Bounce Back Night at CFR ‘49
November 2, 2023 | Red Deer, Alberta
Team ropers, Dawson and Dillon Graham proved once again why they are Champions. The Wainwright, Alberta brothers settled atop the leaderboard on a solid night of roping with a 3.9 second run – just two tenths off the arena record. This after a disappointing first round where the brothers finished out of the money.
“You know you’re not out of it if you have some bad luck,” Dawson noted philosophically. “It’s six rounds and you can make a lot happen in the last five. This is our fourth year here, so we feel pretty at home.” The pair were happy with their second-round cattle draw too. “The steer we had tonight was the one Logan and Keely [Bonnett] won fourth on in round one.” Add the fact that they are competing on the Heading and Heeling Horses of the Year, Dawson on Outlaw and Dillon on Cruz and it’s no surprise to see the athletes enjoy a victory lap.
Of their season in general, which saw header, Dawson end the year 19th in the World and Dillon, 16th with over $87,000 in earnings each, Dillon commented, “We had a great year. We roped well and had a lot of confidence coming into Red Deer. We came in with a game plan and we’re going to stick to it.” Tonight’s success has Dawson in second place in the heading standings just $1300 behind second place roper Tee McLeod with Dillon holding down first in the heeling ranks.
Zeke Thurston’s opening round saddle bronc ride silenced the Peavy Mart Centrium. That’s because the three-time and reigning World and Canadian Champion did something this or any crowd seldom sees. The champ bucked off. But on Bounce Back Thursday, Zeke was riding, and the sell-out crowd was cheering as the champ posted a sensational 87.5 points on a young Calgary Stampede bronc F-53 Flying Carma.
“Yeah, I was after a little redemption after last night,” Thurston acknowledged. “I honestly don’t know what I’d do differently. I thought I did everything right last night and she still got me. But to draw that little horse tonight, Flying Carma, she was really getting it on and I just tried to help her as best I could and I guess it looked pretty good. She’s gonna be around a long time and have a great career and guys are going to win a lot of money on that
The win put Thurston back into the driver’s seat in the race for the Canadian title. In fact, even having dropped out of the average race for the time being, the second-generation bronc rider has the overall lead with second place man, Ben Andersen $6500 back and fifth in the average.
It was pay back night for barrel racer Taylor Manning as well. After a rough start that saw the reigning Champion hit two barrels, the Yellowhead County cowgirl clocked a speedy 13.86 to win the round. Lynette Brodoway maintained her hold on first place overall.
Another cowboy who evened the score on night two was Sundre bull rider, Wyatt Gleeson. The two-time Finals qualifier put his opening night buck-off in the rearview mirror and was 86.75 on Outlaw Buckers’ Afraid to Nod to collect the first place cheque of $9335. The win bumped Gleeson up to sixth in the standings, $25.000 back of season leader Coy Robbins who bucked off his first two bulls at this CFR.
3.9 seconds continued to be the magic number in the steer wrestling event. Three time and defending Champ Scott Guenthner shared the honours with Ponoka bulldogger Chance Butterfield. Season leader Dalton Massey continues to struggle, dropping to second spot – about $10,000 behind Guenthner overall.
Bareback rider Clint Laye demonstrated the consistency that earned the Cadogan, Alta cowboy the 2021 Canadian title and two NFR qualifications. Laye climbed aboard Big Stone Rodeo’s 313 Mayhem for 85.5 and the round two win.
The Smith brothers and their Tie-Down Horse of the Year, Moon, kept it all in the family on night two. While Jason earned the round one win, tonight it was Shane who enjoyed the victory lap after an 8.8 second run.
In the novice bareback, Turin, Alta cowboy Austin Broderson was 74.75 for first while Dylan Young marked 79.75 to earn the top cheque in the novice saddle bronc event. Brooks steer rider Hayden Mulvey picked up first in the junior steer riding with a 78.25 point ride.
CFR ’49 performance three starts at 6:00 pm Nov 3. If you cannot attend the event in person, sign up to follow the action on The Cowboy Channel.
Canadian Finals Rodeo 49 Wraps Up with Record-Breaking Success
As we bid adieu to the exhilarating 49th Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) powered by ATB, we want to extend our heartfelt thanks to the community of Central Alberta and rodeo enthusiasts for their unwavering support throughout this incredible event. This year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in Red Deer shattered all previous records with an astounding 37,000 tickets sold. The highly anticipated Cabaret, featuring a post-rodeo party showcasing the CFR All Star Band of incredibly talented musicians, was a resounding success, drawing in an impressive crowd of 13,000 attendees.
The Ropin’ into the Holiday Market, featuring 99 trade show vendors, added an extra layer of excitement and variety to the CFR experience. Attendees were treated to a diverse array of offerings, from western apparel to equine, making for a memorable shopping experience. This bustling market also drew in community members who may not have been initially there for the rodeo, further enhancing the sense of community engagement and enjoyment.
