Saddle Bronc rider Chase Brooks is a man on a mission at this year’s Ponoka Stampede.
Just last year the 28-year-old from Deer Lodge, Montana native was bucked off early and simultaneously was out of contention for the saddle bronc title at Ponoka.
He explained it was the hardest he’s ever been bucked off a horse.
“I think if anyone watching blinked they would have missed it… I barely made it to the end of the gate. I think I had to move so they could shut it. It was nice to come back on a different note this year,” he said.
“I think they just filled in the crater that I left from last year so [the Ponoka Stampede] has been good to me. Hit or miss but I’ve always loved coming here.”
On day three of the Stampede Brooks got his redemption by recording the best ride of the Stampede so far with a 89.25 score on Wednesday afternoon.
The ride puts him ahead of fellow Montana resident Sage Newman and Eckville’s Ben Anderson.
“It’s always great coming up here and it’s fun to get it started,” he said.
“It’s been hard this year leaving the house. Having a one-year-old daughter changes a guy’s perspective but at least when it goes like this it’s worth it.”
Brooks is ranked 10th in the world this season in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association despite not traveling as much. He said he competed within the United States to be closer to home but now that summer is here it’s time to go full throttle.
“This is the kickoff. I flew into Calgary last night and I’m ready for two months straight of rodeo,” he said.
Brooks first became pro in 2013 and since then has competed in many Ponoka Stampede’s making it to the finals one year.
“I love rodeoing in front of crowds like this. This is people that live it, breathe it, and they understand rodeo. It makes it that much more special when you’re riding in front of people that know everything that we grew up with,” he added.
Brooks’ father Matt competed in saddle bronc meanwhile his younger brother Dalton competes as a professional bull rider.
“I love cowboying but bronc riding is pretty dang outstanding so I figured I’d try to get good at that and here we are.”
In the other events Kade Sonnier from Carenco, Louisiana leads the way in the bareback event with 89.25. In barrel racing, Carlee Rae Otero holds the top spot in the event with a speedy time of 17.2.
Jacob Gardner from Fort St. John, B.C. is the Stampede’s top bull rider with 86 points and Athabasca, Alta.’s Pacean Deleeuw holds the best time in steer wrestling with 9.8.
Tuf Cooper from Decatur, Texas leads the aggregate with in tie-down roping meanwhile Dawson and Dillon Graham from Wainwright lead in team roping.
The Ponoka Stampede Pro Rodeo will continue on Thursday at 1 p.m.