Levi Simpson of Ponoka and teammate Jeremy Buhler won the team roping title at the 44th Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton over the weekend.
Despite a slow start to their CFR – they had two no times in the first three rounds – the duo blazed their way through Super Saturday with back to back 4.1 second go-round winning runs and added a 4.2 second run on Championship Sunday to emerge as victors.
“It was very exciting to follow up a ‘dream come true season winning the world’ to come back up here, finally have a good year to come in here number one then outlast everyone until the end and stay number one,” said Simpson, who also won a Canadian and World title in 2016.
Layton Green of Meeting Creek, Alberta took the saddle bronc title, edging out Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston. Green set a new saddle bronc season earnings record with $107,363, moving past eight-time Canadian Champion Rod Hay who had previously held the record at $101,646 in 2005.
For the first time since 2009, a Canadian reigns supreme in the tie down roping event. Logan Bird of Nanton edged fellow Canadian Riley Warren by less than $1000 for the win. Bird had to overcome a broken barrier in the last round to capture the title.
The closest race at this year’s CFR was in the ladies barrel racing where Aldergrove, British Columbia cowgirl Carman Pozzobon slipped byTexan, Jaime Hinton, by just $183. Pozzobon, the Canadian season leader, finished up the year with $68,399 and her first gold buckle.
A trio of American cowboys captured Canadian titles in 2017. Seth Hardwick of Ranchester, Wyoming caught season leader and three time Canadian champion, Jake Vold in the bareback riding to win the title by a margin of just $850. Hardwick placed in every round and won the average for a total of $74,980.
The steer wrestling honor went to Benton, Arkansas cowboy, Jason Thomas.
In bull riding, season leader Garrett Smith of Rexburg, Idaho laid claim to his first Canadian championship by riding four of his six bulls and finishing second in the average for an $8000 margin of victory over the second place man, Tanner Girletz, who was competing at his final CFR.
Ky Marshall in the All Around (second time) and Morgan Grant for the High Point award (3rd time) were repeat winners.
Earlier in the week, the youth event champions were crowned. Connor Hamilton of Calgary is the 2017 Novice bareback champion; Dawson Hay (Wildwood, AB) is the novice saddle bronc winner and Luke Ferber of Irricana won his second steer riding title.
In its 44th and final year at Northlands Coliseum, CFR 44 attracted 90,268 fans - a 3.3 per cent increase over last year.
(Barb Poulsen, CPRA)
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