Baggage doesn't slow injured Larsen down
LAS VEGAS - Orin Larsen celebrated Canada Night in style.
The Inglis, Manitoba, bareback rider won Round 8 of the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo presented by Polaris RANGER with an 87.5-point trip on Frontier Rodeo's Full Baggage, earning a much-needed $26,231.
Larsen badly separated his ribs on the third jump of the first round of this WNFR. He's been receiving daily treatment and riding through a lot of pain. It was all worth it Thursday night.
"I don't have a choice," Larsen said of gritting his teeth and gutting it out. "I've worked my whole career to be tough enough to never say 'uncle,' and I've made it this far. So I'm not quitting and will ride through the 10th round. The gold buckle isn't in my picture this year, but I want to leave my mark. Winning tonight really made the last seven nights a lot better."
It was his first ride aboard the acclaimed horse, and the win came on Canada Night, which made it all the sweeter for Larsen.
"I've wanted to do better in the early rounds at both of the NFRs I've been to, but to win on Canada Night is icing on the cake," he said. "I've always wanted to have Full Baggage, and there's no better place to draw him than here in Vegas. It was like a boxing match, and luckily I came out on top. I've been waiting since I was 8 years old to win a go-round buckle here, so it'll be emotional to get it tonight."
The bareback riding world title chase seems like it's just about concluded, as Tim O'Connell has a $104,000 lead over the field with two nights left, and also leads the average.
If O'Connell holds a world standings lead of more than $93,500 after Round 9, he will clinch the world title.
Clayton Hass is trying to run down his friend and traveling partner Tyler Waguespack, as both men are chasing their first gold steer wrestling buckle.
Hass put more pressure on his buddy in Round 7, winning with a time of 4.1 seconds and moving to within $30,000 of Waguespack, who's currently the leader in the world standings and the WNFR average.
"I knew the round was pretty soft, and I needed to go make a business run and try and make all the money I could," Hass said. "I didn't want to push the barrier too hard, and wanted to be professional about it."
Both Hass and Waguespack are riding Cadillac, the 2016 PRCA/AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. It appears the world title may be won on the impressive horse, either way.
In addition to chasing a world bulldogging title, Hass is also right in the thick of the all-around gold buckle race. He currently only trails Dustin Bird by about $20,000, and has a good chance at the all-round with two more solid runs.
"These guys are battling it out just like I am, and they are trying to win first every time they nod their head," Hass said. "I have to go first before the guys I'm chasing, and they will know what I do, so if I put pressure on them, that may make them press a little bit. If not, I will just have to see how the cookie crumbles come Saturday night."
Dustin Bird and Russell Cardoza are in the same position as Hass - they won Round 8, and are second in the world, trying to catch Luke Brown and Jake Long, who lead the world standings and the WNFR average.
Bird and Cardoza stopped the clock with the fastest team roping time of the 2016 WNFR, a blistering 3.7-second run. They both trail Brown and Long by less than $15,000, making the team roping race tight as can be coming down to the wire.
"We knew he was a good steer, and that if we did our jobs we'd have a chance to win the round," Bird said. "I had to let him out a little. I must have been a little close to the barrier, but I got out."
For Cardoza, winning the round was a bit of redemption for what happened in Round 7.
"Last night I roped a leg - I got in a hurry, and wasn't in good position," Cardoza said. "We won a check, but we could have won the round. Sometimes when I rope a leg, I get mad at myself. Then I come out next time and try to focus as much as I can."
Bird and Cardoza are 1-2 in the world all-around standings, yet Bird has $10,000 more won than his partner, making it impossible for Cardoza to win the all-around title. He's still a team-first guy, and wants to help Bird win two gold buckles.
"I'd love to win the all-around title, but I'd rather win the team roping because then Dustin will win the all-around," Cardoza said. "The team roping gold buckle is the goal."
Cody Wright isn't going to capture his third gold buckle at this WNFR, but in Round 8 he showed the talent that grabbed those titles.
The 39-year-old won Round 8 with an 88-point ride on Powder River Rodeo's Lipstick N Whiskey, the same horse his son Ryder won Round 3 on.
