When the last firework blasted and the dust began to settle at Rexall Place a whole lot of buckles and money came to Central Alberta from the 42nd Canadian Finals Rodeo.
He wanted domination, and that removed some of the drama. Jake Vold, who lives in Airdrie but is still proudly claimed by his hometown of Ponoka, actually clinched his second straight Canadian bareback riding championship during Saturday night’s performance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo. But that didn’t mean he was backing off when he nodded his head Sunday for his relative Wayne Vold’s horse, True Grit.
“I dreamed about this forever,” puffed the 28-year-old cowboy, moments after he spurred to the moon, and actually won the final round with an 89.25 point ride.
“Last year I was so disappointed. I had it wrapped up on Saturday, and I slapped my horse on Sunday,” Vold recalled.
“That hurt, and I never forgot it, 365 days later. I nodded my head today, and come hell or high water, I was going to make a good ride. It worked out. I’m pretty happy right now.”
“I think I’m even happier than last year. This is unbelievable.”
That’s a word you could apply to the cowboy’s entire season, as he blew the previous record for bareback earnings in a single season out of the water with his $98,568 total. At the CFR, he placed in every round, winning $40,532 to finish second in the average, giving him another $9042; which basically doubled his season earnings.
“This year, everybody stepped up their game, all 12 guys. It was tough. We had outstanding horses, and everybody rode good. You never knew any night who was going to win. It was anybody’s game, so that’s what made it pretty exciting. I was just glad to be part of it, and lucky enough to stay on top.”
The Vold name is synonymous with rodeo, and that’s something Jake takes to heart.
“Rodeo runs pretty deep through our veins. To keep the name going on, third generation, it’s pretty special to the family. I’ve got a huge cheering crowd behind me and my brother, so it’s pretty awesome.”
Speaking of family, it was a big week for the Cassidy clan of Donalda. At the same time their father Greg was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, both Curtis and Cody did their share of winning.
Both brothers were in a position to win the steer wrestling championship going into Sunday’s action. By the time Cody came into the box for his run, he knew Curtis had already won the average with his 6.3 second run, so he had to place. It was a round season leader Scott Guenthner had turned in the fastest time of the rodeo with 3.3 seconds. But Cody came out and turned over his steer in 4.2 seconds, to seal the deal on his fourth Canadian title. Along the way, he made $34,296, more than he had all season, to finish with a $60,611 year.
“I’m usually big on numbers,” laughed Cody. “So I was doing lots of math, and had a really good idea of what I needed to do. But it was all going to come down to what Curtis and Tanner (Milan) did. They had some bad luck today, and kind of opened the door for me.”
“I’d had that steer before, so I kind of knew what to expect. I just tried to score sharp and do what I was supposed to do.”
It was mission accomplished, and another buckle for the family collection.
“It’s been a few years since I’ve won one. I always wanted to win four, just for the matter of fact that I could tie Dad. But I don’t want to quit.”
“Obviously, I was wanting either Curtis or I to end up winning it. That’s only natural. Curtis and I both had a great week up here. I’m just happy about that, and hopefully we have some more to come.”
Curtis actually ended up second in the steer wrestling, with $55,330. He also managed to pick up his ninth Canadian High Point championship.
“Anytime you can win, you’re always excited,” smiled Curtis, the older of the brothers. “It was definitely a goal of mine a long time ago to try and win ten high points. I’ve got some work ahead of me yet.”
In the team roping, Tyrel Flewelling earned his third Canadian heeling championship in the team roping, while his heading partner Roland McFadden of Vulcan claimed his first. They did it by making a clean 4.8 second run in the final round, which gave them second place in the average, and enough money to stay in first overall, with a total of $38,799 each for the year. It was a three thousand dollar margin over Jeremy Buhler of Arrowwood and Levi Simpson of Ponoka.
“We had really good year, we were very consistent all year,” commented Flewelling.
“It’s always fun to win with your friends. I’m just really happy for Pony (Roland). It’s his first one, and he deserves it.”
In his first appearance at the CFR since he was a novice bronc rider, Josh Harden of Big Valley earned the Canadian All Around championship.
“I had an awesome week,” said Harden. “I could’ve done a little better personally, but for being here for the first time since 2003, I had a blast.
For the second straight year, Saskatchewan’s Dakota Buttar managed to win the Canadian bull riding honors. It was a tight three man race with Tyler Thomson and Ponoka’s Zane Lambert into the final round, where he had to make the whistle to win. He rode a bull called Cutie to 87.50 for the go-round victory, to edge Lambert by a mere $513.
“I decided not to worry about that today,” said Buttar, of the tense scenario. “I didn’t think I could pass Zane but I guess it all worked out.”
“It was a goal of mine to do it again. I just don’t know how to describe it. Some people don’t make it back the next year, and that was something I really wanted, to make it back to the CFR the next year. I’m speechless right now.”
Buttar, who just turned 23, had a season worth $72,066. Lambert finished the year with $71,553. Thomson, who’s declared this was his last year of bull riding, won the average.
It was an emotional victory for barrel racer Nancy Csabay. The breast cancer survivor from Taber led the standings all season long, and while she didn’t win a single go-round outright, she placed in every one of them with her horse Wicked. That gave her the average and she picked up the Top Gun award as the highest money winner of the CFR, with her total of $57,057, for a season tally of $84,715.
Louisiana’s Cody DeMoss had a big edge on the saddle bronc field coming into the CFR, and he didn’t let up at Edmonton, placing in five of the six rounds. He earned $48,015 at the CFR, for a $90,687 season and the championship at his first CFR. Fellow statesman Shane Hanchey picked up his second Canadian buckle in the tie-down roping after a consistent week of roping. He placed in five rounds, and won the average to earn $43,650 in Edmonton, and finish on top with a $62,449 season.
It was the second year in a row for Lane Cust of Bluffton to claim the Novice Saddle Bronc championship, while Wyatt Gleeson of Sundre rode his way to the Novice Bareback title. Luke Ferber of Irricana emerged as the steer riding winner for 2015.