Big Valley saddle bronc rider, and three time champion in Calgary, Zeke Thurston rode this horse to a 86 on opening day July 5. Though, in spite of tying a Stampede record in the finals with a 93.5, he would not win his fourth title. Photo: Billie Jean Duff/Calgary Stampede

Calgary Stampede a tough go for local cowboys

Several make the finals, but not able to close in on the big money

It was simply not to be for the local and area cowboys at this year’s Calgary Stampede.

Bashaw’s Jacob Stemo, Meeting Creek’s Garrett Green along with Curtis and Cody Cassidy of Donalda all made it to championship Sunday on July 14, but none were able to make it to the $100,000 showdown.

Stemo, in the bareback, got the closest to the big money after scoring an 87.5 in the finals, but lost out on the last top four spot to Seth Hardwicka due to a tie-breaker. Stemo made it to Sunday after being the top wildcard qualifier July 13 with a score of 88 after earning $5,500 in his pool.

For Green, after posting just one score in his bull riding pool, he topped the crowd with an 88 in the July 13 wildcard round to get to the final. Unfortunately, he was among the six cowboys to be bucked off in the final, which made it really easy to figure out who would compete for the big prize.

As for the Cassidy brothers in the steer wrestling, a fraction of an inch made a huge difference.

Cody, whose pool performance of $9,000 earned him a finals berth, came away with a no-time after slipping over the steer’s horns and slding to the ground.

Meanwhile, Curtis managed just one time in his pool, but captured a wildcard spot with a 4.0 run. A 3.5 second finals run would have placed Curtis in first, except that he was just a bit too quick and broke the barrier to add a 10-second penalty that put him out of the running.

Area cowboys

The biggest disappointment at the Stampede came in the form of Ponoka native Jake Vold, who missed the finals for a second time in four years due to an injury. In his final ride on July 8, Vold was bucked off and then had a knee get stepped on, forcing him out of the competition despite finishing first in his pool with $11,000.

There were three other cowboys to make the finals: Ponoka’s Craig Weisgerber in the steer wrestling, bull rider Zane Lambert and Big Valley saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston.

Weisgerber, who won $10,500 to finish at the top his pool. He nearly made it to the showdown round, but his run of 4.7 ended up being bumped out of the top four by three-tenths of a second.

Thurston walked off with $18,500 and first place in his pool to make the finals, then won that round with a 93.5. However, he couldn’t repeat that in the showdown, ending up in third after posting an 87.

Lambert qualified for the last day after earning $8,500 to sit fourth in his pool, though he couldn’t hang on and was bucked off in the finals.

$100,000 wins

Tanner Aus from Granite Falls, Montana qualified third for the showdown, but came up big to capture the bareback by posting a 92.5 score.

In the saddle bronc, top spot went to the fourth place qualifier in Rusty Wright of Millford, Utah, scoring a 92.

Sage Kimzey from Strong City, Oklahoma, walked off with the bull rider title by notching a score of 92.5.

The steer wrestling was won by Robertsdale, Alabama’s Kyle Irwin who put up a run of 3.6 seconds.

Caleb Smidt of Bellville, Texas, wrapped up the tie-down title with a 7.3 second run.

Lastly, the barrel racing crown went to Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, South Dakota, by three one-thousands of a second with her time of 17.116.

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