"I've had her before in Plains, Montana, and she is an outstanding horse and has been for five or six years," Wright said. "I was excited to have her. She jumped and kicked with Ryder, and was just what a guy wanted. I thought if a guy had a shorter rein he could ride better, so it was an advantage to see her before (I rode her)."
Wright has now won 15 rounds in 12 years at the WNFR, but had never won Round 8, until Thursday night. He's now won every round at the WNFR, except for Rounds 1 and 5.
"It's pretty awesome to have the best ride, any time," Wright said. "We are against the Top 15 guys in the world, and heck, it seems like a big accomplishment to beat those guys. Rusty, Ryder, Jake and Jesse, they are going for first and don't care if the guy ahead of them was a 90 or a 50. They will try to beat it."
Jacobs Crawley is closing in on his second straight world saddle bronc riding title, leading the entire field by nearly $52,000 with two nights left. Crawley is also third in the average.
Shane Hanchey, the 2013 world champion tie-down roper, did his grandmother proud in Round 8.
Earlier in the day, Irene Hanchey passed away. Although he didn't know it at the time, her grandson honored her by winning Thursday night with a time of 6.8 seconds.
"My brother (Jason) helps me every night, and after I got done with my run for some reason he was teared up," Hanchey said. "He let me know my grandma passed away today. She broke her hip (Wednesday), they operated on her today and they ended up losing her on the table. She had a heart attack. It happened earlier today, and they didn't want to tell me until I roped. Jason was crying and told me that the reason I won was all her up there. That's pretty crazy."
Hanchey hasn't had an ideal WNFR, as he's only earned three checks - including a Round-1 win. He won't be collecting a gold or WNFR average buckle, but is fighting until the very end.
"I knew I had a calf that I could take a rip at the barrier, and if things worked out I could be fast," he said. "After Matt Shiozawa (he was 7.1 seconds) went, I thought that was about the best run I've seen in awhile. It's just hard to comprehend that I won."
The tie-down roping world title race is still wide open with two rounds remaining. Brazilian Marcos Costa leads the world, but is fifth in the WNFR average.
Tyson Durfey and Hunter Herrin are the two men with the best shot at catching Costa.
Only two bull riders survived the Round-8 pen - Tyler Smith and Brennon Eldred.
Smith took the victory lap with an 89-point ride on Wayne Vold Rodeo's Cooper's Comet - the same bull Roscoe Jarboe won Round 2 on.
"I got to see video of what he did with Roscoe, and if you weren't expecting him to reverse it (his spin), he'd get you," Smith said. "But I was expecting it, and sure enough he did. It helps me when I see a bull beforehand, so I can get a game plan. I was waiting for the reverse, and it came at a bad time, but I knew he would do it. That's the only way I got by him."
Smith earned the first-place check of $26,231, while also splitting the ground money with Eldred - both men got a check worth $18,827, which won't count in the world standings.
"It's awesome - money comes and goes, but the go-round buckles last forever," Smith said. "Money is just good to feed yourself. I don't have any plans, just put it in the bank and pay some stuff off. I'm going to buy a new roping horse."
Eldred scored a 71.5-point ride, which was good enough for second place in the round, and moved him to second in the world. Both he and Shane Proctor have a shot at dethroning two-time and defending World Champ Sage Kimzey in the last two rounds.
Barrel racer Amberleigh Moore put her name into the record books in Round 8.
The Keizer, Ore., native tied the arena record of 13.37 seconds set by Taylor Jacob in 2013.
A tipped third barrel in Round 7 cost Moore and her horse, Paige, an arena record, but the duo got the job done the next night.
"Paige is a perfectionist, sometimes too much so, as you could tell from last night when she got just a bit too close to that third barrel," Moore said. "But tonight, being first on the ground, I knew that I wouldn't have to run through anyone else's tracks, so I knew I could push her up in there.
"I rode her hard to the first barrel, and when she nailed it I thought, 'Here we go again.' When we got to the third one I made sure to ask her for just a little more so we could get around it."
Moore is third in the world standings, and second in the WNFR average race. Mary Burger is still in the driver's seat with two nights left, with Lisa Lockhart lurking in second, should Burger slip up.
