Robinson racing to the top

Rodeo fans in Alix had plenty to cheer about during the second performance of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Kevin Taylor of Swift Current Sask.

Rodeo fans in Alix had plenty to cheer about during the second performance of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Tie-down roper Steve Lloyd and barrel racer Rayel Robinson both won their events, each picking up the coveted $10,847 first place cheque.

Robinson is celebrating her record-setting twentieth appearance at the year-end showdown.

The accomplished horse trainer came to Edmonton with a new young mount this year, and is thrilled to see the horse live up to her expectations.

It was an extremely tight round of barrel racing Thursday night, with a pair of 15 second runs at the top, followed by a pair of 15.03’s, a 15.04, and a 15.05. Then Robinson came out, the very last racer on the ground, and smoked a 14.92 second run.

The horse is called Dutch, and he’s a five-year-old light sorrel gelding, owned by Grant Little of Ardrossan, but trained by Robinson.

“This is his first year showing,” explained Robinson. “He won about eight futurities. I only took him to what I had to for rodeos, and he placed at 15 of the 17 rodeos.”

Robinson was impressed by the horse’s maturity at such a young age.

“Anything I asked him, he was more than willing to do. It just takes a willing horse to want to do a job like this, and he was just there for me.”

Not only can Robinson train horses, she can jockey them. Being able to develop a young prospect to the point where it can compete at the CFR so soon is the kind of thrill that keeps her in the game.

“I really do enjoy just bringing them along like this, and seeing how far they can go. I always look forward to a new project.

“It was kind of neat to come here again, and on a different horse. That’s what I enjoy doing is training the horses.”

Robinson had finished second on opening night, so she’s already earned nearly $19,000 here. The money has bumped her up to the number one position for Canada now, with a season total of $43,445. That’s less than $200 ahead of season leader Brittany Pozzi of Texas.

Steve Lloyd tied his calf in 7.7 seconds, to take first in the round and move back to his leading position, with the extra $10,847.

Penhold’s Todd Herzog emerged on top in the saddle bronc riding, by a mere quarter of a point. He was 81.75, while Rocky Mountain House’s Jim Berry and Chet Johnson were 81.50. It was the eliminator pen, and the horses got both Rod Hay and Ponoka’s Luke Butterfield.

Herzog had the one he wanted in the pen.

“It was a really good horse,” said Herzog, who is cracking out a brand new saddle at the CFR. “I’ve been on Gallant Warrior once, back in 2003, in the short round of the novice bronc riding in Calgary. I got along with him really good there, and I was always wanting to draw him again. I’m just glad I got to do it here.”

Best time in the team roping was 5.2 seconds, from Blair Stroh of Elkwater and Kevin Schreiner of Medicine Hat.

The steer wrestling buckle of the night went to Trevor Knowles of Oregon, the $100,000 winner at this summer’s Calgary Stampede. He got his steer down in 3.8 seconds, while his travelling partner Lee Graves was second at 4.1 seconds. Curtis Cassidy won fourth with a 4.6, worth $5,423, but his brother Cody broke a barrier. However he’s still the overall leader.

Bareback rider Luke Creasy of Brownfield flew up to Edmonton from college in Texas, and brought plenty of homework with him. He was having trouble with his math, but not with his spurs, winning the round with an 84.5 on Big Country’s Whiskey Bent, to add some handy cash to his tuition account.

The top dollars in bull riding went to Scott Schiffner of Strathmore, for an 87.5 on a bull called Crock on a Rock. He’s now moved up to second for the champion’s race, just $600 behind leader Brett Thompson, who bucked off his bull Thursday night.

The Canadian Finals Rodeo continues tonight at 7 p.m., with two performance Saturday, and the final round Sunday afternoon at 1 p.m.

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