Apart from the thrilling rodeo action, attendees were also treated to exciting activities free of charge in the CFR Experience Arena throughout all five days of CFR. This included Ultimate Bullfighting and Equine Equus
Experiences, the Miss Rodeo Canada Horsemanship competition, Canadian Championship Dummy Roping, the Futurity Canadian Made Bucking Horse Sale, the H Bar Auctions Horsemanship Show and Sale, and to cap it all off, the Mini Chuckwagons entertained with a morning of races!
In addition to these remarkable achievements, the Rotary Club of Red Deer hosted an electrifying 50/50 event, where one lucky winner walked away with an astonishing $99,537.50 in prize money. These outstanding achievements have solidified this year’s CFR as the event with the highest attendance ever recorded in Red Deer’s CFR history.
None of this would have been possible without the generous support of our sponsors. Their invaluable contributions played a pivotal role in making this year’s CFR an unforgettable experience for all involved. A special thank you is owed to the dedicated staff and volunteers who poured their hearts and souls into crafting an exceptional guest experience. Over 3,000 volunteer hours were logged, with the tireless efforts of 400 volunteers ensuring that every aspect of the event ran seamlessly.
In the spirit of giving back, the Westerner Park team was proud to present a donation of $6,615.00 to the Benevolent Rodeo Fund. This contribution exemplifies our commitment to supporting the rodeo community and its
members in times of need.
For a comprehensive overview of the rodeo results, we invite enthusiasts to visit crfreddeer.com. Here, you can find detailed information on the incredible performances and accomplishments of our talented rodeo
Once again, we extend our deepest gratitude to everyone who played a part in making CFR 49 a resounding success. The combined efforts of the community, sponsors, staff, volunteers, vendors, and attendees have left an indelible mark, and we look forward to building upon this support for future events at Westerner Park.
About Westerner Park
Westerner Park is Central Alberta’s largest tradeshow, agricultural, sports, entertainment, and convention facility. A not-for-profit organization and agricultural society, Westerner Park typically generates $150 million annually in economic activity, hosting over 1,500 events and 1.5 million visitors each year.
2023 Canadian Champions Declared at CFR Red Deer
Photo courtesy CFR: Chantelle Bowman
Red Deer’s Peavey Mart Centrium erupted Sunday when Big Valley, Alta superstar bronc rider, Zeke Thurston clinched his record fourth consecutive saddle bronc riding title. Despite bucking off his first bronc of the five-day Finals, Thurston wasted no time righting the ship, as he won the next three go-rounds. And Sunday was vintage Zeke Thurston as the second- generation talent split the win with an 88.25 point ride on the Calgary Stampede’s T-26 Tokyo Bubbles. The Champion ended the week with $89,186 for a $38,000 margin of victory over second place cowboy, Ben Andersen.
For Thurston, winning the Canadian title never gets old. “I’m as excited to win this one as I was the first one,” he acknowledged. “I think I’m kind of wired that way. I demand excellence in myself, and I want it really bad. I work really hard at it and I guess I believe I was made to be a champion. I think I’ve got some good years left in me and I plan to use ‘em up.”
Wildwood, Alberta’s Logan Hay was the Aggregate Champion with 515.5 points for his six rides.
Five records fell as a result of the brilliant week enjoyed by team ropers Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith. The duo, from Huntley, Montana and Adams, Oregon respectively, went on a remarkable run at CFR ’49 winning the last four rounds in succession (a new record) and placing second in the other two. When the smoke cleared and the dust settled, they had accumulated $62,837 each in CFR earnings and $91,493 in season earnings to easily eclipse both previous records. Their remarkable aggregate time of 24.3 seconds for six runs was also a record. (held previously by Travis Gallais/Rocky Dallyn – 31.3 seconds in 2005)
And it appeared that the two ropers enjoyed their outstanding week as much as the appreciative Red Deer crowds did. “If this isn’t fun, I don’t know what is,” Tryan acknowledged. And in noting that his wife, then Callahan Crossley, won the Canadian Barrel Racing Championship in 2018, he added that she too had four wins and two second-place finishes en route to her Canadian title. “We’ll get to put our (championship) saddles next to each other and that’s pretty cool.”
For Smith, the whole CFR experience was somewhat surreal. He had never had a run under four seconds, and he had two here, a 3.5 on Friday night to set a third new CFR record (this one shared
with Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler) and a 3.9 today.
“I’d never left my own local circuit before this year. But having a chance to rope with Brady and to travel up here to Canada and then make the finals here, that was great. And then to win it, that’s huge.”
The Smith victory celebrations quickly won over the CFR crowds, even those who hadn’t heard of Calgary Smith before this week. They certainly have heard of the 2023 Canadian Team Roping
Another of the more dramatic moments on Championship Sunday at CFR ’49 occurred in the Ladies Barrel Racing. Brooks, Alta’s Lynette Brodoway earned her first Canadian title, but it came down to the final run to get it done. A tipped barrel in round four set the season leader back in the aggregate and despite placing in four of six rounds, Brodoway and her Horse of the Year, SR Boots On Fire or Cowboy, had to bring their A game.