The 58th annual Wrangler NFR continues Friday with the ninth round at the Thomas & Mack Center. The action will be televised live and in HD on CBS Sports Net (DirecTV channel 221 and DISH Network channel 158) from 7-10 p.m. PT.
Eighth Performance Results, Thursday, Dec. 8, 2016
Thomas & Mack Center, Las Vegas, Nev.
All-around world standings: 1. Dustin Bird, $214,181; 2. Russell Cardoza, $204,720; 3. Clayton Hass, $195,954; 4. Junior Nogueira, $175,036; 5. Caleb Smidt, $159,623; 6. Clay Smith, $154,578; 7. Josh Peek, $148,603; 8. Ryan Jarrett, $120,089; 9. JoJo LeMond, $112,623; 10. Ryle Smith, $99,862; 11. Shay Carroll, $94,076; 12. Rhen Richard, $81,497.
Bareback riding: 1. Orin Larsen, Inglis, Manitoba, 87.5 points on Frontier Rodeo's Full Baggage, $26,231; 2. Winn Ratliff, Leesville, La., 86.5, $20,731; 3. (tie) Tim O'Connell, Zwingle, Iowa, and J.R. Vezain, Cowley, Wyo., 85, $13,327 each; 5. Ty Breuer, Mandan, N.D., 84.5, $6,769; 6. (tie) Tanner Aus, Granite Falls, Minn., and R.C. Landingham, Hat Creek, Calif., 84, $2,115; 8. Jessy Davis, Power, Mont., 80.5; 9. Richmond Champion, The Woodlands, Texas, 78; 10. (tie) Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah, and Clayton Biglow, Clements, Calif., 77.5; 12. Evan Jayne, Marseille, France, 74; 13. Jake Vold, Ponoka, Alberta, 70.5; 14. Wyatt Denny, Minden, Nev., NS; 15. Jake Brown, Hillsboro, Texas, INJ. Average standings: 1. Tim O'Connell, 675 points on eight head; 2. Caleb Bennett, 650.5; 3. J.R. Vezain, 648.5; 4. Clayton Biglow, 646.5; 5. Jake Vold, 644.5; 6. Richmond Champion, 643. World standings: 1. Tim O'Connell, $298,118; 2. Orin Larsen, $194,834; 3. Tanner Aus, $186,922; 4. Caleb Bennett, $185,436; 5. Jake Vold, $176,065; 6. R.C. Landingham, $167,563; 7. Clayton Biglow, $154,564; 8. Winn Ratliff, $153,680; 9. Jake Brown, $120,282; 10. J.R. Vezain, $110,643; 11. Ty Breuer, $110,099; 12. Wyatt Denny, $107,400; 13. Richmond Champion, $106,246; 14. Evan Jayne, $97,081; 15. Jessy Davis, $79,916.
Steer wrestling: 1. Clayton Hass, Terrell, Texas, 4.1 seconds, $26,231; 2. Ty Erickson, Helena, Mont., 4.3, $20,731; 3. Jacob Talley, Keatchie, La., 4.5, $15,654; 4. Trevor Knowles, Mount Vernon, Ore., 4.6, $11,000; 5. Tyler Waguespack, Gonzales, La., 4.9, $6,769; 6. Dakota Eldridge, Elko, Nev., 5.3, $4,231; 7. (tie) Baylor Roche, Tremonton, Utah, and Matt Reeves, Cross Plains, Texas, 5.4; 9. Jason Thomas, Benton, Ark., 6.3; 10. Billy Bugenig, Ferndale, Calif., 7.0; 11. J.D. Struxness, Appleton, Minn., 8.2; 12. Nick Guy, Sparta, Wis., 12.0; 13. Cody Cabral, Hilo, Hawaii, 14.1; 14. Josh Peek, Pueblo, Colo., 15.0; 15. Riley Duvall, Checotah, Okla., NT. Average standings: 1. Tyler Waguespack, 33.3 seconds on eight head; 2. Matt Reeves, 33.4; 3. Jason Thomas, 38.5; 4. Dakota Eldridge, 44.2; 5. Nick Guy, 50.8; 6. Clayton Hass, 34.0 on seven. World standings: 1. Tyler Waguespack, $210,676; 2. Clayton Hass, $180,957; 3. J.D. Struxness, $175,877; 4. Matt Reeves, $162,658; 5. Jason Thomas, $150,560; 6. Ty Erickson, $145,673; 7. Dakota Eldridge, $135,528; 8. Billy Bugenig, $109,330; 9. Josh Peek, $103,397; 10. Jacob Talley, $96,686; 11. Baylor Roche, $93,636; 12. Riley Duvall, $93,460; 13. Trevor Knowles, $91,923; 14. Nick Guy, $91,231; 15. Cody Cabral, $83,139.
