round of action at Rexall Place.
The bareback riding go-round buckle went to Dusty LaValley of Crooked Creek, who rode Kesler’s Alley Trail to 87.25 points, pushing his CFR earnings to $15,769, which moved him to the lead in the Canadian standings.
The biggest steer wrestling cheque went to Todd Woodward of Magrath for a 3.7 second run. All-around contender Steven Turner and Rocky’s JD Hays split second with 4.2 second runs each.
“They missed him the first time,” said Hays, about the steer he drew. “The guy didn’t even get off on him, so I didn’t know how good he was. But I took a good start at him. He leaves good, and was good on the ground. He was the one I wanted, I guess.”
It was the second round Hays has earned money. His CFR earnings are sit at $14,663.
“I was here one year before, in my rookie year. So this year, it’s just another rodeo to me.”
“Well, it’s bigger than another rodeo,” he grinned sheepishly. “There’s a lot more money to win, and I like that. The money I’ve already made is going to come in great. Now I don’t have to go to work!”
Curtis Cassidy of Donalda placed in the money again in the steer wrestling, with a 4.5 second run, and remains out in front overall, with $15,769 so far.
Texas college student Morgan Grant, from Ontario, wore the biggest grin of the night, after winning the tie-down roping in 7.9 seconds. Tuf Cooper didn’t place, but is still in front overall.
The best barrel racing run was turned in by defending champion Lisa Lockhart, a 14.61 second time. Rana Koopmans of Lethbridge is still the front runner, and she caught a cheque this round as well.
The saddle bronc riding round isn’t complete, as they ran out of reride horses. Kyle Thomson will have to take his round three horse during the Saturday afternoon performance. Leading to date in the round is Isaac Diaz of Texas, for his 85.25 on Big Country’s War Cry.
Murray Linthicum and Dustin Bird claimed the first place money in the team roping with a 6.2 second run. Ponoka’s Kenton Fawcett and Riley Wilson still have the edge overall.
In bull riding, both Tyler Thomson of Black Diamond and Chad Besplug of Claresholm finished at 85.75, to split top honours. They’re gaining ground, but Jesse Torkelson’s season lead is still hard to catch.
Hardisty’s Coleman Watt won the novice bronc riding, while Cole Goodine of Carbon took novice bareback riding. Bryce West of Cadogan won the steer riding round.
Friday’s crowd at the CFR was just shy of 15,000, the best of the week.
There are two performances today, at 1 and 7 pm.
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