Maple Leaf Circuit Finals!

We celebrated Night One of the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals with a moving ceremony of jingle dress dancers, men’s fancy dancers, singers, drummers and a hoop dancer who did the best impression of a barrel racer that I’ve ever seen!

What is the Circuit Finals, you ask? The Professional Rodeo Cowboys Assoc., has 12 regions in the U.S. divided into circuits, plus Canada has one circuit, and Mexico has one — for a total of 14 circuits.

Each year, the season leader from each circuit and the Finals winner from each circuit earn the right to compete for the National Circuit Championship, which will be held at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo near Colorado Springs, CO., July 13–16, 2022. (Unfortunately, also the final weekend of the Calgary Stampede, so someone might have a tough decision to make…)

The NFR Open, formerly titled the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo, is the most prestigious rodeo under the PRCA circuit system and will feature two contestants in each event from each of the 12 U.S. circuits, plus Canada and Mexico, bringing more than 200 contestants to the Norris-Penrose Event Center for five competition rounds over the four days.

Here, twenty rodeos in Canada are designated as Circuit Rodeos, such as Teepee Creek, Alta, Kennedy, Sask, Cranbrook, B.C., and Benalto, Alta., among others.

The Maple Leaf Circuit Finals Rodeo held at Agribition in Regina, Sask., has four go-rounds — meaning each contestant will go four times, and the combined results will determine the Champion.

The action started with a bang as local and national favourite Ty Taypotat of Regina, Sask., won the Bareback with a score of 89.5 on C5 Rodeo’s # 20 Sunday Sinner.

Announcer Tim Edge was plumb excited when Kody Lamb of Sherwood Park, Alta., scored 83 pts on John Duffy’s #13 Blue Bananas with a terrific ride.

Perennial superstars Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Alta., and his superstar horse, Tyson, slammed one in 3.5-sec’s in steer wrestling. How tight was the race? Layne Delemont of Chauvin, Alta., and Ty Miller of Wainwright tied at 3.6-sec’s. I imagine that Curtis and Tyson will be heading straight to Nevada after this rodeo for the bright lights of ‘Vegas to compete in the NFR.

Then it was another nail-biter of a race in team roping. Riley Warren and Steele DePaoli stretched one out in 5 sec’s flat. Dillon Graham and Dawson Graham got the flag at 5.1-sec, and Logan Spady and Kash Bonnet were 5.2-sec’s. It was some great roping action.

Veteran Sam Kelts of Stavely, Alta., topped the saddle bronc riders with an 83-pt ride on C5 Rodeo’s 5206 Shattered Valley. Lucas Macza of High River, Alta., trailed by one point with his 82 on C5’s 184 High Valley.

Barrel racing saw Texan Shelby Spielman win the first night of the Finals with her time of 13.75-sec’s. Canada’s Brand New Champion Justine Elliott tied for second with Lisa Zachoda with their identical time of 13.92-sec’s.

In tie down roping, Jason Smith and Logan Bird tied at 8.9 seconds. I apologize for not including TDR in my initial report, but when Logan rode into the box, we started talking about the tragic loss of his million-dollar horse, TJ, and how the death of that horse will affect the World standings, and I plumb skipped over reporting the TDR, so I’m sorry.

Breakaway made its debut, and just like the event, the calves were spic and span, shiny and fast, fast, fast as Bailey Hines got the inaugural win with her time of 2.74-sec’s. Jenna Dallyn earned second with her time of 3.10-sec’s. I’ll say it again; those calves sure looked nice! And may I add an atta-girl to Kylie Whiteside for winning fourth place, and putting on a fine bronc ride at the same time.

Then the final event, bull riding, saw some terrific spinning action as Tanner Eno of Coronation topped the field with 85.5-pts on Vold’s 02 Power Play. Newly-crowned Canadian Champion Jared Parsonage and Griffin Smeltzer split two/three with 83-pts.

And I’ll give a shout out to ten-time Rodeo Entertainer of the Year Dennis Halstead, who was in fine voice tonight.

Go-Round Two goes tomorrow at 7 p.m. Maple Creek Central Time and is live-streamed on FloRodeo. Catch all the action!