Bulldogger aims for another Stampede crown for Cochrane family

Jeff MacKinnon, For the Calgary Herald

Tanner Milan and his brothers Baillie and Straws used to run around the Calgary Stampede grounds while their father, Murry was busy competed in steer wrestling. 

“I remember burning around here tearing stuff up,” Tanner recalled Friday. “We used to have a lot of fun around here. We’d steal Dad’s back number and there would be a fight to see who got to wear it. Then, we’d be out playing rodeo thinking that we’d be in the final here and winning it.”

Straws grew up to do just that, capturing the 2011 Stampede title. He’s not competing in 2015 but Tanner, who is a two-time Canadian champion, is here trying to get the second family title for the Cochrane family and first for himself.

Tanner Milan took the first step to reaching the final four Friday with a 3.6 second turn that won Day 1 steer wrestling and $5,500 in money. Stampede champion from 2006, Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, shared second with Nick Guy of Sparta, Wisc., with 3.9 runs.

Milan was the first man out of the gate, riding a 15-year-old quarter horse he calls Smoke, bought back in the winter, which he said turned his whole year around. He thought he had broken the barrier Friday, but realized all was good when he heard the crowd cheering.

What would winning the Stampede mean to him?

“It would damn sure be a check mark off my bucket list winning this,” he said.

Fallon Taylor from Collinsville Texas competes in the barrel racing event during day 1 of the Calgary Stampede rodeo on Friday July 3, 2015. GAVIN YOUNG /  CALGARY HERALD

FLYIN’ FALLON

Fallon Taylor from Collinsville Texas competes in the barrel racing event during day 1 of the Calgary Stampede rodeo on Friday July 3, 2015.

World champion Fallon Taylor got off to a fast start in barrel racing, winning Day 1 on Babyflo in 17.65 seconds. 

“I got some really sage advice from (competitor and neighbour) Michele McLeod before I went in and she said: ‘I see horses really struggling, sit your butt down and really let your mare do her work,” the Collinsville, Texas, resident said.

“It was perfect advice.”

Taylor was fourth in Calgary two years ago and second in 2014.

“I told myself to win this first round because I’ve got a place in my trailer that I’ve cleaned for the that bronze (statue, Keeper of the Flame which goes to daily winners). I’ve wanted to set that in my trailer so bad.

“I’ve accomplished that, so now I can relax and settle in for some really good runs.”

Julie Leggatt of Kamloops was the top Canadian in fourth with a 17.98-second ride. 

OKLAHOMANS LOOK AT HOME

Hunter Herrin competes in the tie-down roping event during day 1 of the Calgary Stampede rodeo on Friday July 3, 2015. GAVIN YOUNG / CALGARY HERALD

Oklahomans Hunter Herrin of Apache and 2015 world all-round champion Ryan Jarrett of Comanche shared first in the tie-down with 7.0-second rides, each pocketing $5,000.

Blair Junke of Durante, Oklahoma was third and Donalda’s Curtis Cassidy fourth.

“I feel comfortable here,  I really do,” Jarrett said. “I enjoy hanging out for four days and not ripping up and down the road. We’ve been ripping up and down the road for the past 17 days somewhere in different states.

“It’s always good here. You feel relaxed and enjoy yourself.”

 Jarrett and Herrin both reached the four-man showdown at the Ponoka Stampede earlier this week. Jarrett won the final with a 7.6-second time.

BERRY RELISHES RE-RIDE

Jim Berry of Rocky Mountain House used a re-ride to record an 85.0 to earn a share of top spot in saddle bronc with two-time world champion and two-time Calgary Stampede champion (2008, 2006) Cody Wright of Milford, Utah.

“This will be my first go-round win,” Berry said. “I’ve been second a couple of times and to share a go-round with Cody is pretty unbelievable.”

His re-ride was on Calgary Stampede’s Maiden Chick.

“It’s a real good horse,” he said. “I think I’ve been on it once, but I’ve never had this good of luck with it.”

BRIEFLY

Mike Lee of Fort Worth, Texas took first day honours and $5,500 in bull riding with an 87.0 score. The 2004 Professional Bull Riders champion won Day 2 of The Ranchman’s Bullbustin’ event in Calgary on Wednesday. Black Diamond’s Tyler Thomson, who announced earlier this week that this season would be his last, was third on Friday and won $3,500 . . .  Cassian Haudegand of Cadogan, Alta., had a 69.5 for the top time in the novice bareback.