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July 4, 2017 - It was a great day to be a Vold… and it was a great day to be a grey horse.
On an occasion that celebrated the life of the late rodeo icon Harry Vold, the Duke of the Chutes’ grand-nephew Jake Vold capped off a tremendous Canada Day weekend with a spectacular 88.75 point ride on (uncle) Wayne Vold’s superstar grey - Mucho Dinero - to capture the final four Showdown win at the 81st Ponoka Stampede.
The two had met twice before with similar success both times although Vold conceded, “This might be his best trip ever with me on him.” Vold, who was 20th in the world going into the weekend’s action, earned $17,579 at his former hometown rodeo. The thirty year-old also split 4-6 at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo (a venue celebrating fifty years of rodeo) and added a 4th place cheque at the 91st Williams Lake Stampede for a weekend haul of $20,355. Vold’s winnings almost doubled his season earnings total to date and should vault him to his customary spot atop the Canadian standings and into the top 15 in the world standings for the first time this year.
Vold had begun the day with a whopping 90.75 point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Virgil (also grey and also a rematch) to win the short round and set the stage for his classic matchup with Mucho Dinero.
“I didn’t really have a favourite going into the Showdown but I was pretty excited when I drew him,” Vold commented. “He was phenomenal. He stayed underneath himself and he didn’t scoot very far. I messed up a little bit and spurred over his neck once but you just have to really go after it every jump. I thought we finished really strong and I was lucky enough to win it.”
The three-time and reigning Canadian title holder was excited to win his second Ponoka Stampede on a day that his great-uncle Harry was honoured. “Winning Ponoka is so special but with the tribute and everything, it made it really exciting to win this one.”
Next up for Vold will be the first pool of the Calgary Stampede. A busy two months follow the Stampede as last year’s reserve World champ will hit the rodeo trail hard, hoping to maybe move up that one notch come the end of the 2017 season.
The trio of 2016 Canadian World Champions also feasted on Ponoka hospitality. Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston enjoyed Northcott Macza’s three time Canadian Champion saddle bronc Get Smart to the tune of 87.75 in the Showdown for an $11,000 payday while Ponoka’s Levi Simpson on the heading side and Arrowwood heeler Jeremy Buhler parlayed a 6.0 second Showdown run into a $7000 plus pay off per man.
Meeting Creek bronc rider, Layton Green actually topped Thurston in terms of money won as he pocketed $16,289 winning both the long go and the short go and the average at Ponoka, then finishing up second in the Showdown and adding a 4/5 split at Williams Lake.
Other big money earners during the lucrative trio of Canada Day celebrations included bull riders Garrett Smith and Jordan Hansen. Smith, the Rexburg, Idaho cowboy who is the number one man in the world standings, padded his lead with a $16,516 haul—all at Ponoka despite bucking off in the Showdown as did all four qualifiers. Hansen, the reigning Canadian champion took a big step toward punching his ticket to Las Vegas with a win at the Airdrie event with 169.5 on two head including an 87 point ride on Outlaw Buckers’ sensational Buckington. The Calgary cowboy added big cheques at both Ponoka and Williams Lake for a $12,453 weekend and a big-time leg up on Cowboy Christmas that now shifts to south of the 49th parallel. Hansen is currently in the lead at Mollalla, Oregon with an 85 score. That event and several others end today.
Aldergrove, BC barrel racer, Carman Pozzobon, tucked a tidy $16,539 into her bank account after winning the short go, the average and the Showdown at Ponoka and adding an eighth place finish at Williams Lake in a game-changing weekend for the 2016 CFR qualifier on her six year-old buckskin, Ripp.
For complete Canada weekend results go to rodeocanada.com
Next CPRA rodeo action will take place this weekend at Coronation and Benalto. The Coronation Pro Rodeo will have two performances—Friday, July 7 and Saturday, July 8 while the Benalto Fair and Stampede stages three performances Friday, July 7 through Sunday July 9.