The only constant at the 2017 Ponoka Stampede is that the animals seem to be winning.
It can be seen in all of these events, as the leaderboards barely moved on Friday, the fourth day of the week-long rodeo.
Tyson Durfey is still the leader in the tie down roping as only Rimbey’s Dean Edge, who posted a two run total of 19.2 seconds, to even come close on Friday. Edge sits sixth, while Eckville’s Clayton Smith put in a two run total of 22.2 on the day and holds down the last finals qualifying spot.
Meanwhile, the bull riders continue to get beaten to the punch on the infield with no cowboys able to stick a ride Friday afternoon. The hope for three locals — Wacey Finkbeiner, Tyler Pankewitz and Zane Lambert — to break up that buck off streak comes on Saturday. Garrett Smith still has the score to beat off 88.75.
In the steer wrestling, Cochrane’s Straws Milan with 23.2 on two and Brendan Laye of Consort with 25.5 on two managed on Friday to break into the top 12. Tanner Milan still holds top spot while Ponoka’s Ben Ramey is in the last qualifying spot at 26 seconds.
The story is much the same in bareback, saddle bronc, barrel racing and team roping, where the standings have stay almost unchanged.
Orin Larsen of Inglis, Manitoba with an 84.75 and Seth Hardwick from Ranchester, Wyoming with an 84 were the only bareback riders to crack the top 12 Friday, which leaves Richmond Champion’s 87 as the top mark.
Layton Green’s 85.25 remained unchallenged in the saddle bronc, where on Friday Dusty Hausauer of Dickinson, North Dakota got an 84.25 and Travis Nelson from Philip, South Dakota with an 82 put themselves on track to make the finals on Monday.
Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler are still the leaders in team roping, as just a pair of teams did well enough Friday to tentatively sit in a finals qualifying spot. Brett and Justin McCarroll from Camrose sit fifth at 14.5 seconds on two, while Okotoks’ Clint Buhler and Rocky Dallyn of Nanton put up a time of 21.6 on two and in eleventh place.
Rounding the barrels must also be harder this year, as only Jaime Hinton of Bulverde, Texas and Brittany Kelly from Paso Robles, California run well enough Friday to put themselves in a qualifying spot at just under 18 seconds. Sherry Cervi still leads the pack at 17.610.
In what was day three of racing for the WPCA wagons, Kurt Bensmiller put in a blistering time of 1:14.58 to claim the top time of the night and take over the aggregate lead. Another steady performance from Gary Gorst has him in second in the aggregate, while Colt Cosgrave is third with results all three nights within just half a second of each other. Fourth is occupied by Kirk Sutherland, who has had times each night falling within one-tenth of a second.
The results of the pony chuckwagon circuit also competing in Ponoka were not available.
Photos by Jeffrey Heyden-Kaye