Team roping: 1. Dustin Bird, Cut Bank, Mont./Russell Cardoza, Terrebonne, Ore., 3.7 seconds, $26,231; 2. Zac Small, Welch, Okla./Wesley Thorp, Stephenville, Texas, 4.2, $20,731; 3. Erich Rogers, Round Rock, Ariz./Cory Petska, Marana, Ariz., 4.4, $15,654; 4. Riley Minor, Ellensburg, Wash./Brady Minor, Ellensburg, Wash., 4.5, $11,000; 5. Luke Brown, Stephenville, Texas/Jake Long, Coffeyville, Kan., 4.7, $6,769; 6. Clay Smith, Broken Bow, Okla./Paul Eaves, Lonedell, Mo., 5.5, $4,231; 7. Matt Sherwood, Pima, Ariz./Quinn Kesler, Holden, Utah, 6.6; 8. Tyler Wade, Terrell, Texas/Dakota Kirchenschlager, Morgan Mill, Texas, 9.1; 9. Colby Lovell, Madisonville, Texas/Travis Graves, Jay, Okla., 9.7; 10. Kaleb Driggers, Albany, Ga./Junior Nogueira, Burleson, Texas, 9.9; 11. Kolton Schmidt, Barrhead, Alberta/Shay Carroll, Prineville, Ore., 13.9; 12. (tie) Coleman Proctor, Pryor, Okla./Billie Jack Saebens, Nowata, Okla.; Garrett Rogers, Baker City, Ore./Jake Minor, Ellensburg, Wash.; Cody Snow, Los Olivos, Calif./Dugan Kelly, Paso Robles, Calif.; and Levi Simpson, Ponoka, Alberta/Jeremy Buhler, Arrowwood, Alberta, NT. Average standings: 1. Luke Brown/Jake Long, 37.5 seconds on seven head; 2. Clay Smith/Paul Eaves, 43.3; 3. Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler, 45.3; 4. Erich Rogers/Cory Petska, 47.2; 5. Riley Minor/Brady Minor, 61.3; 6. Dustin Bird/Russell Cardoza, 35.1 on six. World standings (headers): 1. Luke Brown, $211,936; 2. Dustin Bird, $200,102; 3. Kaleb Driggers, $173,592; 4. Riley Minor, $166,012; 5. Clay Smith, $157,265; 6. Erich Rogers, $150,685; 7. Levi Simpson, $147,383; 8. Matt Sherwood, $139,561; 9. Garrett Rogers, $109,731; 10. Zac Small, $108,883; 11. Colby Lovell, $106,591; 12. Kolton Schmidt, $106,147; 13. Tyler Wade, $103,529; 14. Cody Snow, $100,718; 15. Coleman Proctor, $92,049. World standings (heelers): 1. Jake Long, $208,591; 2. Russell Cardoza, $193,441; 3. Junior Nogueira, $173,592; 4. Brady Minor, $164,504; 5. Paul Eaves, $158,554; 6. Jeremy Buhler, $156,561; 7. Cory Petska, $151,911; 8. Quinn Kesler, $139,530; 9. Dakota Kirchenschlager, $109,755; 10. Jake Minor, $109,152; 11. Dugan Kelly, $106,510; 12. Wesley Thorp, $103,317; 13. Billie Jack Saebens, $98,834; 14. Travis Graves, $90,796; 15. Shay Carroll, $84,737.
