It’s hard to believe that, just a few short weeks ago, no one knew if there was even going to BE a Finals. Then, with a full year’s gap from the last CFR, a bunch of new staff, a greatly-reduced budget, and almost NO warning, the CFR Committee at Westerner Park in Red Deer pulled off one of the greatest Canadian Finals Rodeo we’ve seen in years.
Hats off to the organizers, the volunteers, the sponsors and particularly the communications manager Tracy Kelly of Westerner Park, who was an enthusiastic help to myself and probably hundreds more.
I understand that the seats were sold out the last day. In a gleeful way, I think that having a seat was almost a waste of upholstery because the fans spent the afternoon either on the edge of their seats or jumping up and cheering throughout so many moments this afternoon. It truly was one of the greatest CFRs we’ve had in years.
So I will be posting the day sheets for each event so you can see how your hometown heroes did throughout the competition.
Things I loved about 2021 CFR:
Barrel Racing went first
Everyone understands a horse race, and it is also when the freshly groomed ground is at its best.
Maybe it was a pandemic decision, but with no break in the action, there was no loss of momentum in crowd enthusiasm, either in the seats or watching on TV.
What an exciting event! I know that currently, it’s not considered a major event that must be included in a pro rodeo, but I’ll bet that rodeo committees were paying attention to the crowd’s reaction and the influx of new fans because of this sizzling-fast sport. Plus, it’s one more event for the ladies.
The three voted in, Brett Monea, Ty Prescott and Kris Buffalo were simply outstanding, and everyone was able to go home, thanks to the bravery, training and athleticism of these three top athletes.
The thing I Disliked About 2021 CFR:
I was not there in person. I watched it all on FloRodeo here in Maple Creek. But I yelled and hollered and clapped and jumped up so many times I think the cat ran away from home.
So here’s how it all shook out:
Barrel Racing: Transplanted Texan Shelby Spielman won the round with a 14.05-sec run, and Justine Elliott of Lacombe was declared the 2021 Canadian Barrel Racing Champion. She also won the Average.
Bareback: Transplanted Australian Strawbs Jones won the round with an exciting trip on Outlaw Buckers C19 Free Shipping. Saskatchewan-born Ty Taypotat won the Average with 511 pts on six head, and it was veteran CFR & NFR competitor Clint Laye of Cadogan who was declared the Canadian Champion Bareback Rider.
Steer Wrestling: No bones about it — the star of the steer wrestling was Curtis Cassidy’s horse, Tyson. Harley Cole and Cody Cassidy (on Tyson) tied for the round. Manitoba’s Ty Miller won the Average (on Tyson), and the 2021 Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion for the sixth time is Cody Cassidy (on Tyson). By winning this title, it ties Cody with Bud Butterfield for winning the most SW titles ever.
Team Roping: Steele DePaoli and Riley Warren won the round with a run of 5.0-secs. Clay Ullery of Valleyview and Tyce McLeod of Waldeck, Sask., were double champions, winning both the Aggregate and the 2021 Team Roping buckles and saddles.
Saddle Bronc: Kole Ashbacher of Arrowwood won today’s round with an 86.75 score on Calgary’s S-66 Stampede Warrior. It was Big Valley’s pride, Zeke Thurston, who earned both the Average and the Canadian Saddle Bronc Championship for the second time. I’m sure he’ll carry this momentum to Vegas.
Breakaway: Kendal Pierson, who has personally put Wardlow, Alta., on the map, won all three rounds and the Canadian Breakaway Championship.
Tie-Down Roping: It was Riley Warren of Sundre who can lay claim to the championship after winning both the High Point Award and the Canadian Tie-Down Roping title. Just for fun, he also won the Aggregate in TDR.
Bull Riding: My friend (I’ll call him that forever now) Jared Parsonage of Maple Creek, Sask., was also a triple winner, winning the Aggregate, the Canadian Bull Riding Championship and, just for fun, the rancher also won the All-Around.
Bucking Stock Awards: Calgary Stampede Ranch was a big winner in the Stock of the CFR Awards when A-91 Agent Lynx was named the Best Bareback, and W-16 Wild Cherry was named the Best Saddle Bronc. Best Bull was Sawyer’s 5 Train Wreck.