It was one of the most exciting finishes to a Canadian Finals Rodeo.
The last CFR ever at Northlands, Nov. 8 to 12, proved to be among the most competitive in several years, entering the final performance with the champions to be determined on the last go-round.
For Meeting Creek’s Layton Green, it would be the memory of a lifetime being one of the last champions at Northlands.
Green finished strong to capture his first Canadian saddle bronc title — placing in the top five in the last four performances — on his way to setting a record for money earned at just under $107,400. That included more than $29,000 earned at the CFR.
“It’s really special to win, it’s been a dream since as far back as I can remember,” said Green, who beat his friend and current world champ Zeke Thurston.
“This was a great week and to walk out with a great friend Zeke, knowing one of us was going to win was wonderful in itself. The way this season has played out, I’ve been second to Zeke a few times like Ponoka and Calgary, so to beat him here though feels pretty good.”
Despite starting the CFR with a wide lede, Green wasn’t worried about the pressure.
“You just have to tell yourself to forget about it all and just do your best. Being able to win this last one at Northlands is a cherished memory I’ll always have,” he said.
Meanwhile, Donalda steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy had another Canadian championship slip — literally — through his fingers.
He was within $2,000 of top spot entering the last run Nov. 12, but a tricky steer left Cassidy scrambling to hang on.
“The steer I let off a bit and I couldn’t get latched on,” he said about his 8.1 second final run that push him back to fourth place.
There was one other area cowboy at the CFR who put in a competitive performance, although not really in the running for a championship.
Garrett Green, Layton’s brother, was in the bull riding event and just wasn’t able to get on track during the week, finishing in seventh spot.
The current world champion team roping pair of Levi Simpson, of Ponoka, and Arrowwood’s Jeremy Buhler finally were able to add a Canadian title to their resume, after making a great comeback in the last three runs following no times earlier in the week.
Meanwhile, Seth Hardwick won the bareback by just $800 over Ponoka’s Jake Vold, Jason Thomas took the steer wrestling, Logan Bird captured the tie down roping, Garrett Smith won the bull riding and Carmen Pozzobon rode off with the barrel racing.
The 44th edition of the CFR was the last at Northlands and the people took to the seats in record numbers. More than 90,000 showed up for the six performances, but the venue for next year is still up in the air.
That left many cowboys reflecting on competing in the soon to be closed building, but Cassidy basically covered much of the feeling with his comment.
“This has been a great building for rodeo and it’s sad to be leaving, but I’m excited for what the future holds,” explained Cassidy, whose been to the CFR 18 times and won three titles.