CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News
He’s a two-time Ponoka Stampede steer wrestling champion to go along with his two Canadian Steer Wrestling Championships but coming into his second performance in Ponoka, Cody Cassidy sat in 28th position after laying down a time of 7.6 seconds.
Cassidy would have to go for broke on his second run if he wanted to make the top 12 and move through to Sunday’s short go.
“It was do or die for me because I was longer on my steer this morning and I knew that I had to come with the heat and needed to try the barrier because Baillie Milan had run that steer this morning and run him way down there so I was right on the barrier and I wasn’t sure I was going to get out but I snuck by,” said Cassidy.
The gamble paid off as Cassidy wrestled his second steer in the second fastest time of the day, a 4.3.
“I’d a rather been 4.3 this morning and had to be nice to the barrier this afternoon but it don’t matter what you do you’re going to have some nerves when you’re backed in the corner at this rodeo,” said Cassidy.
Those nerves are a direct result of the long score in Ponoka. That means competitors are full out by the time they get to the steer in the arena.
“Some guys you can tell the first time they are here the nerves get to them. I mean you are hauling ass when you go down through there. You’re going as fast as the horse can go, period. When you get off it’s basically driving around town doing 50 or 60 km/h and bailing off your truck, sticking your feet in the ground,” said Cassidy.
It’s that speed and possibility for a wreck that gets fans excited and keep them coming back to the Ponoka Stampede.
“It makes it exciting and fun and I like it. I’ve always enjoyed this rodeo and I’ve had good luck here,” said Cassidy, who jumped into a tie for ninth after his second run and said he’d have his fingers crossed to come back for the short round.
There will be one Cassidy in the final after Curtis, Cody’s brother, laid down two of the fastest times — a 4.8 and a 4.3 to claim top spot after Day 4 at the Stampede.
“It’s nice when we both do good and we’re in each other’s corner and we travel everywhere together. As long as one of us is winning, I’m happy. Obviously I like it when I’m winning too but we’re always rooting for each other,” said Cassidy with a chuckle.
Cassidy, who hails from Donalda, loves coming to the Ponoka Stampede where he gets a chance to compete in front of family and friends every year.
“I kind of consider this my home town rodeo and to have won it two times before this and have your name up on the board it means a lot to me and everybody knows about the Ponoka Stampede and all my family is here and friends from town, everybody is here,” said Cassidy.
The championship buckles in Ponoka meant Cassidy got the opportunity to walk out during Champions Night on the first day of the stampede, something very special to the cowboy and his family.
“It was neat to see the old guys who I remember from when I was real young and to see some of the photos and dad pointing out who was who and definitely a feeling of accomplishment to go out there with everyone else. Those were some of the best steer wrestlers ever, so to be along some of those guys you know you’ve done something right in your career.”