On Wildcard Saturday, two more Canadians earned a spot in the richest day in rodeo – Showdown Sunday at the Calgary Stampede.
Tie-down roper Logan Bird is competing at his first Stampede. He came out early on Saturday and roped a calf in 7.9 seconds, then had to wait the round to see if he’d been fast enough to move on.
“Watching the last nine guys go, the best in the world, is not an easy thing,” admitted Bird, who’s from Nanton. In the end, only Texan Cade Swor was faster, with his 7.8 second run, so he and Bird will be back roping on Sunday.
“Roping for a hundred grand is … awesome. Every day at Calgary’s been awesome for me. I’m just going to try and do the same thing – go make the best run that I can.” Swor gets an extra $6000 for first in the round, while Bird added a tidy $5000 to his bank account.
The Canadian flags were flying in the steer wrestling as well, when Curtis Cassidy managed to emerge number one with a 3.4 second run, for a $6000 cash boost.
“Obviously that’s why you come here to Calgary is to have a chance at a hundred on Sunday,” said the second generation cowboy from Donalda. “I haven’t been there the last few years. Cassidy has participated in the Stampede 21 times, and since the tournament format was introduced, estimates he’s probably been to the Sunday round about half those times.
“Anytime you can back in here on Sunday, it’s wicked. It’s a lot of pressure but at the same time, that’s why you practice and do what you do, and you live for days like this.” World Champion Tyler Waguespack was one of two steer wrestlers to be 3.5 seconds, but he gets the nod to carry on his Stampede through a tiebreaker, and collects $5000 as well.
Topping Saturday’s round of bareback riding was Steven Peebles but he had to work overtime to get it, which isn’t good news for a cowboy with as many body issues has Peebles has. The Oregon cowboy was awarded a re-ride and came back on a horse called You See Me, for 90 points. It was worth it for the chance to defend his title on Sunday, but Peebles headed right to Sports Medicine to get worked on, so he’s fit enough to ride again the Sunday.
Joining him from this round on a tiebreaker was J.R. Vezain of Wyoming, who turned in one of a trio of 86’s. Because he’d won a round outright and the others hadn’t, Vezain makes it through for his third career attempt at the $100,000.
Cort Scheer was breathing a sigh of relief, after making an outstanding 88 point ride on Calgary Stampede horse Yesterdays Delivery, to earn $6000.
“I’m pretty sure the year I won it I came through the wildcard round too, so I’m hoping that kind of replays itself,” smiled the Nebraska cowboy, who won the Stampede in 2013.
Utah’s Ryder Wright will represent the first family of bronc riding on Sunday after he snatched the second spot, for an 85.5 point ride, and $5000.
For the bull riders, it was a pair of Texans hitting the Wildcard jackpot. Cody Teel got the biggest payday ($6000) for an 89.5 point ride on Double Down, while to the delight of fans in the grandstand, Mike Lee made his customary run around the arena after an 86 point ride on All About You ($5000). Both will be part of Showdown Sunday.
The speedster Saturday in the barrel racing was Amberleigh Moore of Oregon, clocking a time of 17.09 seconds for her $6000 boost, with the second place payout of $5000 going to Texan Jackie Ganter for a time of 17.12 seconds. They’re the two who will get a chance to run again Sunday.
Former Calgary Mustangs junior hockey player Conner Hamilton won the novice bareback riding championship, while Dawson Hay of Wildwood kept up the family rodeo championship tradition by earning the novice saddle bronc riding honors.
There’s a million dollars to be given out on Showdown Sunday, as the ten competitors in each event will first ride to be among the four best, who then move on to get the shot at the big cheque for $100,000.
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