Brennon Eldred now knows where Ponoka is located. He won’t soon forget the friendly town with the big Stampede. The 19-year-old cowboy brought his bull rope, and put it to work effectively on the Vold bull In Da Club.
“I looked him up and there were a couple of videos, and he just looked like a nice bull, and it worked out,” said Eldred. “I nodded for him and he rared up, and came out and fell down out of there. But then he stood back up and just started bucking. He kind of had me down in there, so I just had to work my outside foot and stay out of there.”
The spurring move was part aggressive, part survival.
“If I wouldn’t have did that, then I would’ve been off right down in the well, and I wouldn’t have rode him. I just had to keep moving, and keep riding.”
“I didn’t want to fall off. He was a little mean.”
The judges were impressed with the performance of both bull and rider, handing out 88.75 points, to set the bar higher in that event. It means Eldred will have to return to Ponoka next week, and so will his travelling partner Cody Teel, the 2012 World Champion. He marked an 85.5 on Vold’s Torch Head.
“It’s my first time to ever come to Canada,” stated Eldred, who’s hometown is Sulphur, Oklahoma. “I was looking at the books the other day, and talking to Trevor (Kastner) and Cody, and we thought ‘shoot, we might as well go to Ponoka’!”
“I got my passport the day we left for the summer, so I actually got lucky and got it, so I could come up here. I’m excited to come back for the short round, and put two more rides together.”
Hunter Herrin is another Okie, but he knows the road to Ponoka well. In fact, he’s won the tie-down roping championship at the Stampede in the past. He took over the lead after roping his morning calf in eight seconds flat.
“I got a good start, and that’s probably 75 per cent of the whole deal here,” commented Herrin, who has qualified for six NFR’s. “It makes everything else go easier.”
Herrin came back in the rodeo performance and put together another tidy run, this time in 9.1 seconds.
“I probably got a little better start than I should’ve, for being eight flat on my first one. I kind of missed my slack just a little bit, and I kind of got a rolling fall and I had to get her up. Then I probably pressed a bit too much, and bobbled my string just one little ol’ instance there. But it worked out perfect to where I’m super excited. I’m gonna get to rope in the short round, and have a chance to win a lot of money.”
“This has been a good place for me. I’ve been fortunate, and just glad to come back and hopefully try to continue the winning streak.”
Central Alberta fans were cheering to see hometown favorite Dean Edge of Rimbey tie his afternoon calf in 8.1 seconds, to sit fourth in the average with 19.3 seconds. The top twelve total times return for Tuesday’s Finals.
Three-time and reigning World Champion bareback rider Kaycee Feild showed his winning style Friday in Ponoka, earning 88 points on Vold’s Dancing Queen, to take the lead in that event.
“I’m real excited about that young horse today,” bubbled Feild. “She left there hard, and got in the air real quick. The first jump right out of there she got about three feet in the air, and got it on right there. It was a lot of fun.”
The names at the top of the leaderboard didn’t adjust much in the other events. Taos Muncy remains the saddle bronc riding leader with his 86 mark, while Mary Walker of Texas is still the fastest barrel racer with her running time of 17.487 seconds. Steer wrestler Tanner Milan of Cochrane was in great shape after a 3.6 second run in the morning slack, but wasn’t able to capitalize on that, taking 16.8 seconds to get one turned in the afternoon. The 11.9 from Lee Graves is still the best in that event. Rhen Richard of Utah and Jeremy Buhler of Arrowwood still have the best record in team roping, with their 13.7 second total. It’s still Sundre’s Wyatt Gleeson leading novice bareback; and Tyler Kampjes in the novice saddle bronc; with Jake Plotts of Drayton Valley the new steer riding leader with his 75.5.
It was another exciting night of chuckwagon racing on WPCA Pro Tour Friday. Weather and track conditions were perfect for the second consecutive night, and some outstanding races were witnessed by a huge crowd. Former Ponoka Stampede Champion Jason Glass was best on the night with a penalty free run of 1:15.39.
For the second straight night, the day money was off barrel number 4 in the 6th heat, and Glass, driving the Birchcliff Energy Ltd. outfit, placed first on the night by just 10 one-hundredths of a second over Colt Cosgrave, with Chad Harden, Kurt Bensmiller and Chanse Vigen rounding out the top five wagons on the night.
The Ponoka Stampede continues through the weekend with 1:00 pm rodeo performances, and the chuckwagons rolling at 6:30 pm.