Ponoka’s best cowboys of 2017 were sent off to the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) in style.
A special send off was held Nov. 1 at the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame, which included Miss Ponoka Stampede 2017 Michele Greer.
The cowboys recognized are bull rider Wacey Finkbeiner, team roping header Brett Buss, team roping heeler Tyrel Flewelling, steer wrestler Chance Butterfield, tie down roper Dean Edge, bareback rider Jake Vold, bull rider Tyler Pankewitz and team roping header Levi Simpson (photo unavailable).
Greer herself is also vying for the coveted Miss Rodeo Canada role and is already in the throws of the competition. The winner of Miss Rodeo Canada will be crowned during the CFR, which is also the last one to be held at Northlands.
Ponoka Stampede Association president Blair Vold said the association and the community is proud of the strong Ponoka contingent heading to the CFR.
“I think it’s a testament to this town and this community,” said Vold.
“We’re one of the few towns in western Canada that send such a group up to the finals every year,” he added.
Mayor Rick Bonnett added his congratulations and praised the cowboys and Greer for having such talent to showcase Ponoka on such a stage.
Ponoka County deputy Reeve Bryce Liddle added that reaching such a level of skill and acclaim is an honour worth noting. “Well done fellas, and lady. Enjoy it,” said Liddle.
He feels this experience will be something worth remembering.
The group of cowboys heading to the CFR know this level of competition well.
While Vold may live in Airdrie now, Ponoka residents still claim him as their own. This will be his ninth CFR run and he will also be heading to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for a third time.
Bull rider Finkbeiner is ranked fourth overall in the Canadian standings and is a second generation CFR qualifier. Pankewitz is the other Ponoka bull rider heading to the CFR and this is his seventh CFR run.
Tie down roper Dean Edge or Rimbey is heading to his 11th CFR run and he sits 12th in the runnings.
Team ropers Buss and Flewelling will be working together hoping to capture the title.
Despite a major injury earlier this season, steer wrestler Chance Butterfield is back in the saddle hoping to secure a win for himself. He sits fifth in the CFR rankings.
And Simpson sits first in the team roping headers standings. He is heading to his ninth CFR.
The 44th Canadian Finals Rodeo starts Nov. 8 and runs to Nov. 12. The theme is Hats Off to 44 years.
Simpson was unable to attend the send off.