Rounding barrels only half the battle

Sometimes the easiest part of rodeo is making the run. It can be much harder just to get to the show on time.

Jacqueline Stojan puts up a 17.04-second time during Day 2 at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo action at the Daines Ranch  on Friday.

Jacqueline Stojan puts up a 17.04-second time during Day 2 at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo action at the Daines Ranch on Friday.

Sometimes the easiest part of rodeo is making the run. It can be much harder just to get to the show on time.

World champion barrel racer Lindsay Sears can tell you all about that. She had a nail biter of a trip to Innisfail Friday night, and barely made it to the Daines Ranch on time.

The slender, attractive cowgirl only had to come from Nanton, but it was one of those Fridays.

“Oh, we were at the vet clinic for a little bit this afternoon, then we got stuck in traffic on the Deerfoot, and then we sat on the number two (highway) for quite a while,” Sears said. “There was a five car accident, and they closed the road north for about an hour and a half just south of Carstairs. So we were stuck.”

Sears’ arrival at the arena was tight, to say the least.

“It was right to the wire,” she admitted. “We drove up when the drill team was in the arena and the barrel racing was the next event, and I was first out.

“We made it. That’s all that matters.”

Well, actually it also matters that Sears was able to get her famous horse Martha out of the trailer, warmed up, and then around the barrels to make a typical Martha run, to tie for the lead in 16.72 seconds.

Because it’s Jack Daines’ rodeo, he runs it just the way he wants. So when he got word that several rodeo contestants were stuck in the traffic snarl, he simply rearranged the program, and brought the Heartland Drill Team in to perform earlier than scheduled, buying some extra time for late arrivals.

“I’m going to have to give Jack a special thanks,” Sears declared. “But I’m also going to have to have a chat with him about the order of events. It’s changed a little bit here at Innisfail. We were thinking we had lots of time, but apparently not. It all worked out, and we just have to be thankful we got here and it all went good.

“It gets your heart racing, but it’s good for you. You don’t have time to think about anything. You just react.”

This marks the first time Martha has ever run at Innisfail, but she made a stellar debut.

“She worked pretty good today. She made a couple little mistakes, but whether that was me or her, I don’t know. She ran hard.”

The running time equaled Ponoka’s Dee Butterfield’s from Thursday afternoon. And as fastest of the evening, it netted Sears a bouquet of roses, courtesy of one of Daines’ newest rodeo sponsors. So it was a happy ending to a hectic day for a world champion.

The best bareback ride of the evening came from Tyler Jones of Idaho on Vold’s Centennial. The 86 puts him in second place, behind world champion Bobby Mote’s 87. In the bull riding, Beau Brooks of Nanton was 86.5 on Big Valley, to tie for the lead with Red Deer’s Kyle French.

The best saddle bronc ride of the night was a 77 from Alan Bandy of Wainwright, well back of the 86.5 from Dustin Flundra Thursday night.

In the steer wrestling, Oregon’s Trevor Knowles and Jason Pollock of Saskatchewan both had 4.1 second runs, to put themselves in contention for a cheque, but the 3.7 from Baillie Milan of Cochrane still leads.

And none of the ropers were able to get near the leading 7.3 second run from Logan Hofer in the tie-down roping. The 5.5 second run from Cleve Fuller and John Robertson is still the best team roping time.

Saturday at the Daines Ranch sees a double header of rodeo, with performances at 1:30 and 6:00 pm, followed by Sunday’s 1:30 wrap up afternoon.