Luke Butterfield of Ponoka was the money leader heading into Sunday’s sixth and final go at the Canadian Finals Rodeo

Luke Butterfield of Ponoka was the money leader heading into Sunday’s sixth and final go at the Canadian Finals Rodeo

Butterfield Ponoka’s big money winner at CFR in Edmonton

By Dale Cory – At The CFR

“I’m a little sore today. I kind of buggered my neck a bit Saturday night. But, you just tough it out, and go for the rounds every time,” insisted bareback rider Jake Vold of Ponoka after finishing his event Sunday.

“I’m sore. I’m beat up. And my hips are killing me. It’s hard riding hurt,” lamented Luke Butterfield after the saddle bronc competition had ended.

Ah, the rough and tumble lifestyle of a rodeo cowboy.

Despite his many injuries, Butterfield topped the list of Ponoka and area participants when the Canadian Finals Rodeo came to a conclusion Nov. 14 at Rexall Place in Edmonton, where 106 of the world’s best rodeo athletes competed against world-class stock and the clock for a share of a record $1.32 million.

Every single cowboy and cowgirl who took part in the gruelling five-day, six-performance, season-ending championships could share Butterfield’s pain.

Butterfield, who was participating in his fourth CFR, more than doubled his season earnings on the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) circuit by picking up $25,177, leaving him with total earnings of $49,695, good for third place in the overall standings.

“Considering my circumstances of coming in here hurt, and winning what I did, I’m so happy. This was the best finals I had,” said Butterfield. “I felt like I rode good when I rode, and just had some tough luck on a couple horses that were pretty woofy — but it’s rodeo.”

Butterfield was the money leader heading into Sunday’s sixth and final go, and came through with an 82 aboard Franklin Rodeo Company’s Too Blue to finish fifth in the performance, and third overall.

“It went pretty good. I started ok, but just didn’t have my rein right. I started sitting on my feet and coming up in the saddle, which throws you out of time. I started gassing it and got to an 82. I would have liked to have rodeoed a little better, but considering the week, I scored, and I placed. It was good,” said the 26-year-old, who knew he had to produce a decent ride on the final day.

“I didn’t calculate it all out because I hate doing that, but I knew I basically had to win the round because those other guys were strong in the average.”

Butterfield was persistent during the CFR despite being in obvious pain throughout the six performances. Still recovering from a broken fibula in his left leg in September, the 2007 novice champion appeared to aggravate a left ankle sprain during each go in Edmonton, and required help just to get off the field.

“To tell you the truth, I thought I had broken my ankle again Saturday night. I heard a pop and my leg shot with pain. It’s tough to control how you land. I knew I ran a risk, but you run a risk when you’re healthy too. It’s rodeo, and I’m just happy I made it through without re-injuring my leg,” said Butterfield. “If I didn’t think I could ride I wasn’t going to come here and give up after one horse, and take a spot away from a guy who could ride. At the same time, you’ve rodeoed all year and you want to go try it. Thank God I jumped out there and had a good ride on that first horse, which helped my confidence.”

Butterfield finished second with a ride of 81.75 on opening night, and won the second go with a score of 85.5.

He’ll take a break and allow his body to heal before heading down to the United States to compete in winter rodeos through Arizona and Texas.

Dustin Flundra of Pincher Creek won the overall saddle bronc title with total earnings of $59,417.

As for other Ponoka participants at the CFR

In the bareback event, Jake Vold of Ponoka nearly doubled his season earnings, bringing home $11,620 from the CFR, and finishing the year with $29, 586.

“It went all right. I would have liked to have done better on the first and last horses, but in the middle, things went pretty good I thought. I kind of had my hands full today (Sunday). I kind of messed up there on a couple jumps and just kind of hung on and tried to make the best of it,” said Vold, 23, who was competing in his first finals. “I’m a little older and I have a little more experience after this. At CFR, you have to come riding and finish horses. You’re riding against 11 more guys instead of just two this time, so it’s more of a test. It’s pretty cool. It’s a hell of a time.”

