It’s only taken two nights in Rexall Place for Luke Butterfield to climb to the top of the Canadian standings in the saddle bronc riding.
It wasn’t so many days ago when the Ponoka cowboy even wondered if he’d be able to ride at this year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo, after several setbacks in healing a recently broken leg.
But the 26-year-old ‘cowboyed up’ as the saying goes, and nightly puts pain aside to take advantage of opportunity.
In the second performance of the CFR, Butterfield rode the Vold horse Awesome to 85.5 points, giving him first place in the Friday night round, and a big $10,789 cheque. That means he’s won nearly $19,000 for 16 seconds of work. It’s the best payday he’s had at a single rodeo yet, and the week’s not half over.
“Those numbers sound really good,” said Butterfield. “It’s awesome money up here. They put on a great rodeo. But I’ve just got to keep winning.”
The last time Butterfield had met the highly decorated pinto gelding was at the 2009 CFR. The horse is a handful, to put it mildly, and Butterfield wasn’t sure he was up to the task.
“I was nervous,” said the cowboy, when he knew that was the horse he was matched up with in the eliminator pen. “He’s a tough horse to get by, and after not being on for so long, I was a little worried.
“I was fortunate to stay ahead of him. If you can stay ahead of him and have your feet in the neck, it takes your body with you.”
But Butterfield was definitely a little winded, since he hasn’t really been in riding shape since the leg was broken September 9th.
“I just have to go and make the best of the situation. The leg feels good. I don’t notice it out there. It swells up on me, but I just ice it all day. It’s as good as it’ll get, so I just deal with it.”
So far, it’s been some kind of dealing. Butterfield came into the CFR in third spot for Canada, but his winnings have already bumped him to $43,331 for the season, and put him in first overall.
Another Ponoka cowboy also continued his winning ways in the second round of the CFR. Kenton Fawcett is making his debut in Edmonton in the team roping and he and his heeling partner Riley Wilson were in the winner’s circle for the second straight night. But again, they had to share the honors. This time, though, it was with only one other team, Chase Simpson and Rocky Dallyn. Both duos were 5.7 seconds. Fawcett commented their game plan coming in was to be consistent and make solid runs, and so far, they’re right on track. Fawcett and Wilson have picked up $3853 apiece already, and have also moved to the head of the pack in their event.
For the second night in a row, Sierra Stoney of DeWinton won the barrel racing on Flame, the horse owned by Innisfail’s Cheryl Daines. This time Stoney’s running time was 14.58. She’s collected $21,579 already, and has rocketed from 11th place to second, only $200 out of the lead overall.
Texan Matt Reeves is another contestant on a roll. For the second night in a row he won the steer wrestling, stealing a start out of the box with impeccable timing, to get his steer tossed in 3.7 seconds, and he, too, has $21,579. But Donalda’s Curtis Cassidy, the leader coming in, is keeping pace. He placed for his second straight night, getting the job done in 4.2 seconds, and bumping his CFR earnings to $13,279, and keeping him out in front of Reeves for the overall race yet.
Season leader Jesse Torkelson was back to his winning form in the bull riding, and the Warburg cowboy chalked up 86.50 points on a bull called Nic Nac. That gives him his first $10,789 cheque and keeps in well out in front for the Canadian title. The best bareback ride of the night came from Reid Rowan of Seven Persons, with an 83.75. Kyle Bowers was just behind him by a quarter point, and is still the overall leader. And in tie-down roping, season leader Texan Tuf Cooper is finding it a little chilly weather-wise, but he’s still hot in the arena, roping a calf in 8.4 seconds for a second straight night, and he’s now earned $18,831. He’s using a horse owned by Duane Gervais of Airdrie.
There were no qualified rides in novice bronc riding, while novice bareback was taken by 16-year-old Clint Laye of Cadogan for the second night in a row. In the steer riding, there were three 77 scores, from Austin Nash, Dayton Johnston and Tyrell Ward of Three Hills.
There’s more rodeo action tonight at Rexall Placed at 7 p.m.
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