For several cowboys and cowgirls, a trip to Vegas was on the line over the weekend.
Ponoka’s Calnash Ag Event Centre was host to dozens of First Nations competitors Sept. 15 to 17 at the Northern Alberta Native Cowboys Association (NANCA) regional finals rodeo, all vying for a top finish in order to secure an opportunity to compete at the Indian National Finals Rodeo (INFR) in Las Vegas that runs Nov. 7 to 11.
“It was a really good rodeo and we certainly need to thank the Samson Cree Nation for putting on a great show as our hosts,” said Benjy Buffalo, NANCA vice president.
“The crowds were good and the stock was great. I’ve heard nothing negative about the weekend. Plus, with this being our first time at the Calnash centre, the overall facilities are simply outstanding. The grounds were great, everyone loved being there and they also had the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame open for everyone to take in.”
In the rough stock events, only the season leader earned a trip to the INFR while both the season leader and the winner of the regional finals event will make the trek to Vegas.
Chad Randle easily took the season title in the bareback, while Kash Shade edged out Keenan Crane for the season crown in the steer wrestling. Crane gets to go by virtue of earning enough points to win the regional finals.
In the bull riding, Travis Maguire took the regional finals and will join season champ Black Jackson. Meanwhile, on the junior side, Tason Two Young Men and Trey Soosay are heading to the INFR.
Seth Saulteaux didn’t make a ride in the junior steer riding, but had a 50 point lead going in and will head off as the season champ.
The saddle bronc season championship went to Leon Stump, who hung on by taking the last go-round Sunday.
The ladies breakaway season champion went to Colleen Crawler, while Destiny Stevens will also be making the trip south after capturing top spot at the regional finals. Art Wildman did enough the first two days to take the senior breakaway season title and will be joined by Jeff Fox and Spider Ramone at the INFR. The junior side will be represented by season champ Lita Crawler and finals champ Kash Weasle Fat.
Tristin Bull took the ladies barrel racing season crown, with Cheyenne Black Water and Sonya Dodginghorse also getting to head to Vegas. Lita Crawler won both the season and regional finals junior barrels, but as she has a spot already, both Taelor Many Wounds, who was second in both, and third place Seanna Dodginghorse get to make the trip to Vegas.
Bo Wells, the season champ, and Jay Crawler will go in the tie-down roping while in open team roping it will be the pairing of TC Rider and Marcel Saulteaux who won the regional as well as header season winner Bryan Labelle and heeler season winner Levi Bearspaw. Marvin Yellowhorn and Marvin Yellowbird won the senior team roping and will be at the INFR with season champ header Darrell Taypotat and season title heeler Spider Ramone, who gets to go with Yellowbird already in.