Tyler Pankewitz rides Duffy Rodeo's Blue Wing - Drayton Valley Pro Rodeo
* Roughstock Studio/Billie-Jean Duff photo
May 8, 2017 - Tyler Pankewitz can’t remember ever having a start to his season like the one that has launched his 2017 campaign.
In fact, last year at this time, the Ponoka bull rider was just returning to action after missing most of 2015 with an injury. This time around, at the same point on the calendar, “Pank” is coming off back to back weekends that has seen him collect two firsts and a second to climb to first place in the standings.
The most recent success came at the Drayton Valley Pro Rodeo where he mastered the Duffy Rodeo bull, Blue Wing, to the tune of 88.5 points for the $1387 win.
“He was awesome,” Pankewitz said of the seven year-old black bruiser. “He came around the end of the gate, right into my hand.” The spectacular result was especially gratifying considering the six-time CFR qualifier had never been on, or even seen, the bull before. “The guys who knew him said he was the one to have and they were definitely right.”
The $4000 haul over the last two weekends came after Pankewitz admitted to having “a little talk with myself. Before Coleman and Camrose I wasn’t feeling it, especially mentally,” he acknowledged. “I told myself ‘if you’re gonna go, you might as well go to win’.”
Pankewitz noted that he plans to follow the pattern that worked well last year and not go to as many events as he has in the past. “I find as I get older, I’m not as worn out mentally and sore if I don’t try to go to everything all the time. I’m a young person but an old bull rider,” he chuckled. Pankewitz stated that he’s hopeful he can parlay the strategy and winning attitude into a Canadian title. “That’s definitely what I’m shooting for,” he noted. “It would sure be something to talk about a few years from now.”
The newly minted team roping pairing of Brett Buss and three- time Canadian champion heeler Tyrel Flewelling has also been lighting it up in the early stages of the 2017 Canadian rodeo season. The pair earned the win at Drayton Valley with a smooth 5.0 second run for $1421 each, to extend their respective leads atop the team roping header and heeler standings.
Other Drayton Valley winners included Saskatchewan’s Linden Woods in the bareback riding (84.5 on C+ Rodeo’s Bubbaganoosh for $1303) and veteran Jim Berry in the bronc riding (83.5 on Duffy Rodeo’s Stix for $1226). Twelve-time Canadian champion, Curtis Cassidy, prevailed in the tie down roping with an 8.3 second run to pocket $1794 while the steer wrestling honours were went to Jesse Lawes, whose 3.6 second run netted the Provost dogger $1967. And in the barrel race, Melissa Theissen built on her strong start to the season with a blazing 13.145 second run to take home $1929 and climb to third place in the standings.
Complete rodeo results are available at rodeocanada.com
Next CPRA action will be at the Stavely Indoor Pro Rodeo later this week, Thursday through Saturday, May 11-13—three performances all at 7 pm.