Saddle bronc riding: 1. Cody Wright, Milford, Utah, 88 points on Powder River Rodeo's Lipstick N Whiskey, $26,231; 2. Clay Elliott, Nanton, Alberta, 86, $20,731; 3. Zeke Thurston, Big Valley, Alberta, 85, $15,654; 4. Rusty Wright, Milford, Utah, 84, $11,000; 5. Sterling Crawley, Stephenville, Texas, 83.5, $6,769; 6. Jake Watson, Hudson's Hope, British Columbia, 82, $4,231; 7. (tie) Jacobs Crawley, Boerne, Texas, and Allen Boore, Axtell, Utah, 81; 9. CoBurn Bradshaw, Beaver, Utah, 80.5; 10. Jesse Wright, Milford, Utah, 80; 11. Cody DeMoss, Heflin, La., 77; 12. (tie) Jake Wright, Milford, Utah; Heith DeMoss, Heflin, La.; Ryder Wright, Milford, Utah; and Chuck Schmidt, Keldron, S.D., NS. Average standings: 1. Jake Watson, 663 points on eight head; 2. Zeke Thurston, 584 on seven; 3. Jacobs Crawley, 579; 4. Allen Boore, 575.5; 5. CoBurn Bradshaw, 566; 6. Jake Wright, 498 on six. World standings: 1. Jacobs Crawley, $237,445; 2. Ryder Wright, $185,527; 3. Zeke Thurston, $184,853; 4. CoBurn Bradshaw, $182,636; 5. Rusty Wright, $163,904; 6. Jake Wright, $160,472; 7. Jake Watson, $147,409; 8. Allen Boore, $141,232; 9. Cody Wright, $140,023; 10. Clay Elliott, $132,991; 11. Cody DeMoss, $118,037; 12. Sterling Crawley, $116,722; 13. Heith DeMoss, $110,987; 14. Jesse Wright, $104,943; 15. Chuck Schmidt, $81,129.
Tie-down roping: 1. Shane Hanchey, Sulphur, La., 6.8 seconds, $26,231; 2. Matt Shiozawa, Chubbuck, Idaho, 7.1, $20,731; 3. Tyson Durfey, Weatherford, Texas, 7.3, $15,654; 4. Cory Solomon, Prairie View, Texas, 7.7, $11,000; 5. Marcos Costa, Childress, Texas, 7.8, $6,769; 6. Caleb Smidt, Bellville, Texas, 8.2, $4,231; 7. Riley Pruitt, Gering, Neb., 8.4; 8. Ryan Jarrett, Comanche, Okla., 9.1; 9. Blane Cox, Cameron, Texas, 9.4; 10. Hunter Herrin, Apache, Okla., 11.9; 11. Cade Swor, Winnie, Texas, 12.0; 12. Reese Riemer, Stinnett, Texas, 13.5; 13. (tie) Timber Moore, Aubrey, Texas; Ryle Smith, Oakdale, Calif.; and Marty Yates, Stephenville, Texas, NT. Average standings: 1. Riley Pruitt, 67.4 seconds on eight head; 2. Tyson Durfey, 76.4; 3. Cade Swor, 77.3; 4. Hunter Herrin, 78.3; 5. Marcos Costa, 87.2; 6. Cory Solomon, 93.6. World standings: 1. Marcos Costa, $195,600; 2. Marty Yates, $170,732; 3. Matt Shiozawa, $161,281; 4. Shane Hanchey, $159,394; 5. Hunter Herrin, $158,188; 6. Caleb Smidt, $146,123; 7. Tyson Durfey, $144,542; 8. Cade Swor, $140,181; 9. Cory Solomon, $123,623; 10. Timber Moore, $118,539; 11. Blane Cox, $116,089; 12. Riley Pruitt, $113,317; 13. Ryan Jarrett, $108,361; 14. Reese Riemer, $99,641; 15. Ryle Smith, $94,386.
