Outside it was feeling more like summer, while inside the Spring Thaw was entertaining the large crowd.
The annual Cinch Spring Thaw Timed-Event Challenge weekend was a big success last weekend March 25 to 27 at the Calnash Ag Event Centre, attracting a huge number of competitors plus a big crowd to the feature event — the Saturday night showdown. Overall, there was more than $84,000 shoveled out in prize money to the competitors.
The showdown features some of the top amateur and professional cowboys and cowgirls in the championship rounds of tie-down roping, barrel racing, junior barrel racing, steer wrestling and team roping.
A pair of local competitors – Logan Bonnett and Devon Gerwatoski – made the big show in tie-down roping. Unlike one-third of the cowboys in that final round, both Bonnett and Gerwatoski were able to post a time. Unfortunately though, Bonnett struggled out of the gate and put up a 12.8 second run for a two-run total of 25.7 leaving him well back of the leaders, while Gerwatoski’s second run — at 11.8 — was more than three seconds slower than his first, giving him a total time of 20.4 seconds and just outside the top five.
Logan Spady took home the title with a total time of 18.1 seconds following a second run of 9.7 seconds.
In the steer wrestling, Ponoka’s own Brock Butterfield came in the final round with the second best time of 4.8 seconds. However, his second round steer took a bit of a sidestep and Butterfield wasn’t able to adjust quickly enough and wound up with a no time. The winner on the night was Denver Roy, who posted a 4.3 second run for a 9.2 total time.
In the open team roping, it was beginning to look like the first pairing to post a time would be the winner as the first four teams weren’t able to catch the heels, winding up with a no time.
And as it turned out, the next two teams ended up going 1-2 in the event separated by just one-tenth of a second.
Steele Depaoli and Kasper Roy put up a time of 4.8 seconds to go with their first run of 4.9, putting them in a great spot with a total time of 9.7. That was until Travis Gallais and Brett McCarroll – who also had a first run 4.9 – stepped up next to post a 4.7 second run that would eventually earn them the victory.
Ponoka’s Bonnett and Klay Whyte from Bashaw entered the final with the second best first run time – 4.6 seconds – but wound up breaking the barrier plus struggling to corral the wayward calf to post a second run time of 18.5 seconds.
The winners of the #12 team roping were Jesse Hatala and Mitch Chapin, who were middle of the pack with a 6.7 after the first run, but put up the best time of the final round at six seconds flat to finish with a 12.7 total time.
The open barrel racing saw Briana Baudin on her horse Martha’s Ebony Moon win the 1D crown with a run of 17.42 seconds, just 0.15 seconds ahead two riders that wound up tied for second. In the 2D event, Cynda Didier ran a blistering time of 17.72 with her horse Rev N High. Ponoka’s Marguerite Loewen on Miss LC finished in second nearly half a second back, while Kayley Blair of Ponoka and her horse Red Oteo Bar were fifth about eight-tenths behind the winner. Meanwhile, the 3D event was taken by Pamela Jacobs on JT Sizzle Smokey Bee with a time of 18.01.
The junior barrel racing 1D event was won by Jewel Pollock on Request A Pepper with a time of 17.88, the 2D event went to Andee Utri on He’s A Royal Chance with a time of 18.58 and the 3D event was won by Kelly Cholach on Hickory with a time of 18.94.
In addition to the feature show on Saturday night, there were several other events throughout the weekend. This included the Barrels for Buckles ladies barrel racing event Friday.
Baudin won the 1D category, Bailey Hines took top spot in the 2D event and Kelli McLeod finished first in the 3D category. Meanwhile, the 1D junior event went to Bliss Peters with Quincy Squair taking the 2D category and Aubrey Ross placing first in the 3D. The PeeWee 1D event went to Chyanne Fast with the 3D category taken by Oakley Tonneson.
On Sunday, there was more team roping with the pairing of Walker Galloway and Dawson Graham winning the event with a total time of 19.09 seconds on three runs, followed more than three seconds back by the pair of Gord Gulick and Justin Potts.