During the past weekend in Calgary, Cody Cassidy managed to repeat a second major steer wrestling title that he’d claimed in 2008. All that remains now is to see if he can do a three-peat and become the Canadian champion for the second straight year as well.
The Donalda cowboy made it through to the Canadian Rodeo Tour championship semifinals Sunday afternoon. Then he wrestled his first steer down in 3.6 seconds to make the cut for the final four showdown in the rich season-finale event of the regular season. When it came down to the wire, he threw his final steer in 4.3 seconds, .10 seconds faster than Calgary’s Lee Graves. Cassidy netted $9,500 to add to his season earnings, which bumped him above Tanner Milan in the standings, who’d hung on to the top spot most of the year. It also earned him a free pass to next summer’s Calgary Stampede.
In July, Cassidy won his second consecutive Ponoka Stampede titles. Now he’s done the same for the Calgary Tour Finals. Is that a preview of what could happen in November in Edmonton?
“There’s still a lot of work to be done,” laughed Cassidy, about the inevitable conclusions being drawn. “But you can’t go wrong with winning it here. It sets you up to do good there. “Obviously, it’s nice to go in with a lead. I went in with one last year, and now I’ll be a little bit ahead of Tanner. Not by much. He’s been bulldogging good all year, and he’ll keep the heat on me. And Lee Graves too.”
But Cassidy knows this win gives him a big momentum boost before the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
“It feels good. The horse is working good, and I can’t complain,” he smiled.
“It’s going to give me a heck of a chance to go back up there to the Finals, and it would be nice to get another championship. I’d sure like to drive that (champion’s) truck again for a year.”
The younger brother of the famous rodeo family, with the champion horse Willy, seems to have found a very comfortable rodeo home in Cowtown.
“Calgary’s been great to me. Between this rodeo and the summer rodeo, I’ve won lots. I haven’t actually won the Stampede, but come close, and had good success. And bar none, it’s the best rodeo we go to all year. It’s a good place to be.
“Now I’ve got the summer rodeo made for next year, so that’s a huge goal to have accomplished already.”
There was also excitement in Calgary in the team roping. The colorful duo of Shane Schwenke of Montana and Mike Beers of Oregon roped their semifinal steer in a rapid 3.7 seconds, tying a Canadian record. But then they came back in the final four showdown to get the job done in just 3.4 seconds. That sets a new Canadian and World record for speed in the event.
The two were toasting their success, because they knew well what they’d done, beating the former mark of 3.5 seconds.
“The run we had before was a 3.7, and that tied the fastest time I’d had in my 30 years of rodeoing,” grinned Beers. “I had a 3.7 at the Canadian Finals last year. That was awesome right there. It was the fastest I’d ever been. We had a great steer, Shane did a great job, and I just kind of cleaned it up.”
Schwenke was just as excited.
“The 3.7 was the fastest I’d ever been. Then to come right back and do this . . . I got to ride Roller, Murray Linthicum’s horse. My horse got hurt this week at another roping.”
Beers had jumped on a plane from Spain to come over to Calgary to compete. He’s been over in Europe, competing at a series of produced rodeos being held in bullfighting arenas. He reports the crowds are huge and enthusiastic about seeing the wild west of rodeo.
“This was worth coming home for. The chance for us team ropers to rope at the Calgary Stampede grounds, what a great opportunity for us. This rodeo is known all over the world. When I was in Spain, I was telling people I was coming back to the Calgary Stampede. Everybody knows about this rodeo.”
The only disappointment may be the time isn’t likely to show up in the PRCA record books, since the outfit doesn’t recognize Calgary’s tour finals, or count the money won.
The victory does move Schwenke and Beers to the top of the Canadian team roping standings.
“We came in and I was 10th and on the bubble,” commented Schwenke. “I could’ve actually got moved out, so I’ve been kind of nervous all week. By winning it, I think we went from last to first. The team roping is really tight this year. It’s exciting.”
Texan Brittany Pozzi notched another barrel racing victory when she completed the pattern in the Calgary showdown in 13.55 seconds, earning $9,750. The top dollars in the all-American tie-down roping showdown went to Nathan Baldwin of Idaho, for his 7.4 second run. He took home $8,750.
Bareback riding honors were claimed by Oregon’s Bobby Mote, after he marked 85.5 on Kesler’s Blue Wings in the showdown round, for a $12,166 boost to his bank account.
Saddle bronc rider Justin Berg, from Marwayne, was the only one to survive the eliminator pen of horses in the finals, marking 79.5 on Kesler’s Country Cat, collecting $,8000 along the way.
And in the bull riding showdown, none of the four finalists made the whistle. The title went to Ty Elliott of B.C., who led the aggregate standings going into the final four. He earned $8,500, to claim his second straight Tour Finals bull riding title.
Dianne Finstad is the agriculture and rodeo reporter for C99 and CKGY.