Barrel racing: 1. Amberleigh Moore, Keizer, Ore., 13.37 seconds, $26,231; 2. Ivy Conrado, Hudson, Colo., 13.63, $20,731; 3. Mary Burger, Pauls Valley, Okla., 13.66, $15,654; 4. Stevi Hillman, Weatherford, Texas, 13.67, $11,000; 5. Sherry Cervi, Marana, Ariz., 13.68, $6,769; 6. Pamela Capper, Cheney, Wash., 13.69, $4,231; 7. Lisa Lockhart, Oelrichs, S.D., 13.72; 8. Kimmie Wall, Roosevelt, Utah, 13.73; 9. Carley Richardson, Pampa, Texas, 13.78; 10. Michele McLeod, Whitesboro, Texas, 13.84; 11. Jackie Ganter, Abilene, Texas, 13.88; 12. Jana Bean, Fort Hancock, Texas, 18.58; 13. Sarah Rose McDonald, Brunswick, Ga., 18.71; 14. Cayla (Melby) Small, Burneyville, Okla., 18.84; 15. Mary Walker, Ennis, Texas, 19.00. Average standings: 1. Lisa Lockhart, 110.55 seconds on eight runs; 2. Amberleigh Moore, 114.34; 3. Sherry Cervi, 115.36; 4. Pamela Capper, 115.60; 5. Mary Burger, 115.65; 6. Stevi Hillman, 116.68. World standings: 1. Mary Burger, $271,207; 2. Kimmie Wall, $190,987; 3. Amberleigh Moore, $185,953; 4. Sherry Cervi, $181,679; 5. Lisa Lockhart, $179,206; 6. Ivy Conrado, $155,006; 7. Sarah Rose McDonald, $147,595; 8. Michele McLeod, $144,707; 9. Pamela Capper, $143,620; 10. Jackie Ganter, $142,041; 11. Stevi Hillman, $140,874; 12. Jana Bean, $135,605; 13. Mary Walker, $122,816; 14. Carley Richardson, $103,991; 15. Cayla (Melby) Small, $101,967.
Bull riding: 1. Tyler Smith, Fruita, Colo., 89 points on Wayne Vold Rodeo's Cooper's Comet, $26,231; 2. Brennon Eldred, Sulphur, Okla., 71.5, $20,731; 3. (tie) Sage Kimzey, Strong City, Okla.; Joe Frost, Randlett, Utah; Jeff Askey, Athens, Texas; Roscoe Jarboe, New Plymouth, Idaho; Garrett Smith, Rexburg, Idaho; Shane Proctor, Grand Coulee, Wash.; Jordan Spears, Redding, Calif.; Scottie Knapp, Albuquerque, N.M.; Cody Rostockyj, Lorena, Texas; Tim Bingham, Honeyville, Utah; Rorey Maier, Timber Lake, S.D.; Garrett Tribble, Bristow, Okla.; NS; 15. Cody Teel, Kountze, Texas, INJ. Average standings: 1. Shane Proctor, 590 points on seven head; 2. Sage Kimzey, 418 on five; 3. Brennon Eldred, 415; 4. Joe Frost, 336 on four; 5. Tyler Smith, 253 on three; 6. Jordan Spears, 252.5. World standings: 1. Sage Kimzey, $252,644; 2. Brennon Eldred, $206,996; 3. Shane Proctor, $205,095; 4. Joe Frost, $174,302; 5. Jordan Spears, $151,802; 6. Roscoe Jarboe, $149,765; 7. Scottie Knapp, $141,099; 8. Jeff Askey, $134,993; 9. Tyler Smith, $133,545; 10. Rorey Maier, $127,594; 11. Cody Rostockyj, $125,787; 12. Garrett Smith, $122,621; 13. Garrett Tribble, $113,464; 14. Cody Teel, $112,194; 15. Tim Bingham, $91,321.
shared or otherwise disbributed without permission of the CPRA.
Las Vegas, Nevada
December 8, 2016
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Canada Night - Half a Million and Counting
The Canadian contingent went into their night at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo needing just $38,000 to top the half million dollar mark in take home pay from the ten million dollar event, easily surpassing the best previous Canadian performance.
