STRATHMORE, Alberta – It was a day that saddle bronc rider Rylan Geiger figures to enjoy a good deal more in retrospect, like when his neck and back stop hurting.
The Wayne Vold horse Pedro made contact with the chute post when the gate swung open for the short go and a strong move to the right snapped Geiger’s head back and wrenched his back. It looked pretty much like a guaranteed re-ride, but Geiger gritted his teeth and battled to see the thing through, none too sure that getting on another horse was really an option.
Spurring furiously across the arena on the three-time Wrangler National Finals Rodeo horse, Geiger earned a score of 88.5 points to win the round, the average title and $7,718 in cold hard cash Aug. 4 at the Strathmore Stampede.
“I don’t know really what happened,” Geiger told the Calgary Herald. “It just happened so fast. He hit the front of the chute, and I remember the first jump out he popped my chin so hard. It felt like he folded me inside out.”
Geiger was in too much pain to climb the steps to the stage to be presented with his championship awards – he sent a proxy – and after being looked over in the sports medicine trailer and getting an X-ray to make sure he hadn’t fractured a vertebrae, he hitched a ride back to his rig on a Gator, ice bag in tow.
“They’re not too sure (what it is),” Geiger said. “They just said go for X-rays. I might’ve broke something off the vertebrae, maybe. They just said go get it checked out. It shouldn’t be a big deal, only three weeks off if it is.”
Still, on balance, it was a very good day. Nothing ended up broken and the money earned here took him from 24th in the Windham Weaponry High Performance PRCA World Standings to a spot inside the top 20.
The defending Canadian National Finals champion managed a clean sweep at the Strathmore Rodeo grounds. Geiger won the first round with an 87.75-point ride on Northcott Rodeo’s Get Smart – a four-time WNFR selection – and with his 88.5 on Pedro, he ended up with a total of 176.25 to win the average by 6.5 points over runner-up Cort Scheer.
The other champions at the Strathmore Stampede were bareback rider R.C. Landingham (173.5 points on two head), steer wrestler Dru Melvin (7.9 seconds on two head), team ropers Jeremy Buhler and Rhen Richard (10.2 seconds on two head), tie-down roper Clint Robinson (16.5 seconds on two head), bull rider Tyler Thomson (172.75 points on two head) and barrel racer Rebecca Paradis (35.361 seconds on two runs).