LAS VEGAS, NEV - December 3, 2016
The all-Canadian matchup of three time Canadian champion, Jake Vold and the Big Stone bareback horse Spilled Perfume, netted the Ponoka cowboy 83.5 points for a 4/5 split and $8884. For Vold, who now lives in Airdrie, it was his second placing in the first three rounds.
“I’ve had that horse before,” Vold commented, “and it’s been kind of a love-hate relationship. But I went back to one of my older riggins tonight and it felt really good. It’s early yet but I’m happy with the way the Finals have gone so far.”
And for the second night in a row, it was a Canadian horse grabbing a share of the spotlight as C5 Rodeo’s Virgil carried Minnesota talent, Tanner Aus to a spectacular 88.5 and a share of first place. Aus shared the winner’s circle with Clayton Biglow, the California-bred PRCA bareback riding Rookie of the Year who so far has split first and second in two rounds and been second in the other for total winnings of over $77,000 and top spot in the average.
The second Canadian bareback rider, Orin Larsen, put together his best effort so far with a 79.5 on Corey and Lange’s Tripwire but finished out of the money.
In the team roping, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler had a five second penalty rob them of another big cheque as their 9.0 (with the penalty) left them out of the money in the round but the Alberta duo sits in third place in the lucrative average race after three performances. Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and his Texas partner, Shay Carroll, continued to struggle and were blanked for the third time in three nights.
Zeke Thurston, the second generation Water Valley, Alberta bronc rider shook off the disappointment of round two’s 7.92 second buckoff and spurred out an 85 point ride on J Bar J’s Julia for a 2/3 split in the round and his first cheque of the finals—a tidy $18,192. Thurston split the round with Rusty Wright but it was the youngest Wright, Ryder, who continued to be the story of this finals as he rode Powder River Rodeo’s Lipstick N Whiskey to 86.5 and his third go-round win in a row. The eighteen year-old’s earnings to date are a whopping $88.000; he holds a commanding 14 point lead in the average and he’s climbed from 14th place coming in to the WNFR to second place in the world standings, hot on the heels of season leader and reigning world champion, Jacobs Crawley.
It was a split of first place in the steer wrestling as well with Tyler Waguesback and JD Struxness (Louisiana and Minnesota respectively) bulldogging their steers in 3.9 seconds for $23,480 apiece.
Apache, Oklahoma’s Hunter Herrin and Winnie, Texas cowboy Cade Swor split the round in the tie down roping with identical 7.0 second rounds. And four time Canadian champion Lisa Lockhart and the ever-dependable Louie blazed the cloverleaf pattern in 13.92 seconds for her first go round win of this finals.
And in the bull riding, the much anticipated matchup between reigning world champion Sage Kimsey and the Calgary Stampede bull, Night Moves was as advertised. The two time world champion won the confrontation to score 87.5 and finish second in the round. But it was another former World Champion, Shane Proctor of Grand Coulee, Washington who brought the Thomas and Mack faithful to their feet. Proctor matched up with the 2016 Bull of the Year, Midnight Bender, for a spectacular 91 score and the round win. A second Canadian bull, Spotted Demon from the Big Stone Rodeo Company made short work of the Sulphur, Oklahoma hand, Brennon Aldred.