Cowboy Christmas Highlights

Jul 3, 2024 #sport

July 3, 2024

… Fort MacLeod, Ponoka, Williams Lake, Airdrie and Raymond

The July 1st slate of Canadian rodeos were as advertised—a gamechanger.

Several competitors backed the Brinks truck up to the pay windows as five Canadian rodeos in seven days—Fort Macleod (Midnight Days Pro Rodeo), Airdrie Pro Rodeo, Williams Lake Stampede, Raymond Stampede and the Ponoka Stampede—wrapped up in front of large, appreciative crowds and beneath (at least some of the time) blue skies.

The biggest winner was reigning Canadian Tie Down Roping Champion, Haven Meged as he claimed the two biggest jewels in the crown—Williams Lake and Ponoka. The Miles City, Montana superstar placed in both long go-rounds, was second in the short go (with times of 8.4, 8.5 and 8.3 seconds) to win the aggregate and then was a blistering 7.8 to capture the Showdown $7500 bonus as well for a total payoff of $20,062. 

“I didn’t draw the best calves,” Meged acknowledged, “but my horse made all the difference. I made a horse change and took my horse that I ride everywhere outside and it paid off on those strong calves. That’s my favourite rodeo of the year; I just kept my head down and we were able to grind through it.”

But the 2019 World Champion wasn’t done as he added another first-place cheque at Williams Lake—this one for $5735 courtesy of a 7.7 second effort at the historic British Columbia rodeo to cash out at almost $26,000 for the Canadian component of his week and a superb start to his Cowboy Christmas—the term given to the July 1strodeos up here and the July 4th rodeos south of the 49th parallel.

It was anything but easy as the schedule required Meged to make a few all night drives (Greeley, CO to Ponoka, AB and Ponoka to Williams Lake, BC) to make it work. “Yeah, the all-nighters were tough, it felt like four nights in a row, but I needed to have a good week to make the Canadian Finals. I only have four Canadian rodeos left that I can get to but it all worked out and it couldn’t have come together at a better time. That $25,000 week takes a lot of heat off my back. We’ll see if I can keep it going from now right through the 4th down south and then on into Calgary.”

One of the most popular wins was the stunning performance by two-time World Champion barrel racer, Lindsay Sears and her outstanding stallion, SME One Of A Kind as she began her Ponoka weekend with a share of 9/10 in the long go, then split 2/3 in the short go to earn a ¾ spot in the aggregate. That translated into a berth in the Showdown (the top four come back for the Showdown) and when the dust settled, the Nanton cowgirl who now makes her home in Texas, put together her fastest run of the rodeo to cruise to victory and the $7500 bonus cheque that brought her earnings to $14,346.

“I’m kind of speechless,” said the 2024 Ponoka Champion. “I went into Ponoka with zero expectations. My horse was just coming back from a major injury that took a full year to recover from and I hadn’t made a competition run on him since January. Then in April it was breeding season. I could tell when I turned him out that he was feeling good, so I started just lightly riding him. This weekend is just a huge sigh of relief that my horse was even able to compete. But he’s like Martha (the stallion’s dam that Lindsay won her two world titles on) in that’s he’s just so tough and gritty. He could have given up but he didn’t.”

The victory – Sears’ third Ponoka Championship – is unlikely to change the popular cowgirl’s game plan for the stallion she calls Mojo. “The dream might be to rodeo on him, but the reality is I’m going to pick and choose and just enjoy my horse. My plan is to go to Cheyenne and then take him home to Texas. The breeding side of it with mares and babies—all of that is very important to me and pretty well consumes all of my time.”

There were a couple of other big winners over the Canada Day weekend, including two-time Canadian Bull Riding Champion, Jared Parsonage. The Maple Creek, SK bull rider also posted wins at both Ponoka and Williams Lake although all four bull riders were bucked off in the Ponoka Showdown round which meant no Ponoka Stampede bonus money for the talented hand. Nevertheless it was a productive and lucrative few days for the two time WNFR qualifier as his two rides at Ponoka which included an 86.75 effort on Legend Rodeo’s 718 Jail Break in the short go resulted in an $11,865 payday. Parsonage then added a $5098 win at Williams Lake (88.5 points on C5 Rodeo’s 710 Dance Monkey) to take his weekend haul to just shy of $17,000.

The world’s number one ranked steer wrestler, Dalton Massey, followed up his co-championship performance at Reno last week with a second consecutive Ponoka title. The Oregon man who established a regular season earnings record in the PRCA a year ago was at the top of his game as he turned in runs of 5,1 seconds in the first round for $3712, then was 5.5 in the second round for a fifth place and $2207. While he didn’t place in the short round, Massey finished second in the aggregate for a $6012 stipend before topping the final four field with a 5.8 second $8250 run. His total Ponoka winnings topped out at $20,189 which will help in his quest for another trip to the Canadian Finals Rodeo as well as a shot at the world title that barely eluded him a year ago. 

Head to for complete unofficial results and schedule details.

Coming up for CPRA athletes: Benalto Stampede July 5-7 (a Maple Leaf Circuit and Precision Rodeo Tour stop) then SMS Equipment Pro Tour Rodeo, the Teepee Creek Stampede July 12-14 and Bowden Days Rodeo, also part of the Maple Leaf Circuit, July 13-14.