“I just tried to ride Cowboy to the best of my ability and let him do his job,” said the happy cowgirl. “His best run of the whole week was today.”
The pair clocked a 13.61 from the top of the ground to earn the second-place cheque and move up a notch in the aggregate. With a total of $72.831, the six-time CFR qualifier was declared the
Champion. Brodoway looked back on part of the journey that led to today.
“Two years ago, I came into the final day of CFR in the exact same position with Justine Elliott behind me and I hit a barrel. This is the rewarding part right here. I’m not a spring chicken and I want to tell those out there that you’re never too old. I have an amazing support team and Cowboy does too. It’s a victory for all of us.”
CFR rookie, Karli Cowie from Mankota, Sask placed well throughout the Finals, won the last round and the Aggregate (82.82 seconds on six runs), finishing in the reserve position with $59,475, just over $600 ahead of defending Champion Taylor Manning.
Steer wrestler Scott Guenthner enjoyed a solid week at CFR, with two round wins, two seconds and a fourth, along with a second-place finish in the aggregate for an impressive $73,326 in earnings en route to his fourth Canadian title. The likeable Provost, Alta rancher and family man credited consistency throughout the week and dependable horse power (he was mounted on Curtis Cassidy’s award-winning Tyson) as contributing factors to his success.
Season leader, Dalton Massey from Hermiston, OR finished in the reserve position while Wainwright bull dogger, Ty Miller, won the Aggregate title (26.0 seconds even on six runs).
In 2019, a rookie roper named Haven Meged came to his first CFR. He rode out of Red Deer having finished second to four-time champion Shane Hanchey. Meged then went on to with the World title that same year but admitted that he’d always had a dream of winning that Canadian title that had narrowly eluded his grasp. That all changed this week as the Miles City, Montana hand checked that box too with a stellar six performance effort in Red Deer. Meged placed in every go-round, winning two of them along with the Aggregate title (53.8 seconds over six runs) and emerged with a comfortable overall win, including a $33,000 cushion over runner-up Kyle Lucas.
Cadogan, Alta bareback rider, Clint Laye won his second Canadian title as the thirty-year-old (he’ll celebrate that birthday in three weeks) put together a week that saw him win two rounds and the Aggregate (516.5 points for six rides) and finish no worse than third in a round. Laye amassed $90,894 for a $16,000 margin of victory over second place finisher, Orin Hansen.
Another two-time Canadian champion was crowned when crowd-favourite, Edgar Durazo, claimed the winner’s saddle and buckle to go along with his 2019 title. The popular, Mexican-born Durazo went five for six for the week, winning two rounds including the final round. His five scores for the week were 89, 88, 87.5, 87 and 85.75, easily enabling him to take home the Aggregate honour (435.25 points on five rides) and $82,467 on the way to the Canadian win.
Of the 12 women vying for the Ladies Breakaway Roping title, it was Claresholm, Alta cowgirl, Shaya Biever, who was named 2023 Champion and Aggregate winner (7.6 seconds on three runs) after three rounds of competition. The two-time CFR qualifier posted a 2.5, a 2.3 and a 2.8 to earn almost $14,000 at CFR and $32,444 overall. Season leader, Aubrey Ross finished in the reserve position, just $2000 behind Biever.
Logan Spady was named the All Around Champion. The tie-down roper/team roping heeler clinched the title with his Sunday performance at CFR – a 4.6 second run with partner Kolton Schmidt which netted the pair second in the round and second in the Aggregate.
Kyle Wanchuk captured the coveted Kenny McLean award with his regular season success in both team roping heeling (with partner Luke Skocdopole) and saddle bronc riding. This is the second year the award has been presented.
Stock of the Canadian Finals Rodeo:
Bareback: 118 OLS Tubs Stevie Knicks – Macza Pro Rodeo
Saddle Bronc: W-16 Wild Cherry – Calgary Stampede
Bull: 88 Blue Magic – Outlaw Buckers
Hayden Mulvey was declared the 2023 Canadian Junior Steer Riding Champion at the Saturday matinee performance with $7763 in earnings, $330 more than second place finisher Joseph Vansandt who won the Aggregate.
Janet Cooper from Vernon, BC won the Novice Saddle Bronc Championship while Chetwynd, BC cowboy, Chase Siemens, earned the Novice Bareback titile.
The prestigious 2023 CPRA Cowboy of the Year award, sponsored by Legend Rodeo, was presented to Tanner Girletz – 2006 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, youth rodeo coach and CPRA Rodeo Administrator.
And Miss Ponoka Stampede, Kaylee Shantz, was crowned Miss Rodeo Canada 2024.
Go to rodeocanada.com for Canadian Finals Rodeo results.
Check out www.cfrreddeer.ca/ for additional event details.
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