CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News
Next year the Ponoka Stampede Association might just think about handing out the steer wrestling championship buckle to one of the Cassidys from Donalda.
After winning the average with a time of 13.3 seconds over three runs, all that was left for Curtis Cassidy was to take home the championship buckle and top prize in Sunday’s showdown in Ponoka.
“I had a good steer tonight and Deuce (his horse) worked awesome and it all fell into place for the second year in a row,” said Cassidy moments after a 3.9 second run which tied Tom Barr, from Pincher Creek, as the only man to win the event three times in Ponoka.
Cassidy’s three wins have come on two different horses — he first won it five years ago on legendary horse Willie, who has won more than $2 million in his career, his latest back-to-back championships came on Deuce.
“I have a lot of trust and confidence in Deuce and he don’t have the statistics that Willie has and probably never will but he’s such a good horse in this situation. He stands in the box perfect and most horses get revved up and are hard to control,” said Cassidy speaking about the long score the steer wrestlers must contend with at Ponoka,
The win means the Cassidys have won the last five Ponoka Stampede steer wrestling events after Curtis’ brother, Cody, took home back-to-back titles in ’08 and ’09.
“It’s awesome to come here and all my family is here, right from my grandpa down to his great-grandchildren running around so it’s an awesome feeling to do good in front of the hometown crowd,” said Cassidy.
“All of my friends and family are watching and we get to go back and spend some time with them and have a beer and celebrate. It means a lot.”
The win didn’t come easy for Cassidy, who had to watch Straws Milan, from Cochrane, throw down in 4.9 just moments before his run. The consistency he displayed all week meant Cassidy got to run last and it proved to be an advantage.
“It’s an advantage but at the same time it’s a lot more pressure. I was telling myself not to get caught up on what the other guys are doing but score good and make a good run and don’t back off,” said Cassidy.
When asked if the Cassidys even have to show up next year or whether they’ll just be awarded the steer wrestling buckle, he said with a chuckle, “That’s one thing about rodeo, they never give it to you. Rodeo is a humbling experience for damn sure and you have to enjoy the wins and when you’re not winning, just appreciate that you’re out there doing what you love to do.”
It was a familiar name that won the tie down roping showdown Sunday night. Trevor Brazile has double-digit world titles to his name and is the first cowboy to have won more than $4 million in career earnings.
Brazile, who won the average with a time of 24.2 seconds over three runs, watched as Cory Soloman and Clif Cooper recorded no time and then Timber Moore put up an impressive time of 7.4 seconds before it was learned he broke the barrier and was handed a 10-second penalty.
“It kind of throws a curveball at you because you’re expecting to have to tie one fast with this calibre of contestants. Getting down to my turn and realizing that 17 seconds was going to win it was a shocker for me,” said Brazile. “I didn’t think 17 would place let alone be winning it.”
Brazile clinched his eighth World Champion All-Around title last year, pushing him ahead of Pro Rodeo Hall of Famer Ty Murray and used his past experience to stay focused in the box and not make any mistakes.
“It seems really easy but when you’ve been roping everything right there and your horse is expecting it, it makes it different to say the least,” said Brazile. “There is always that fear of being too cautious. It’s like anytime anyone says in basketball all you have to do is make it or all you have to do is catch him then it takes an athlete off of his game a bit.”
Brazile was careful not to break the barrier and had to run the calf further than he has all week but said it was all about being sure.
“At the end of the day we are supposed to be professional cowboys and if we need to get a time under 17 we should be able to do it, period,” said Brazile.
“Safe at the barrier and that’s what got me at that end of the arena but you can’t take a chance for $5,000 when you have a chance to tie one at that time, you can’t take a chance of a calf stumbling or a horse getting his nose to low and breaking the barrier.”