Kaycee Feild took the high point and won the buckle July 1 during the showdown challenge in the bareback competition

Kaycee Feild took the high point and won the buckle July 1 during the showdown challenge in the bareback competition

Jaw-dropping rodeo action during showdown

A week of serious rodeo action brought some of the best cowboys and cowgirls to Ponoka during the Ponoka Stampede

A week of serious rodeo action brought some of the best cowboys and cowgirls to Ponoka during the Ponoka Stampede, but in the end only one rodeo athlete would be able to earn the coveted Ponoka Stampede jacket and buckle.

The Showdown, July 1, was one of the most anticipated events of the week, pitting the best four cowboys in each category for a final chance at money and glory.

The most anticipated ride of the night was seeing Ponoka’s Jake Vold attempt to defend his title from last year in the bareback challenge. Vold was second overall in the average next to Utah’s Kaycee Field.

Vold had a tough challenge barely holding on to his horse Big John with a score of 85.25. However, he could not keep up with Field who won the high score riding Dancing Queen with 87.75 points. Field says it took a second for him to gain control of his horse. “After I did that, it was a lot of fun.”

Competing in Ponoka was a much-coveted win for Field who last competed here in 2009.

“You have a little different feeling when you’re climbing on the bucking horse here,” explained Field.

Tuf Cooper, from Decatur, TX, found himself the winner of tie-down roping with a time of 7.3, just under one second faster than his brother Clif.

“I knew what I had to do. I had a great calf. The horses are amazing here,” stated Cooper.

He won in Ponoka in 2010 and says the Ponoka Stampede is always a great stop for him.

Taos Muncy, from Corona NM, took the high score of 88.25 riding Spanish Pair in the saddlebronc challenge. Muncy won in 2011 and said he felt lucky to win a second time. “It’s unbelievable. It’s one of the great rodeos that I love.”

A quick time of 4.10 earned Dru Melvin of Hebron NE the champion steer wrestler buckle in Ponoka. “I got a good start…I just happened to be faster than the rest of the guys here.”

The long-score run that steers head down makes for a faster ride for cowboys and can get their heart pumping.

“It’s cowboy stuff. It’s fun,” said Melvin.

Winning in Ponoka has jumped Melvin into the top third spot in the Rodeo Canada standings in the season as at July 3. He is evaluating the season to determine whether he should try to compete at enough Canadian rodeos to earn him a spot at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Kissimmee, FL native Kaley Bass took the barrel racing buckle with a time of 17.156. She was pleased with her horse’s performance. “Just growing up with a horse that you know, it makes things easier.”

Ponoka’s Levi Simpson as header and Ryon Tittel as the healer were watched closely during the team roping challenge but they could not beat the 6.40 seconds time of Camrose brothers Brett and Justin McCarroll.

Justin has won three championships in Ponoka but enjoyed winning with his brother who was his healer.

This was Brett’s first time winning the Ponoka championship. “This is an incredible rodeo. It’s top notch in the world. I’m blessed to come here.”

Cody Teel was the young 22-year-old Kountze, TX bull rider who was the only one not bucked off and his score was an impressive 88.50 points. “It was an awesome experience. First year here in Ponoka.”

The Ponoka Stampede was his first Canadian rodeo and he wants to return next year. Teel was also pleased to come up with a win after three months off due to injuries.

“When you get a big win, it’s all worth it,” he added.

Vold leads the bareback earnings in the www.rodeocanada.com website with $20,297.91. Ponoka is well represented on the current standings in many categories. Rimbey’s Dean Edge was unable to make it to the final four in tie-down roping, his efforts landed him fifth place in the Rodeo Canada standings.