Dusty LaValley of Crooked Creek won more than $30,000 at CFR, and won the overall title with total earnings of $71,296.

Ponoka steer wrestlers Trygve Pugh and Kyle Felker had a tough go of it at CFR.

Pugh brought four steers to the ground in the six rounds, finishing fifth in the opening go and fourth in the fourth go to earn $3,597.

Pugh, attending his fourth Canadian Finals Rodeo, finished the season with $20,221.

Felker, who qualified for his first CFR, was fourth in each of the first two performances, and recorded a 4/5 split in the fourth go to take home $5,533, giving him total earnings of $19,827.

In tie-down roping, Rimbey’s Dean Edge was shutout at the CFR, failing to rope a calf in the final two performances, and finished the season with $12,871 in CPRA earnings.

Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas took home more than $27,000 in CFR earnings, and won the overall title with season earnings of $60,772.

In team roping, header Kenton Fawcett of Ponoka and heeler Riley Wilson of Cardston finished the CFR with $4,743 in earnings. The duo came in second to Chase Simpson and Rocky Dallyn in total earnings, trailing the Alberta team ropers by less than $800 through the CPRA season.

Travis Gallais of Olds and Tyrell Flewelling of Lacombe were third overall with $17, 255 in season earnings.

The Ponoka team of header Jordan Dodds and heeler Scott Auclair had a tough time in Edmonton, missing on four of six tries. Dodds and Auclair had a 14.7 in the first go, and took fourth place in the third performance with a time of 14.8.

“It’s a wicked experience. My goal was to get here this year and I did that, so I’m happy with that. We didn’t do very good, but I accomplished my goal I guess,” said Dodds, who attended his first CFR. “I drew a couple of really good steers in the first and third rounds, but I left a little bit early, and of course, got a speeding ticket. As for the other steers, they were a little bit sharper and I got a little bit late. I had to take a chance and it didn’t work. Timing is everything. Everybody knows his range, but sometimes you just have to try it.”

Dodds and Auclair finished with $593 in CFR earnings. Dodds enjoyed competing in front of a packed Rexall through the week.

“I didn’t think about the people too much. I just tried to do my best. There’s a lot of noise, and a lot of adrenaline, and the horse dang sure knows it,” said Dodds, who will head to Arizona with Auclair in March to compete on the US circuit. “It’s quite an experience. Every guys wants to be here, so I was pretty lucky to get here.”

Bashaw’s Klay Whyte and header Levi Simpson won $4,150 at the CFR. Whyte, competing in his first finals, finished the year with $17,148.

Ponoka’s Casey Crandall was a model of consistency during the six performances. The CFR rookie finished fourth in the second go with a time of 14.74. It was Crandall’s fastest time of the week. All six of her rides fell between 14.74 seconds and 14.89 seconds — leaving her less than a second behind Rana Koopmans of Lethbridge, who earned $38,457 in Edmonton, and won the season title with $74,540 in earnings.

In bull riding, Jesse Torkelson of Winfield won $39,769 in Edmonton, and ended the year in the CPRA lead with $85,419.

John Windwick, Commissioner, CFR and 1st Vice-Chair, Northlands Board of Directors said, “CFR’s about bringing the best of the best to Edmonton. We’re proud to partner with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association (CPRA) to host CFR. We salute the athletes, arena personnel, volunteers, partners and sponsors for their efforts in making this year’s CFR a success.”

Dale Leschiutta, President and Interim General Manager of CPRA said, “Our contestants work all season to get to Edmonton and the crown jewel of rodeo — CFR. The CPRA is proud to partner with the best producer, in a city that is second to none as a host.”

One highlight of CFR included Red Friday and a special opening ceremony with 60 members of the Canadian Military taking part. Rodeo fans responded by wearing red as a show of support. Wrangler and Lammle’s Western Wear & Tack teamed up to sell the National Patriot shirt and donated $40,000 to the Edmonton Military Family Resource Centre and the Hero Fund.

Canadian Finals Rodeo rides back into Edmonton next year from Nov. 9 to Nov. 13. 

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