Airdrie, ALTA – May 24, 2017 – It was a three hour ride that just might have turned a season around for team ropers Clay Ullery and Riley Wilson.
The pair were on their way from Redding, California to the rodeo in Hayword. “It was ‘gut check’ time,” Wilson admitted. “We spent that whole time just talking about ways to tweak our runs, not drastic changes, just ways to be more consistent. It felt like we were always four or five tenths too long. We’d be 5.9 for last hole or just out of the money when 5.4 or 5.5 would have won second or third.”
The strategy session paid instant dividends as Ullery and Wilson were 4.8 to split 2/3 at the Rowell Ranch Rodeo in Hayward, then followed that with a 3.9 second run to win the team roping at the recently completed 99th annual Falkland Stampede earning $1199 each. “That was our fastest pro run together though we’ve been quicker at a couple of other places,” the veteran Cardston heeler noted. For Wilson and his 24 year old header, the turnaround comes at a perfect time.
“Both of us have our sights set on getting back to the CFR and making it to Las Vegas (WNFR) as well,” he added. “The great thing about what happened last year (the world team roping title captured by Canadians Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler coupled with the success of Kolton Schmidt) is that the impossible isn’t impossible anymore. Not a lot of people thought those guys could win the world but they did and that just raises the bar a little higher. Who’s to say we can’t do it twice in a row?”
The second generation roper is no stranger to success on either side of the 49th parallel. Last year’s Canadian Finals Rodeo appearance marked his 12th time to Edmonton, and last fall, he captured the USTRC #15 title in Oklahoma City, a (first time for a Canadian) win that netted him a cool $50,000. “That money bought me a trailer and some Corriente cattle… and really helped set up my year.”
The three-time CPRA season leader credits two things with the success he’s been enjoying of late. One was the life-changing decision in the fall of 2015 to quit drinking. “Everything about my life is better since then… including my roping.” The second positive factor is his partner since just after Ponoka last year. That’s when Wilson and Ullery re-united.
“Clay is just a great kid. He has a tremendous attitude, loves to joke around and there is nobody who works harder at this than he does. He knows, just like I do, that there are so many guys out there with the same amount of talent and that to win consistently, it comes down to who is toughest mentally.” The Two Hills, Alberta header rides Peggy Sue – the 2016 Heading Horse of the Year (first mare to receive that award). “Clay’s had a few offers of big dollars for his mare but he knows that selling her might be the end of the dream.”
Wilson and Ullery are planning to make the miles for the balance of the season. “A lot of weeks, we’ll be roping on both sides of the border but we’re both willing to do whatever it takes.” Wilson stated. And both men are confident that their California team meeting will continue to harvest big rewards.
Other Falkland Stampede winners included Regina, Saskatchewan’s Ty Taypotat who made a successful return to the arena after an injury-plagued 2016; he was 86 points on Northcott-Macza’s bareback horse Call Me Kindra for $1246. Former all-around champion, Travis Reay (Mayerthorpe, AB), won the steer wrestling with a 4.0 second run for $1751 while the tie-down roping win went to veteran Alwin Bouchard who roped in 7.8 seconds to pocket $1730. Meeting Creek, AB’s Layton Green marked 83.5 points on Northcott-Macza’s Black Mamba to win the saddle bronc event and Rexburg, Idaho bull rider, Garrett Smith, earned top money aboard Northcott-Macza’s Spitt N Image with an 85.5 ($1379). The barrel racing title stayed in BC with Shalayne Lewis from Vernon running a 16.499 for a $1485 payday. Kolby Wanchuk picked up the novice saddle bronc win (78 points, $365); Mason Hilmeczi earned top honours in the novice bareback event (70.5 points, $256) and Quade Hughson rode his steer for 69 points to win the steer riding and $301.
After a week off, CPRA contestants will keep busy with four events scheduled for the first weekend in June: Wildwood Bronc Bustin’, Leduc Black Gold Rodeo, Grande Prairie Stompede and Hand Hills Lake Stampede.For complete Falkland results and CPRA rodeo schedule, go to rodeocanada.com
The non-sanctioned Invitational Cloverdale Rodeo was staged on the long weekend as well with Canadians taking home three of four titles. The unstopable Scott Schiffner added yet another laurel to his already impressive list winning the Cloverdale title and $54,000. Taypotat topped the Cloverdale bareback field to add another $22,000 plus to his weekend haul while barrel racer, Kirsty White, teamed up with her tremendous mare, Racey, for the $24,000 win. In the saddle bronc riding, Cort Scheer of Elsmere, Nebraska enjoyed a $22,000 payday.
Unfortunately, the news was not as good for 2012 Canadian Champion saddle bronc rider, Luke Butterfield, who suffered a broken leg while competing at Cloverdale.
About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alta. is the sanctioning body for professional rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves over 50 events annually with a total payout exceeding $5.1 million. Join us for our premiere event – the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) November 8-12, 2017 at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton, Alberta. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.
Courtesy of CPRA