And Orin Larsen wasted no time in getting ‘Team Canada’ closer to that milestone payoff as he made his best ride of the 2016 WNFR with an 87.5 score on Frontier Rodeo’s Full Baggage to win his first ever go-round and the $26,000 plus first place cheque. The talented Manitoba cowboy has fashioned an inspirational story as he re-injured a painful rib tear in the opening round but has refused to give in. And over the last three days, Larsen has placed in all three rounds to win almost fifty thousand dollars.
“Full Baggage - he’s a big, strong horse that I’ve always wanted to get on and there’s no better place to do that than right here,” Larsen noted with a smile. “That trip to the South Point (nightly go-round buckle presentations) is something I’ve wanted to do since I was a little kid - that’s going to be an emotional roller coaster for sure.”
Referencing the pain that has been an unpleasant accompaniment to every one of his rides at the Finals, the two time WNFR qualifier was philosophical. “It’s not too bad during the ride other than the popping and crunching that’s happening. But after the ride, that’s when I can feel it. But tonight I won so I feel pretty good.”
Airdrie’s Jake Vold who won three rounds in a row earlier at this Finals, had some trouble with the Pickett Rodeo bareback horse, Top Notch and had to settle for just 70.5 points.
Canadian bareback horses had a big night as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil packed Winn Ratliff to 86.5 and second place while Big Stone Rodeo’s Call Me Kindra carried JR Vezain to an 85 point 3/4 split.
For the third night in a row all three Canadian saddle bronc riders were in the money. The ‘kids’ (the oldest is 23) were led by Nanton’s Clay Elliott who rode Burch Rodeo’s Lunatic Fringe to an 86 point second place finish and a $20,730 dollar payday. Big Valley cowboy Zeke Thurston spurred out an 85 point effort on Pete Carr Rodeo’s Manhattan Moon for third place money of $15,653 and the guy who has been Mr. Consistency through the first eight days in Las Vegas - Jake Watson of Hudson’s Hope, BC - made it eight for eight with an 82 point ride on JK Rodeo’s Dakota Babe for 6th place and $4230.
Watson sits in top spot in the average and Thurston who has bucked off only one horse (at 7.92 seconds) is right behind Watson in the average with just two go-rounds remaining.
Two time World Champion, Cody Wright turned back the clock on this night and rode like his two sons Rusty and Ryder who are among the five Wrights qualified for Las Vegas in 2016. The elder statesman of the family was a brilliant 88 points on Lipstick and Whiskey from Powder River Rodeo, a horse that eighteen year-old Ryder rode to a go round win earlier in the week.
The lone disappointment for the dedicated Canadian fans, who had the flags waving with attitude tonight, came in the team roping as Levi Simpson (Ponoka) and Jeremy Buhler (Arrowwood) took their first no time of the rodeo and fell to third place in the average. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt went after it but broke the barrier to take him and Texas partner Shay Carroll to a 13.9 with the ten second penalty.
The 2016 Canadian champion team of Dustin Bird from Cutbank, Montana and Russell Cardoza from Terrebonne, Oregon were picture perfect in making the fastest run of the week, a sensational 3.7 seconds to win the round and keep Bird in the #1 spot in the All-Around standings.
Terrell, Texas bulldogger Clayton Hass won the round in his event with a 4.1 second run and remains in contention for both the steer wrestling and all-around titles. And in the barrel race, Oregon cowgirl, Amberleigh Moore, equaled the arena record with her 13.37 to win the round while former champion, Mary Burger, at 68 years young finished third in the round with a 13.66 to inch closer to her second world title.
Three Canadian champions finished atop the tie down roping leaderboard for the eighth go-round. Sulphur, Louisiana’s Shane Hanchey topped the round with a 6.8 second run; Blackfoot Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa (the reigning Canadian Champ) was second at 7.1 and the new dad from the state of Washington, Tyson Durfey, finished up in third spot with a 7.3.
It was fitting that in the Canada Night finale, it was a Canadian bull, Wayne Vold Rodeo’s Cooper’s Comet, that carried Fruita, Colorado cowboy, Tyler Smith, to an 89 point win in a round that saw only two men able to ride. In two trips at the 2016 WNFR, Cooper’s Comet, the 2016 Canadian Bull of the Year, has been 88.5 and 89 points and his riders, Smith and Roscoe Jarboe have both won the rounds.