Cash pipeline keeps on flowing to Central Alberta cowboys

Ponoka bull rider Tyler Pankewitz makes 85.75 point ride on Uptown Funk

The cash pipeline to Central Alberta keeps flowing from the $1.6 million Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton.

This time it was a Ponoka bull rider who dipped in deep during the second performance at Northlands Coliseum.

Tyler Pankewitz made an 85.75 point ride on Uptown Funk, a score that was equalled moments later by season leader Dakota Buttar, so the two talents split top honors, each collecting $10,744.

Pankewitz was thrilled to be matched up with the Calgary Stampede bull.

“I won Innisfail on him, so I was pretty happy to have him,” grinned Pankewitz. “He usually goes left right at the gate. I took him while he was laying down in the chute, and he tried tricking me and went right today, but I ended up making it around the corner, and after that I just kept on hustling and rode him.”

Edmonton marks the first time Pankewitz has dusted off his bull rope in a while.

“I had to sit out six weeks before the Finals because I hurt my hand two months ago, and it wouldn’t heal up. It still hurts a little bit, but not as bad as I thought it would. Hopefully it holds up the rest of the week.”

Pankewitz has ridden both his bulls, but Buttar is making it hard for anyone to catch him. The Saskatchewan cowboy has earned nearly $20,000 already and is widening his lead on the rest of the field with season earnings now of $52,782.

Like Buttar, Bareback rider Jake Vold is trying for a third straight Canadian buckle and he helped his cause by winning a second straight night. The Ponoka-raised cowboy was just one point shy of a CFR record, when he was 89 points on the C5 horse, Virgil.

“He’s phenomenal,” puffed Vold, moments after the outstanding performance. “He’s one of the best horses in the world, if not the best. That’s the third time I’ve been on him. I know what he is. He’s your chance to win a rodeo anywhere you go, any Finals you’re ever at. But he’s a handful, and he’s a lot of work. I knew I had a great chance today. I just had to do my job and I’ll tell you what, I’m just happy it all worked out.”

“I’m ready for Round 3,” he grinned.

Vold has won $24,648 in just two nights, and leads Canada with $53,230.

It’s getting to be a Cassidy brothers showdown in the steer wrestling. Curtis Cassidy won the round in 4.1 seconds, for his first $12,324 payout of the week. He’s moved up into second place for Canada. But his younger brother Cody, also of Donalda, placed Thursday as well, padding his number one spot overall, at $41,134.

Dustin Flundra did not enjoy sitting out last year’s CFR with a shoulder injury, but has come back strong savoring every ride.

The three-time Canadian champion was high man Thursday night with an 85.25 on Weekend Departure, and with the $12,234, the Pincher Creek bronc rider overtakes Rocky’s Jim Berry again at the head of the Canadian standings.

Kolton Schmidt and Shay Carroll were the fast team ropers of the night with a 4.9 second run, but Klay Whyte and Ponoka’s Brett Buss are still first overall, just barely now. Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa took the tie-down roping with 7.7 seconds, and he’s closing in on leader Al Bouchard, who missed his calf Thursday. Lynette Brodoway of Brooks was first barrel racer to go, and the fastest, with her 14.694 second run. Oregon’s Callahan Crossley remains number one overall.

There’s more CFR rodeo at the Northlands Coliseum at 7:30 tonight.

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