By Dianne Finstad
It would have been a tough mission to find a more excited person in all of Ponoka Thursday afternoon than Craig Weisgerber.
The pro cowboy got the fans stomping their feet for the ‘thunder rolls’ at the 87th annual Ponoka Stampede when their hometown cowboy slid over his steer in 4.1 seconds, to take over top spot in his event, with 8.4 seconds on two runs.
“The thunder’s the best. I love it when these people get fired up. This is the place to rise to the occasion,” confirmed the good-natured 34-year-old. “It’s the Ponoka Stampede. It’s the wildest in the west. There’s no better feeling than doing good at this one, especially being the hometown.
“All these people cheering for me, my hands hurt from the high fives, this is just great, I’m having a blast,” added Weisgerber, moments after the big run.
“First run this morning, I knew I had a good steer. I just knew I had to be safe and make it work. Sure as shoot, it did.”
Stopping the clock at 4.3 seconds set him up well for the afternoon, where Weisgerber drew the same steer he’d won some money on at Innisfail just a few weeks before.
“I was just trying to stay behind the barrier. When you’re good on your first one like that, you kind of want to safety up. I still don’t know where I was on the barrier, but it had to have been right. I kind of had a good game plan, but when you’re coming down the alley, there is no game plan. You’re just going, and reacting. It all worked out.”
Naturally, Weisgerber paid tribute to the Bo Anderson horse named Reggie that he loves to run, and his hazer, two-time Canadian champion Scot Guenthner.
Making his fourth appearance in the Finals, Weisgerber can hardly wait for Sunday.
“This is going to be mine. I’m going for it. This would mean everything to me. If I could walk out of here with the Ponoka buckle, this is happy as I could probably be at rodeo.”
“As excited as I get in the arena, that’s as excited as this crowd should be because this is the coolest rodeo in the world,” Weisgerber stated.