Last year when Cody Cassidy won the Ponoka Stampede, he was thrilled to be able to add his name to the family collection of Ponoka championships listed at the Stagecoach Saloon.
Wednesday night, he broke new ground and became the first of the Cassidy clan to have it there twice.
The youngest of the Cassidy brothers won the steer wrestling championship in Ponoka for the second straight year.
Cassidy came into the July 1 finals with the third best running time, of 10.3 seconds. Then he made a solid 7.2 second run in the finals, to earn a berth among the final four in the evening Ponoka Stampede Showdown. There he tossed one over in his fastest time of the week, at 4.6 seconds, pulling out the biggest cheque of all the bulldoggers at $10,587.
Naturally, Cassidy passes the credit for his success around, pointing out he drew the steer he wanted.
“I definitely had him picked out,” said Cassidy.
“On our way over to see what steer we had drawn, I said I would like to get that one. You could just tell he was definitely the one to have. I’m glad it worked out, and I held my end of the bargain up.”
Cassidy also rode the family’s legendary horse Willy, who’s as spry and solid at ever, at 23.
Three of the four Showdown finalists rode him, and he was hardly winded.
“What can you say about the horse? He’s unbelievable. There’s superstars and there’s super heroes, and he’s almost a superhero.”
It was a story of true cowgirl grit in the barrel racing, as world champion Lindsay Sears and her great mare Martha came through to win the buckle.
They had the fastest total time on two runs at 34.52 after Wednesday afternoon, despite Sears taking the first barrel wider than Martha normally does. But it’s got to be tough riding with a broken left leg, let alone riding aggressively.
Despite her fears, Sears came back and smoked the pattern in the Showdown with a 17.17 second run, best of the bunch, to win a total of $16,863.
“It went good tonight, thank goodness,” said the Nanton cowgirl.
“I was worried about it all afternoon. She didn’t work like I wanted her to work this afternoon, whether that was my leg or her. But it was more likely my leg. I haven’t exactly been riding like I need to be on her. Anyways, it felt a lot better tonight, and she helped me out a little bit more, and it just worked out a lot better.”
Sears has been told by doctors she will have to take time off from competition, because the break isn’t healing, and she’s re-injuring it every time. So after Calgary and Cheyenne, she plans to stay home and give it some time to heal.
Tilden Hooper of Carthage, Tex., drew the juice in the bareback pen, and he managed to make a ride on the powerhouse Calgary horse Grated Coconut, to earn 90 points and $8,200 overall on his way to a Ponoka buckle. In the saddle bronc riding, Justin Arnold of Santa Margarita, Calif., came away with the hardware, marking 83.5 on Calgary’s Fearless Warrior.
Tie-down roper Steve Lloyd of Alix had a great Ponoka Stampede, picking up $4,187, and making it to the Showdown round. But Hunter Herrin of Apache, Okla., wowed the crowd with a 7.2 second run to win the title, and collect $12,187 for winning the average and the showdown rounds.
It’s not unusual for the bulls to outmuscle cowboys at a place like Ponoka, and that’s what they did this year. Only two of the 12 finalists made the whistle, but officials did take four riders to the Showdown round, using previous scores. Then they had to use those calculations again, since all four bucked off their bulls. Because he’d won the aggregate coming in, the Ponoka Stampede buckle and jacket went to Tyler Thomson of Black Diamond, but all four riders split the showdown cash. In team roping, World Champion Matt Sherwood and his heeler Rhen Richard of Utah, made their time in Canada count, winning the average and the showdown, with a 5.7 second run to collect $12,875 as a team.
In the Tommy Dorchester $50,000 Dash for Cash the big cheque went to Bluffton’s Obrey Motowylo, for his first ever Ponoka Stampede title. It was an exciting, come from behind charge that gave him the victory.
“It’s a heck of a feeling,” Motowylo said. “Everything just clicked. I haven’t had a clean show in about a year and a half. Outriders, horses, everything just worked. It was my birthday, maybe that had something to do with it.”
The total attendance at the 73rd Ponoka Stampede was 72,809, up 6000 from last year.