As part of the Ultimate Cowboy and Cowgirl weekend and New Year’s Eve celebration, a tournament-style steer wrestling jackpot also came to town Dec. 29.
The jackpot began before the roughstock futurity but was extended to run throughout the event. “We made it part of (the intermission), next year it’ll be part of a bigger day”, said organizer Scott Wyzykoski.
Among those competing in the jackpot were Trygve Pugh, who also helped run it, Chance and Brock Butterfield, Steven Turner, and grand prize winner Tanner Milan.
Approximately $4,000 was up for grabs and the prize money was divided among the winners for each match.
Each cowboy would face off against another and after a combined two-steer score, the fastest would advance to the next round.
Wyzykoski believes Ponoka was a good place to hold the jackpot because the area is known for having a core group of talented steer wrestlers, such a Pugh and the Butterfields.
He also wanted to hold the event to give the cowboys a chance at competitive practice. “Rather than practice four or five guys at a time, which can get a little old, we just put up some money and see who wins.”
Jackpots are usually held in rodeo downtime to keep the cowboys sharp. “Sometimes when you’re practicing, and it’s not for money, you get a little complacent,” said Wyzykoski.
Several of the steer wrestlers who competed in the jackpot will travel to Denver in January for a Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) rodeo. “It’s the first rodeo of the year and for the guys who haven’t run a steer since the Canadian Finals it’s a good tune up,” said Wyzykoski.