Las Vegas, Nevada – Canada Night doesn’t happen until Thursday at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. But apparently the Canadian contingent of WNFR qualifiers either didn’t get the memo or they just plain couldn’t wait.
The first all Canadian team roping team hasn’t just showed up at this Finals, they have been a factor in every round, including a win in round one. Tonight the Alberta twosome, Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and Arrowwood heeler, Jeremy Buhler, had their fastest run to date, a 4.0 to split the round with Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira, each of the four men pocketing $23,480. Simpson and Buhler remain in 2nd place in the average and have moved to 7th and 6th respectively in the world standings.
“We just missed the WNFR field last year,” Simpson commented. “This year, we worked harder at it, put in more practice time and prepared mentally for every situation in the arena.”
That preparation served the Alberta duo well in Round 5. “Like Levi, I don’t get caught up in the show,” Buhler, the man sporting the most famous beard at this NFR added. “I don’t hear the music, I just keep it simple and watch the feet.”
It took Jake Vold 14 WNFR rounds to win his first go round buckle. It took him one to win his second. Twenty four hours after winning round four with a sensational 89.5, the Airdrie (via Ponoka) three time Canadian champion came back with a spectacular 89 score on Hi Lo Pro Rodeo’s Wilson Sanchez. The back to back wins have propelled Vold to 4th place in the average and fifth in the world.
Before the twenty-nine year-old talent nodded his head tonight, there were already three scores of 86 points or higher on the board. No problem for Jake Vold.
“I want someone to jump out there with a 90 so I can go get them,” he confided. “Seeing big rides before me fuels my fire.”
The Calgary Stampede bucking sensation Xplosive Skies lived up to his name as he pitched Manitoba bareback rider Orin Larsen to the Thomas and Mack turf before the eight second klaxon en route to winning the Rank Horse of the Night Award.
And not to be outdone, the three Canadian bronc riders brought their A (Eh!) game with Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott grabbing a 3/4 split – courtesy of his 86.5 ride on Bar T Rodeo’s Son of Sadie. And right behind his countryman was the Hudson Hope, British Columbia man, Jake Watson who took home a 6th place cheque with his 85 score on Stace Smith Rodeo’s Resistol’s Top Hat. Watson has quietly fashioned a solid Finals to date after qualifying in fifteenth spot. He is now five for five and has climbed to third in the average.
The third Canadian bronc rider, recent bridegroom Zeke Thurston was 81 points on the appropriately named Maple Leaf of Frontier Rodeo. The Big Valley cowboy was just out of the money in Round 5. Reigning World Champion, Jacobs Crawley, from Boerne, Texas, bounced back from a Round 4 buck-off to mark a spectacular 89 on Frontier Rodeo’s four time world champion, Medicine Woman. The Monday night go-round also marked the end of 18 year old Ryder Wright’s record-tying run. After four consecutive go-round wins, the Milford, Utah cowboy bucked off Flying 5 Rodeo’s Spring Planting.
Minnesota bull dogger JD Struxness continued his hot streak with a 3.5 second run. Over the last three days, Struxness has two go-round wins and a 1-2 split. In the barrel racing, go-round winner was Keizer, Oregon cowgirl Amberleigh Moore with a 13.62 second run. And in the bull riding, Scottie Knapp of Albuquerque, New Mexico made his first ride of the 2016 WNFR a profitable one. His 87 on Rafter H Rodeo Livestock’s Breaking Bad was good for the go round win.
About the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) with headquarters in Airdrie, Alberta 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) – in early November each year in Edmonton, Alberta at Northlands Coliseum. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram and Snapchat at @prorodeocanada, like Canadian Professional Rodeo Association on Facebook, or online at RodeoCanada.com.
Courtesy of CPRA