Dean McIntyre making most of first time at Ponoka Stampede

McIntyre making most of first time at Ponoka


By Dianne Finstad - 
Published: June 28, 2015 10:07 PM

People come from all over the world to experience the Ponoka Stampede. But it’s not only fans attracted to the ‘small town – big rodeo’ experience. It’s contestants too.

Dean McIntyre is making the most of his Ponoka Stampede adventure. He’s an Aussie by birth, but has called the cowboy town of Wickenburg, AZ home for nearly a decade. He’s ventured north for the first time, and his best shot at the pot of Canadian gold has come in the steer wrestling at Ponoka. McIntyre made short work of his draw in the Sunday morning run, catching and turning a steer in just 3.5 seconds to shave more than a second off the pace in that round. Then he came back in the afternoon, and managed to handle his steer in 6.4 seconds, to lead the field with his combined total of 10.1 seconds.

Keep in mind timed event contestants have the extra challenge of the famous Ponoka ‘long score’ run, where both they and their prey are moving at a high rate of speed, from a further distance than at most rodeos. But that didn’t phase the laid-back cowboy.

“I’ve been to one rodeo that’s similar to this in Australia and done well there too,” said the 37-year-old who grew up in the outback of North Queensland. “I drew good today, and it worked out.”

“It’s one of those deals that’s kind of a feel you’ve got to have when you’re going down there,” he explained about the tricky timing of the set-up. “If it feels good go; if it doesn’t feel good, pull.”

“I was late on my second one. When I got to going, I had to go hard.”

“I kind of like these deals that are a little bit different, where you’ve got to kind of ‘cowboy’ and ride a little bit better. I’ve always seemed to do good at the long scores.”

Despite not being a fan of cold temperatures, McIntyre figures he could tough it out in Edmonton in November if he was to earn a berth at the Canadian Finals Rodeo. A big win at Ponoka could go a long way to making that happen.

“That was kind of my plan when I came up here. I’ve been up here for about three weeks, but nothing’s come together until today.”

One of the other events to see a change at the top of the leaderboard during the fourth performance of the 79th Annual Ponoka Stampede was the saddle bronc riding. Brad Harter came all the way from Loranger, LA for his eight second appointment with Calgary Stampede’s horse Mata Fact. 

“I’ve had that horse twice,” said the 9-time NFR qualifier. “In Hermiston Oregon once, and I was 84, and then Calgary once, and it bucked me off. So it was a rematch.”

Chalk one up for the cowboy. Harter spurred his way to the top of the Ponoka pack with an 84.75 score.

“I was glad I won today,” he chuckled. 

“That’s one of the best horses there is. I was really excited to have it here. We were at Reno (Rodeo) last night and had to fly up here all night, so I was really glad to be able to make it in time, and be able to get on such a great bucking horse at a great rodeo.”

“Everybody, when they start rodeoing, wants to win Ponoka. So I’d love to be able to make that happen in my career.”

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