Caleb Bennett tops in CFR bareback for second night in a row

CURTIS STOCK, EDMONTON JOURNAL
More from Curtis Stock, Edmonton Journal

Published on: November 12, 2015 | Last Updated: November 12, 2015 10:36 PM MST

Back to back.

Just as he did on Wednesday night, Utah’s Caleb Bennett took Thursday’s second go-round of the Canadian Finals rodeo.

And just as he did Wednesday, Bennett had the right horse.

After drawing the money-making machine Starburst on opening night, Bennett had probably the pick of the eliminator pen when he drew Bar C5 Rodeo’s big, white Virgil on Thursday and spurred out 88 points.

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“I had that horse in the short go in Ponoka, but I got bucked off at the seven-second mark. If I would have finished him off I would have been 90 and won the whole deal,” said Bennett, who got his revenge at Rexall Place.

As well as having some past performances to go on, Bennett also had a little inside information given that his travelling partner, Clint Laye, won $100,000 on Virgil winning this past summer’s Calgary Stampede. Like Bennett, Laye was also 88 points on Virgil.

“You bet we talked,” said Bennett, who is headed to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas for the fourth straight year next month.

“It’s hard to make a game plan on horses but there were some little things we talked about, like starting him off strong and then finishing him strong.

“Virgil is the whole package. He’s got the size. He’s got the strength and he’s got the athleticism. I knew he packed a huge punch. I just had to punch harder. One wrong move and you are gone. One mistake and he will throw you to the ground.”

Bennett, however, made no mistakes, even when Virgil made a hard left turn three-quarters of the way into the eight-second ride.

While Bennett has now picked up almost $25,000 in two nights of work, he still trails Airdrie’s overall leader Jake Vold by $15,340.

Money won at the CFR is added to money won during the regular season to determine the rodeo champions of Canada.

Another cowboy drawing well was saddle bronc rider Sam Kelts, who teamed up with two-time Canadian horse of the year Get Smart to spur out 87¾ points to win the round.

Even more than Bennett, Kelts has had a long history with his draw.

“I was just adding it up and I think I’ve drawn him six times. I’ve ridden him three times and won every time I got him rode,” said Kelts.

“The other three times? Car killed. It’s been pretty much all or nothing.

“For a little horse he’s really strong.”

In steer wrestling — on a night when his father Greg was recognized for his recent induction into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame — Cody Cassidy emerged with a time of 4.4 seconds to take top spot.

“Obviously when you win a go round you have to have a decent steer. He didn’t run too hard, though he did try and get away from me a little bit,” said Cassidy.

“I got a good start and caught up so fast I knew I had a decent time but he didn’t lay over as fast as I would have liked; I was hoping to be a little faster than I was.”

Cassidy brought a pair of veteran horses with him for Thursday’s run: his 17-year-old steer wrestling horse, Casper, and his 20-year-old hazing horse, Cash – the latter having hardly been used all year.

“It’s pretty neat to have them cracked out again and feeling good.

“I used Casper on and off throughout the year, but Cash has pretty much been in semi-retirement.”

cstock@edmontonjournal.com


Morgan Grant competes in the steer wrestling event on Day 2 of the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Rexall Place in Edmonton on November 12, 2015. RYAN JACKSON / EDMONTON JOURNAL

 

LEADERBOARD

Thursday’s second-round results of the Canadian Finals Rodeo:

Bareback Riding –  Caleb Bennett, Tremonton, Utah 88 points

Steer Wrestling – Curtis Cassidy, Donalda, Alta., 4.4 seconds.

Team Roping – Roland McFadden, Vulcan, Alta., and Tyrel Flewelling, Lacombe, 5.0

Saddle Bronc Riding – Sam Kelts, Millarville, Alta.,  87¾ points

Tie-down Roping – Logan Hofer, Magrath, Alta., 7.5 seconds

Barrel Racing – Cayla Melby, Burneyville, OK, 14.713 seconds

Bull Riding – Scott Schiffner, Strathmore, Alta., 86 1/2 points

 

Bareback rider Kevin Langevin riding hurt at the Canadian Finals Rodeo

Bareback rider Kevin Langevin reacts as sports therapists tape ice on his ribs before Day 2 of the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Rexall Place in Edmonton on Nov. 12, 2015. Langevin broke six ribs, contused his lung and nearly destroyed one of his kidneys at a rodeo in Olds seven weeks ago. RYAN JACKSON / EDMONTON JOURNAL

CURTIS STOCK, EDMONTON JOURNAL
More from Curtis Stock, Edmonton Journal

Published on: November 12, 2015 | Last Updated: November 12, 2015 8:02 PM MST

Bareback rider Kevin Langevin probably shouldn’t be competing this week at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

A horse stepped on his back seven weeks ago at the Olds Rodeo, breaking six ribs, injuring a lung, and “pretty much destroying one of my kidneys.

“I lacerated it pretty good. For a while, they weren’t even sure I was going to be able to keep the kidney,” said Langevin, who got bucked off early in Thursday night’s second go-round. “I’ve got to quit giving horses piggyback rides.”

But Langevin, who spent four days at University Hospital, then had to sleep sitting up for two weeks, has come too far to qu

“I’ve only qualified for one other CFR and that was back in 2010,” said the 32-year-old Bonnyville cowboy, who had three bags of ice strapped to his body as he talked prior to Thursday night’s second performance of the CFR.

The rest was mostly heartache.

“Last year, I had to sit out the entire year completely because I tore the AC joint in my shoulder.

“Five or six other times I missed qualifying by less than $1,000. In my novice year, I missed by $500 and two other years I missed by less than $200. So it means a lot to me to finally be back competing at the CFR.

“It’s not like I’m putting my health on the line. It’s not life-threatening. It just means that I’m riding pretty sore. I’ve cleared it with all the doctors.”

Langevin certainly deserves to be at the CFR. Not only did he make the 12-man roster — albeit getting the final spot based on earnings through the regular season — but he had his best year ever, winning $12,487.

Just how well Langevin rode this year is evident. From the start of the year until the first week in August, Langevin never scored less than 80 points on any of his 20 bucking horses.

“I’m pretty proud about that,” said Langevin, who also ranches and is the Aboriginal Business Development Co-ordinator for Sterling Oilfield Solutions.

He’s also proud of making it back to the CFR.

“Every year that is the goal and the dream. It was my riding that got me here and that makes me feel good. I earned it. I fought through the trenches. It’s been a rocky road, but that’s the risk you take when you indulge in this sport. Rodeo comes with great victories, but it also comes with heart aches and pains — physically and emotionally.

“Rodeo can break your heart as well as your body.”

cstock@edmontonjournal.com

Twitter.com/CurtisJStock