Futurity evens playing field

A roughstock futurity rocked the Calnash Ag Event Centre Dec. 29 as part of the Ultimate Cowboy and Cowgirl Challenge weekend

A roughstock futurity rocked the Calnash Ag Event Centre Dec. 29 as part of the Ultimate Cowboy and Cowgirl Challenge weekend and New Year’s Eve festivities.

The futurity served as a venue for some of the top stock contractors from across Canada to compare their six-year-old and under bucking horses. There was also a bucking bull division.

Judges were looking for style and rankness in the animal and for the rider, style and timing. “Mostly that they’re in control and spurring the animal,” explained event organizer Scott Wyzykoski.

The contractors received a score based on both the horse and the rider. “Usually the horse and rider are marked separately,” said Wyzykoski, who changed the format for this futurity.

“We wanted to see more rides rather than just bucking them of quickly; try to encourage better riding.”

Among the 25 contractors there were 14 bareback horses, 14 saddle bronc horses and 14 bulls. After the bull riding the top three contractors advanced to the third round to enter another bull.

There was also a third round for the saddle bronc and bareback horses but it wasn’t part of the evaluated futurity. Wyzykoski says the additional horses’ round was just included to put on a good show because not every contractor had enough horses to make a third round fair.

“Good bulls are easier to raise,” said Wyzykoski. “Bulls just want to buck. There’s not as many good bucking horses.”

Wyzykoski says a higher percentage of bulls bred to buck will keep bucking in the arena, about 40 per cent of bulls, while it’s closer to 20 per cent of horses.

The third bull round counted as part of the futurity because there are also more bull contractors, since there are more places to buck them. “There’s a lot of bulls only events; bucking horse events are almost always part of the rodeo,” said Wyzykoski.

Another reason for the higher number of bull contractors is because there’s more money in raising cattle, so even if the bull doesn’t buck it can be more valuable on the farm.

However, that doesn’t devalue the horses on the market. “First of all bucking horses aren’t wild beasts there’s just something about them, they like to buck. And if they like to buck they’ll continue to buck,” said contractor Jim Lowry.

But even Lowry isn’t sure what works to produce good bucking horses. “If you have a mom that bucks good and a dad that bucks good you should get a baby that bucks good, but that isn’t always the case.”

Contractors at the futurity stood to make close to $1,000 in each event. The rankest horse made $740 and the four highest marked rides of each event were also paid out.