Jarrett starts Cowboy Christmas right in Ponoka

PONOKA, Alberta – Ryan Jarrett watched Matt Shiozawa post a 7.7-second run, and the Comanche, Okla., cowboy knew he had to be lightning-quick to win the Ponoka Stampede title.

The 31-year-old Jarrett was just that, edging Shiozawa by .1 seconds to capture his first championship at Ponoka.

“I wanted to get against the barrier and be as fast as I could,” Jarrett said of his 7.6-second run in the showdown round Wednesday night. “I had a good calf, and everything went well.”

Ponoka’s unique format includes two rounds, a final round, an average and then the top four competitors in each event clash for a big-time payday.

After a bad first-round time of 10.8 seconds, Jarrett showed the form which has made him a 7-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo qualifier in tie-down roping (he’s also the 2005 all-around world champion and went to the WNFR in steer wrestling that same year).

Jarrett was fourth in the second round, third in the finals and placed second in the three-head average with a time of 26.4 seconds. He earned $7,500 for the showdown round win, bringing his event total to $13,384.

“I had never even made the short round in calf roping here before, and I had more success in steer wrestling here in the past,” he said. “Ponoka is a rodeo everyone has on their bucket list and wants to win. They give you a real nice buckle and a great leather jacket for winning.”

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