By Tiffany Williams
Ponoka has a long and strong history of cowboys and cowgirls winning big at the Ponoka Stampede. Here are a few profiles of the many competitors who will be going for the big money at the Ponoka Stampede.
Steer wrestler, Pugh has had his professional card for nine years and qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo three times. In 2007 at the finals he placed third in the final go around and fourth on the fourth go earning him approximately $6,700 for the finals. He broke the barrier twice and earned times of 5.1, 5.7, 15.5, 4.2, 15.3 and 4 seconds over the weekend.
His two biggest achievements were being named the CPRA Rookie of the Year in 2000 and the BC Circuit steer wrestling champion in 2002. In 2007 he finished sixth in steer wrestling earning $27,134 ($989 in tie down roping and $19,359 in steer wrestling).
In the off-season Pugh works on an 800 cow/calf operation with his father.
Coming into Ponoka Pugh’s best finish thus far this year was at Medicine Hat where he placed fourth. He’s looking forward to competing at Ponoka where the money is a lot bigger.
“It’s a little different because you know everyone watching you. It’s a big rodeo. I don’t know if it’s the home atmosphere that makes you nervous or the money. Normally at your hometown rodeo you can win $1,000 at Ponoka you can win $37,000.”
In 2007 at the Ponoka Stampede he wrestled his steers down to make it to the top 12. In his first go he got his first steer down in 3.9 seconds but in the finals he had a no time and he won more than $2,000.
He says that one of his favourite rodeo memories from Ponoka was in 1999 when he was still in high school he made the short run against all the big names in tie-down roping.
Tie-down roper Edge has had his professional card for five years and qualified for the CFR three times.
Edge who hails from Rimbey works at Vold, Jones and Vold Auction Co. Ltd. in Ponoka and Rimbey Auction Market was named the Canadian Auctioneer of the year in 2006. He had an excellent CFR in 2007 winning $24,880 and finished second in the standings with an aggregate time of 58.6 over six head.
He was very consistence at the CFR roping times of 8.5, 8.2, 8.7, 11.1,12.3 and 9.8
Edge’s horse, Sid, was named the tie down roping horse of the year for the third straight year.
In the 2007 standings Edge placed second and earned $28,521 and is very confidant coming into the Ponoka Stampede.
“It takes a couple of years to figure out the long run. I have it figured out and I have a pretty good horse,” said Edge.
At the Ponoka Stampede in 2007 Edge won more than $6,800 with times of 8.3, 8.8, 9.7 and 11.4 in the finals.
“It seems like I know 80 per cent of the people in the crowd at Ponoka. It’s the biggest rodeo in Canada and adds more money than any other rodeo,” said Edge. “It makes a big difference to your season.”
Butterfield in is his second year as a professional cowboy and finished 11th in steer wrestling in his rookie year. He earned $23,105 last year qualifying for the CFR. He had times of 5.1, 5.1, 5.6, 6.8, 13.8 and 14.5 at the CFR.
In the winter he worked in the oil field and as a part time welder. Thus far this year his best finish is winning the Camrose rodeo.
He thinks that the Ponoka Stampede is the best rodeo of the year. He says that he doesn’t look at it as hometown rodeo but the event where he has the most chances to win.
“The committee works as hard as they can to produce the best rodeo from the stock to the set up they work for everyone and I’m not just saying that because it is my hometown rodeo,” said Butterfield.
He says the biggest thing he has to remember going in to the stampede is to really get the start figured out to not break the barrier. Last year at the Ponoka Stampede he broke the barrier twice. One of his favourite memories at the Ponoka Stampede is when he got on a steer for the first time in 1997.
Butterfield is a steer wrestler and is competing as a professional for the second year. He is in his third year of four studying at Texas Tech University in Ag and Applied Economics. In college rodeo this year his best finish was winning the Eastern Mexico University rodeo and his best time is a 3.7.
He thinks that Ponoka is a really unique rodeo and can’t wait to get out there.
“I think it’s one of the best rodeos in the world and it is an honour to be able to compete there,” said Butterfield. “Getting to compete in front of the hometown fans is great.”
He thinks that Ponoka does an incredible job and he has to try and not let the crowd brother him.
“It’s hard to ignore and you want to try a little extra harder. The key is to be consistent and clean and to try it out without breaking the barrier.”
Butterfield is a saddle bronc rider and a steer wrestler who has had his professional card since 2005. In 2004 he was the Canadian Novice saddle bronc champion. In 2007 he finished 19th in saddle bronc and 57th in steer wrestling. He is currently studying at Texas Tech in Petroleum Engineering after going to SAIT for two years.
“I’m hoping to do really well in Ponoka, It’s the biggest rodeo in Canada and there is so much money to win,” it’s the hometown rodeo and you get really pumped.”
In 2007 he earned $29,335 winning $11,734 in saddle bronc and $2,862 in steer wrestling.
Is a saddle bronc rider who has had his pro card since 2001. In 2007 he finished 23 earning $7,936. Mestson got into rodeo because his family was in it.
“I’ve been going to the Ponoka Stampede since I was a kid. It’s pretty overwhelming and there is a lot of money, which makes it more nerve-racking and a lot of fun.”
Is a saddle bronc rider who has had his pro card since 1995. He has qualified for the CFR six times and has earned $155,369 over his career. In 2007 he finished in 20th place earning $11,522.