Twice is nice. Two in a row is even better.
A pair of the 2009 Canadian rodeo champions are repeat winners, crowned Sunday afternoon at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
It should really come as no surprise that Cody Cassidy won back-to-back Canadian steer wrestling championships. After all, it’s the kind of pattern he’s set all season long. The Donalda cowboy repeated as the Ponoka Stampede champion and the Canadian Rodeo Tour champion in Calgary.
Cassidy, the youngest of the two brothers in the renowned rodeo family, came into Edmonton as the season leader. That proved to be an advantage, but Cassidy also did what he needed to during the Canadian Finals Rodeo to walk out as the number one man.
The 28–year-old placed in four of the six rounds, picking up $24,407, but he also finished second in the average for another $8,135. That bumped his season earning to $71,357.
“To win one’s always great, but to win another one to prove to yourself it isn’t just a fluke, that’s where it’s really sweet,” said Cassidy.
The steer Cassidy drew in the final round wasn’t anything to write home about, but he still needed to make him work.
“I knew I could probably just catch him. The door kind of opened for me in the end with Tanner (Milan) having some troubles there. I just tried to give myself a chance to score good, ride hard and get my hands on the horns.”
Milan had been hot on Cassidy’s heels all season long.
Cassidy’s father, Greg, has four Canadian steer wrestling championships, brother Curtis has one, and now Cody has two.
He also got married in September, so he knows 2009 will be a big one in the memory books.
“It was a good year,” he said.
A repeat title came with a painful price for bareback rider Kyle Bowers. The Brooks cowboy suffered a serious shoulder injury on his dismount from his final horse. The bareback riding was a race between Bowers, former champion Dusty LaValley, and former world champion Kelly Timberman, who won both rounds Saturday. Bowers realized he couldn’t hold back on Sunday’s ride if he wanted to win the title.
“I knew the horse I had, My Mistake of Northcott’s,” Bowers said. “She tested me coming around that corner. I knew it, but I was letting loose. I knew I had to place and make some money, so I was going for first. I’m lucky it wasn’t a nine second whistle. I’m sure I was eight point zero something, and I was on my head beside her. It’s an amazing horse.
“But it’s bittersweet. I do end up having to probably have surgery, and will be laying on the couch for a few months this winter.”
Early prognosis on the painful injury was a third degree separated shoulder, and Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team members assured Bowers surgery on such injuries is much more successful these days. Bowers earned almost $40,000, after placing in the final round and winning the average. His season total was $65,695.
For the first time since team roping was introduced into the Canadian Finals, the team roping champions came from different teams. Travis Gallais of Olds took the honors for the headers, with $6,300 in CFR earnings, for a season total of $19,865. The top heeler was Kevin Schriener of Medicine Hat, who won $4,242 at the CFR, and earned $18,488 on the season. It’s the third time Gallais has earned a champion’s buckle.
Season leader Steve Lloyd of Alix was deep in the hunt for the tie-down roping title, until a broken barrier Sunday afternoon bumped him out of contention. He still won almost $20,000 for the week, but it was Al Bouchard of Altario taking the title. He and Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa ended up tied in the average, and they both won the exact same amount of CFR dollars, at $39,322.
But Bouchard had $5,683 more from the season coming in and that was the difference giving him his first Canadian buckle.
The saddle bronc race was one of the closest ever at the CFR, with at least five competitors still having a shot at it going into Sunday’s action. Dustin Flundra won the round, but Wyoming’s Chet Johnson was only three-quarters of point behind him, and that gave him just enough to win his first Canadian championship, with a season total of $54,184.
Gaylene Buff of Westwold B.C. dashed away with the barrel racing honors, after her horse Vader placed in all but the last round. She won $40,678 in Edmonton, bumping her season up to $67,555. But reserve winner Rana Walter of Lethbridge was the highest money earners at this year’s CFR, collecting $48,814.
It was an exciting finish in the bull riding, where Scott Schiffner of Strathmore won the average, by riding five of his six bulls, as he made a record-setting 10th appearance at the CFR. But the championship went to Brett Thompson of Medicine Hat, after he rode the bull of the year Calgary’s Speed Dial to 88.75 points, to win the round and finish second in the average. He collected $43,390 at the CFR, posting a $76,206 season.
Kyle Thomson of Black Diamond won both the All-Around and High Point championships.
Colin Adams of Manitoba was named the novice bareback champion, while Rylan Geiger won the novice bronc riding for the second year in a row. Shay Marks of Sunnybrook was the boys steer riding champion.
Northcott’s of Caroline will be driving a new Dodge truck this year, as their horse Get Smart was named best saddle bronc of the CFR. Bareback honors went to Grated Coconut of the Calgary Stampede, for the fifth time, while Vold Rodeo had the best bull of the CFR, with Slash.
Attendance this year was 83,904 over the six performances.