Dec 10, 2020, Maple Creek, SK
He played right into my hand.
After I finished compiling my story for the Round 7 results I turned on the TV. There was Steve Kenyon talking about the ongoing battle in the Bareback Riding. I’m paraphrasing now but basically, he said, “Tim O’Connell and Kaycee Field are standing toe to toe, slugging it out. I’m afraid it’s going to come down to the draw, one guy gets an 18 horse, the other has a 22.” Think about it, that’s a 4-point spread but that’s 8 points on the score. I just thought. Boy, did he ever play into my hand.
Here’s what I had written:
It’s hard to match up 15 bucking horses. In recent years, the rough stock pens at the NFR have really been even. They took the luck of the draw right out of it; it was a riding contest and may the best man win. With many of the stock contractors and several independent ranchers engaged in wildly successful breeding programs, it was getting better each year.
This year the drawing contest is back. Each night there has been horses used that couldn’t possibly be placed on. It’s no one’s fault, it’s a spin-off from the virus that crippled the country. Hundreds of rodeos were cancelled, so the up-and-coming broncs never logged enough trips to prove they deserved an NFR hip tag. Instead, the selection crews chose to take ‘Old Faithful’ for one more year. Unfortunately, some of those old campaigners have lost a step and it shows. It’s the same principle whether it’s a cowherd or a professional baseball team. Without young blood, the operation ‘gets old’ in a hurry.
The fly in the ointment is the current austerity program on the awarding of re-rides, as I wrote earlier, there’s five of them standing there each night.
Now to the results:
Manitoba’s Orin Larsen put on a clinic when he finally drew a rank one. He cashed in with a flawless 90-point ride. He was matched with Calgary’s outstanding bareback horse Y-92 Yippee Kibitz who’d been in the re-ride pen for Round 2. Richie Champion won 5th with an 81.5 on Big Stone’s 313 Mayhem.
Later in the evening, at the Go-Round Buckle ceremony, Orin had his wife Alexa and his parents Kevin and Wanda on stage with him. The proud parents were holding a Canadian flag between them. Of course, the Calgary crew (Keith Marrington introduced ranch manager Tyler Kraft and his wife Vanessa along with Ken ‘Goose’ Rehill) was also on stage to receive the Stampede’s trophy buckle.
In the doggin’ Curtis Cassidy’s famed horse Tyson packed Matt Reeves to a 4/5 split with a 3.9 and Blake Knowles to a split of 6th with a 4.0. Jesse Brown was 4.1 and Curtis was 14,2 (4.2 with a barrier penalty).
Kolton Schmidt and partner Hunter Koch put together a 4.4 for a 3rd place cheque in the Team Roping. Levi Simpson’s heeler came up empty for a no time.
Stetson Wright won the Saddle Bronc Riding on Hi Lo Rodeo’s 010 Larry Culpepper. Zeke Thurston spurred out an 88-point score for third place. Wyatt Casper split 6th with his 85.5 point ride on Y-15 Y U R Frisky, another Calgary horse that watched the second round from the re-ride pen. At the Go-Round Buckle ceremony, the Hi Lo rep said they had acquired Larry Culpepper “from Art Francis up in Canada four or five years ago.” Good on ya, Art, Shawn-Boy and Marnie-Jo; maybe you can talk him out of that buckle.
In the Tie-Down Roping Hunter Herrin tied the arena record with a 6.8 for the victory. Shane Hanchey riding Logan Bird’s horse T.J. placed 5th with a 7.9 and still leads the average.
For the second night in a row, Emily Miller was victorious and tonight she set the arena record with a blazing 16.85.
Stetson Wright won his second Go-Round buckle of the night in the Bull Riding. Outlaw Buckers 269 Fish Camp along with Big Stone’s W20 War Cry and 35 Spotted Demon all dusted their riders. Colour man Donnie Gay talked of the 12-year-old 313 Spotted Demon being retired and hopefully finding some girlfriends.
I’ll post the draw when I get it, it should be ‘the eliminators’ in the bronc riding.
Watch the WNFR Round 7 Highlights here!