Calgary – A returning champion set the pace as Pool B contestants began their competition at the Calgary Stampede. Steven Peebles of Redmond, Oregon made his last ride in a muddy Stampede infield one year ago, when he emerged from a ride-off on Showdown Sunday as the bareback champion. So it was only fitting for conditions to be a little sloppy to welcome him back. It was evident he felt right at home, tapping out a 90.5 point ride on a young Calgary Stampede horse called Yipee Kibitz.
“They say a good horse is half your score and that’s every bit of it,” said the Oregon cowboy. “I didn’t know that horse, but I knew Calgary’s young horses are all really good. When I asked around, everybody was telling me that horse was super awesome. So I just went in with that attitude.” Peebles is a regular comeback kid. His first horse last year in Calgary, which he also won on, was the first horse he’d been on in months, as he’d been recovering from serious back injuries. This year he’s also spent time in surgery and away from rodeo, but came back to post his best Cowboy Christmas ever. He now leads Pool B at the Stampede with his $5500 initial earnings.
Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa is one of those competitors familiar with Calgary and with roping in the mud on the rodeo trail. “We got to experience that last year here. That was a blast. Really, it’s a beautiful day. Rain or shine, we’re happy to be in Calgary,” insisted the always optimistic tie-down roper. Shiozawa had confidence in his good horse Chuck, and the two of them teamed up for a smooth 7.3 second run, to claim the first day’s treasures of $5500 and a bronze.
Bray Armes set a blistering pace for the steer wrestlers. As the first contestant to run, the Texan made short work of his time in the mud, getting the job done in 3.7 seconds, for first place in Pool B with $5500.
“I’ve always done good, it seems like, when I go first. I’m not trying to beat anybody else. You just back in there and do your best, and see what everybody else does.”
“Calgary’s crew does such a great job taking care of the ground, so even with all the rain, their ground is great. So (mud) is no big deal here.”
Lisa Lockhart is happy to have her good horse Louis back running after some surgery recovery time, and it’s clear he’s ready to run, posting a time of 17.68 seconds to win the barrel racing, giving Lockhart $5500 to lead Pool B.
“It still feels a little rusty, like our timing is not there,” admitted Lockhart, from South Dakota. “Honestly, it didn’t feel that good today, so I’m absolutely surprised and thrilled that we clocked what we did. I’ll take it!”
Another Stampede veteran, J.B. Mauney was obviously back in his happy place, as he rode the bull Bomb Shell to 88 points for first place, $5500 and another trophy bronze to add to his collection.
The saddle bronc riding round isn’t complete, with one re-ride yet to go. But Jacobs Crawley of Texas is in the driver’s seat after posting an 86.5 on the great Kesler stud Spanish Pair.
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
See more at calgarystampede.com