By Jasmine Franklin
It’s more than a stadium filled with cowboy hats and more than just men and women on horses – it’s the biggest rodeo in the nation and some of Ponoka’s own were participants.
Training all year and taking hard hits is all worth it for the final contestants at Edmonton’s Canadian Final Rodeo (CFR) where the best of the best compete for distinct titles in 10 different events.
“Rodeo fans were treated to a fantastic week at CFR and I would like to salute all those involved in making the event a success,” said Ken Knowles, Northlands president. “We’re absolutely thrilled that the non-stop action of CFR will thrive in Edmonton through 2016.”5
With six performances between Nov.11 and 15, 120 of the world’s best rodeo athletes competed for a record $1.27 million in accumulated prize money.
Ponoka’s own team roper, Brett Buss, was one among the talented riders to bring home a share of that $1.27 million.
The local talent
This year’s CFR was the second Buss, 20, has been involved in. Buss came home with $1, 885 after coming first in the go-round Nov. 14 with team roping partner Jeffrey Quam from Okotoks. They had a time of 4.3 seconds.
“I hope to win the Canadian title in team roping one day,” Buss said. “I love the crowds here (at CFR).”
Other local talent at the rodeo was Scott Auclair, 41, who made his first appearance at this year’s rodeo since 1997 when he was competing in bull riding.
But now that he’s back with a new game – team roping with partner Brian Larson of Medicine Hat.
“The first time we roped together was Monday (Nov. 9),” Auclair said. “We’re still trying to feel each other out but we’ll get’er.”
Auclair and Larson gave it their all but didn’t come out with the success they hoped for. Nonetheless, Auclair spoke about how great it was to be back with the rodeo family.
“Team roping is really a family event – all families come,” he said. “It’s an honor to be roping at the best rodeo in Canada.”
It looks like Auclair may not be the only family member to hit the CFR; Auclair’s three children are all involved with rodeo sports and his eldest daughter who is 19-years-old is currently in the Texas rodeo circuit.
Luke Butterfield, a 25-year-old saddle bronc competitor, brought home $9, 619 from the 2008 CFR but didn’t have quite the same luck this year. His hopes however, are still high. Butterfield turned pro in 2005 and received the Canadian novice saddle bronc champion title in 2004.
And last but not least is Tyler Pankewitz who competed in the bull riding category but had no winnings at this year’s CFR.
This year’s all-around champion and high point champion is Kyle Thomson of Black Diamond who competed in saddle bronc and steer wrestling and turned pro in 2000.
The 2009 year marked the 36th CFR with 83,904 spectators. Next year’s rodeo will be held Nov.10 to 14, 2010 at Rexall Place in Edmonton.
For more detailed rodeo results visit www.canadianfinalsrodeo.ca.