By: Dwayne Erickson
There were four top bucking horses standing in the chutes on Monday night for the bareback riding bonus round at the Ponoka Stampede.
Three of them were well known — Special Delivery, Stampede Warrior and Princess Warrior, all from the Calgary Stampede.
The other was a blue gelding named Make Up Face and he’d never been seen in a rodeo north of the border.
Canadian champion Dusty LaValley said he’d be happy if he drew the six-year-old, owned by Lac La Biche stock contractor Vern McDonald.
That despite the fact he’d just won the Daines ranch rodeo on the bay stud Special Delivery at Innisfail three weeks ago.
Well, as the random draw would have it, he drew the unknown.
“I’d heard great things about this Make Up Face and I’d never seen him,” LaValley said. “And I was a little bit nervous to be honest with you.”
What he was told was the horse was pretty bucky and kicked so high that he hit his riders in the back and throw them over the front.
“I was ready for that,” said the champion. “I tried to be really strong with my spurs and feet and get a good hold in the neck, especially for the first couple of jumps out of there.”
The high leaper kicked and curled around to the left, drawing a roar from the crowd.
“He felt just frickin’ outstanding and I had a blast out there,” bobbled LaValley.
So much fun that he put himself in the Ponoka history book with an arena record 90 points. Three-time world and Calgary Stampede champion Texan Will Lowe was second with an 88 on Special Delivery.
LaValley, who earlier in the day split second in the championship round and first in the aggregate, picked up an addition $5,000 in the bonus round for a total of $15,151.
It’ll carry him 20th to inside the top six in the world standings.
“I’m entered up like crazy, one every day until I get to the Calgary Stampede on Tuesday of next week,” he said. “And we’ve got a bunch of good horses coming up so were all excited.”
He’s travelling with Ponoka’s Jake Vold and Kevin Langevin from Saskatchewan.
Five of the seven $5,000 bonus payouts went to Canadians.
Tanner Milan, from Cochrane, topped the steer wrestling with a 5.0 second run. Like LaValley, he also won the aggregate earlier in the day to take home a total of $14,193.
Denver Daines won the biggest rodeo of his career with an 84-point ride on the Calgary Stampede’s former Canadian champion Lynx Mountain in the saddle bronc riding bonus round.
It rounded out an $11,000 payday for him.
Clay Ullery and Riley Wilson topped the duos in the team roping with a 5.6 second run to collected $2,500 apiece.
The bull riding was split between Saskatchewan’s Dakota Buttar, B.C.’s Ty Pozzobon, Cochrane’s Jody Turner and Strathmore’s Scott Schiffner.
None of them managed to go the full eight seconds. As a result they each collected $2,500 but it’s considered ground money and won’t count in the Canadian standings.
World standings leader Carlee Pierce captured the barrel racing ($14,544) and Clif Cooper the calf roping ($7,656).
Source: Calgary Herald