Amateur rodeo athletes tried their skills last weekend during the Foothills Cowboys Association (FCA) rodeo event at the Calnash Ag Event Centre.
Held over two days, Sept. 23 and 24, the rodeo had all the rides you would expect to see: bareback riding, novice saddlebronc and bareback, bull riding, tie-down roping, barrel racing, steer wrestling and more. It was the second year at the ag event centre, explained organizer Trish Friis.
“It’s their last rodeo of the regular season,” she explained.
The top 10 out of the FCA will then head to finals Thanksgiving long weekend, said Friis, who is excited to see this last rodeo give cowboys and girls one last chance to get their points up.
“This could change it. We have enough money up in each event. There’s $1,000 that it could change the standings,” she explained.
This second time around Friis says operations with the ag centre ran smoothly with staff aware of what is needed. “We actually have more contestants, which is a feather in our cap.”
There were 38 more contestants compared to last year. Helping make it work was Vold Audio providing musical entertainment during the event.
The FCA is a stepping stone for would-be professional rodeo athletes and helps give cowboys the much needed experience to move them up in the rodeo world. “If we don’t have amateur rodeo, we don’t have professional rodeo,” offered Friis.
Another addition this year was a cabaret with Lonesome Doves playing after the Saturday performance. Friis expected them to have a busy weekend. Also weekend a horse and wagon ride was available to kids.
She added that the Ponoka Agricultural Society is a big supporter of the rodeo, which helped ensure it went off well.
There was one close call at the Sept. 24 performance during the bull riding event. A contestant from Calgary took a horn or hoof during the ride. He was later taken by STARS Air Ambulance that night to an Edmonton hospital where he was treated for a broken jaw and broken ribs.
However, it is believed he is on the road to recovery.
This will be the 61st year of the FCA finals.
First: Wyatt Thurston, Big Valley with 73 points
Second: Kole Ashbacher, Arrowwood, 69
Third: Cole Vinson, Brule, 68
First: Branden Dillman, Rimbey with 78 points
Second: Jessey Lannin, LRA, 74
Third: Justin Myers, Lacombe, 72.5
First: K’S Thomson, Lundbreck, 80.5
Second: Griffin Smeltzer, Claresholm, 79
Third: Italo Aguiliar, Edmonton, 78
First: Jeff Heggie, Cardston, 8.8 seconds
Second: Scott Auclair, Ponoka, 9.1 seconds
Third: Wesley Kingdon, Rocky Mountain House, 10.2 seconds
First: Jeff Heggie, Cardston, 5.1 seconds
Second: Taylor Weinberger, Millarville, 5.8 seconds
Third: Troy Pollitt, Bentley, 7.1 seconds
First: Shannon Blakely, Edmonton, 17.333 seconds
Second: Rachel Jones, Irma, 17.592 seconds
Third: Kerri Babcook, Warburg, 17.663 seconds
First/second: Lance Isaak, Arras and Rocky Ross, Botha; Lane Palichuk, Seven Persons and Colin Freimark, Calgary
Third: Lane Purdie, Delburne and Trey Purdie, Red Deer
Junior barrel racing:
First: Taylor Manning, Edson, 17.428 seconds
Second: Justine Elliot, Lacombe, 17.652 seconds
Third: Jewel Pollock, Rocky Mountain House, 17.774 seconds
Novice horse riding:
First: Logan Young, Caroline, 64 points
Second: Colton McKinney-bareback, LRA, 63
Third: K’s Thomson, Lundbreck, 62
Team Ranch Rodeo results from Sept. 25:
First: Y Nott with Jim Finkbeiner, Kristy Hill, Carissa Raugust and Kale Peterson
Second: R Bar Ranch with Will Mackinaw, Kyle Keates, Craig Vancuren and Frank Gillard
Third: Pole River Ranch with Murray, Joanna, Laurel and Ralph Pole