Steer wrestlers shine at Finals

Reid Butterfield and Derek Frank shared a lot during the Cowboy Classic Finals Rodeo in Red Deer on the weekend, and all season long during their run on the Foothills Cowboys Association rodeo circuit.

Troy Pollit of Bentley twists a steer off its feet as he competes in the steer wrestling event at the Foothills Cowboy Association Cowboy Classic Finals Rodeo at the Westerner in Red Deer on Saturday. Pollit's time of 3.9 seconds was the second fastest time of the second round of competition

Reid Butterfield and Derek Frank shared a lot during the Cowboy Classic Finals Rodeo in Red Deer on the weekend, and all season long during their run on the Foothills Cowboys Association rodeo circuit.

They even did their best to share the steer wrestling championship, but in the end, one of them had to emerge the winner.

The two young contenders were travelling partners, and during the Finals at the Stockmen’s Pavilion, they used the same horse, and had the same hazer. In the Sunday afternoon final performance, they even posted identical times of 4.1 seconds, to split the round. And when the addition was complete, they stood tied with 115 championship points each.

Much as they would have been just as happy to leave it that way, the title was to be decided by a runoff.

Butterfield, from Ponoka, went first, and threw his steer in a respectable four seconds flat. Then Frank, from Stony Plain, came out, and was just a shade faster, to win the title in 3.5 seconds.

“Me and Reid stayed together this weekend, and we were talking, and we knew coming in if we tied in the round, we were going to be tied,” commented Frank. “It was pretty cool, a good way to end it.”

Ironically, Frank drew the steer for the runoff that Butterfield had in the afternoon.

To top it off, hazing for both cowboys was Reid’s dad, Blake Butterfield, who spent many years steer wrestling on the pro trail.

“We had fun with those boys all year, and it was a perfect ending,” he said. “Reid went first and did all right, and I got a little nervous then. But it ended up good. They’re just kids still, so they’ve got lots of time to win some buckles.”

Butterfield, who’s an RDC student, had plenty to be encouraged about from the weekend action.

“It was real exciting. I came in here with some confidence. I was riding Derek’s horse and he’s always worked well for me. I ended up doing pretty good. I didn’t win it, but . . . I put the pressure on Derek, and he still came through,” he said.

Frank is from a steer wrestling clan with three other bulldogging brothers. He traded his older brother Dallas to get the sorrel horse Time, that had been used at the Canadian Finals Rodeo a couple of years ago.

“I took this horse to get some confidence and get my bulldogging going, and it was the best thing I ever did,” he said. “Dallas actually called me this morning and he said it’s 10 years to the day since he won his ( FCA championship). So he’s been telling me. . . ‘You’re gonna win it’, so it’s kind of cool.”

It was a breakthrough weekend for Sammy Hamilton. The Caroline calf roper led going into Sunday’s final round, but didn’t safety up at all, winning the round in 8.1 seconds, to claim his first, long-awaited FCA championship.

The saddle bronc riding honors went to 20-year-old Reed Sparks of Innisfail. He led going into Sunday’s action, and was the only cowboy to have covered all his horses. But Wolf Eyed Trapper proved too much to handle and he came off his final horse too soon, which made the competition a lot closer. However, he still came out on top, over Ryan Fink of Rocky Mountain House.

There was no doubt about the bull riding title when 17-year-old Wacey Finkbeiner made it to the whistle on his fourth straight bull, the only finalist to do so. And he made it through all those rides with three broken ribs he suffered after being stomped on by a bull just the week before.

The other event to go to a runoff Sunday was the ladies barrel racing, where Jill McDougall of Bashaw and Valerie Gillespie of Duchess finished the rodeo tied. Gillespie won the runoff with a 13.800 second time, compared to the 14.168 from McDougall.

Other FCA champions included Colter Bannow of Sunnynook, who took the bareack riding. Clint Buhler of Okotoks and Ty Schmidt of Barrhead came from behind to win the team roping, by taking first in the final round. The novice horse riding went to Cole Goodine of Carbon; Billy West of Cadogan claimed the boys steer riding; Dakota Buttar of Kindersley, Saskatchewan took the junior bull riding and Honora Jackson-Roe of Millarville won the junior barrel racing event.

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