There may not be any buckles coming home for some but some local cowboys came away from the Calgary Stampede with some big money.
Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston set a new record with his third straight Calgary Stampede championship.
“They say great things and success happens when preparation and the opportunity meet and I guess that’s just what that was today,” said Thurston, who is the current world champ.
“A lot of guys would go their whole careers and never win this rodeo. To win it three years in a row is unbelievable. To be able to ride one bucking horse for $100,000 whether you do it or not, that’s awesome.”
Thurston’s father Skeeter was also a saddle bronc rider and a six-time qualifier for the world championship.
“You’re probably going to have to go stick a knife in his chest to deflate it,” Zeke said. “I bet he’s walking around here proud as a peacock.”
Meeting Creek’s Layton Green along with the Cassidy brothers, Cody and Curtis, from Donalda came close to walking off with the biggest prize in Canadian rodeo July 16.
The Cassidy brothers were both in the mix for the steer wrestling finale, with Cody getting straight through to the final by taking $7,500 in his pool and Curtis winning the wild card on July 15 after earning $3,500 earlier in the week.
However, Curtis — who put up a time of 4.2 in the long go — was left behind in the chase for the title when Cody put up the top time of the round at 3.4 in the last run.
The $100,000 Stampede title was not to be for Cody, whose time of 4.0 in the showdown wasn’t enough to overtake Arizona cowboy Tyler Waguespack with a run of 3.8 seconds. Still, second place was good enough to add another $25,000 to his winnings.
As for Green, his week in saddle bronc had an up-and-a-down with a slight feeling of deja-vu thrown in for good measure.
At the Stampede, Green won his pool and a spot in the final after piling up $13,000, only to be left in the infield watching the scoreboard as good friend Thurston edged past him twice on the same day.
After posting a super score of 89 in the long-go, Green saw Thurston put up a 90, which left the pair to go at each other in the showdown later that evening just as the two had done two weeks earlier in Ponoka.
And the result was even closer this time around, as Green put up a score of 91.5 on Wild Cherry and then saw Thurston thunder out of the chute to score a 92 on Get Smart.
Although Green did come home with a win from last week, as he rode What About Me to an 85.5 at the Teepee Creek Stampede near Grande Prairie that same weekend.
“I feel like I’ve made that step I needed to make,” Green stated, referring to the progress he has made this season.
“The year has been pretty outstanding, that’s for sure. I think the difference is that my mental game is stronger this year. I’m working really hard at being as calm as I can and it feels like there’s not much that can faze me now.”
The victory there has him on top of the Canadian saddle bronc standings with about $37,000.
More importantly for Green though is a $5,300 win in Estes Park, Colorado, which has him in eighth overall in the world standings and putting him in a great position to earn his first trip to Las Vegas in December for the National Finals Rodeo.
“When you’re hot, it all just kind of flows.” Green noted, adding he hopes the hot spell will continue for a while yet. “I plan to rodeo as hard as I can until I know I’ve got the NFR made.”