Ponoka and several communities that surround it are always well represented at the Ponoka Stampede.
However on Thursday, many of those competitors weren’t simply content to just show up to be a participant. No, instead these locals put on a great display and are looking to take home a title.
The biggest on these during the afternoon performance wound up being the last cowboy to compete and that was Ponoka bull rider Wacey Finkbeiner.
Finkbeiner has had his struggles the last few years, dealing with various injuries, which made his spectacular ride on Blow Me Away take the breath away from everyone. He was nearly tossed off twice, but held on for an 88 score to take the lead in the bull riding.
The day also saw the riders get better as two more cowboys scored in the bull riding — Jason Parsonage of Maple Creek, Saskatchewan with an 87.25 and Scott Schiffner of Strathmore with an 83.75.
Meanwhile, two area cowboys shone bright in the tie down roping and currently sit first and second overall.
Clayton Smith from Eckville ran the fastest time of the Stampede so far in the afternoon performance at 8.7 seconds for a combined time of 17.9.
Not far behind is veteran Rimbey cowboy Dean Edge, who ran a 9.7 in the afternoon and is one second behind Smith in overall time.
In the steer wrestling, there is a Ponoka cowboy at the top after putting up the second fastest time of this year’s Stampede yesterday afternoon.
Craig Weisgerber not only had a blistering 4.9 second run, but it has him first in the overall with a two-run time of 11.0. Blake Knowles of Heppner, Oregon ran a 6.8 which is good enough to leave him second with a combined time of 13.9.
The local content kept things rolling in the team roping, as Lacombe’s Tyler Flewelling and partner Clint Buhler of Okotoks ran a 6.9 in the afternoon to sit second overall with a combined two-run time of 14.6. That’s just back of Nanton’s Tristin Woolsey and Denver Johnson of Strathmore who did a bit better with a 5.8 for a combined time of 12.6.
Over in the barrel racing, Ponoka’s Shayna Weir had a great run of 17.837 and sits seventh, while the top time of 17.560 set on opening day has yet to see anyone come close.
The day was a rough one in both the saddle bronc and bareback for the cowboys.
Only a pair of scores in the saddle bronc were good enough to get into the top 12 — Kolby Wanchuk of Sherwood Park with an 81 and Chase Zweifel from Paradise Hill, Saskatchewan with a 78.25 — while in the bareback, Bowden’s Ky Marshall scored an 84.5 and Dylan Bilton of Innisfail with an 82.75 are inside the top 10. Carbon’s Cole Goodine’s ride of 81.5 was also enough, but he’s on the edge of making the finals with many more cowboys to come.
Chucks night #2
A tremendous race by Mark Sutherland, to finish first in his heat and was the fastest of the night in a time of 1:15.52, saw him leapfrog to the top of the World Professional Chuckwagon Association aggregate standings following the second night of racing Thursday.