The top of the crop of team ropers were in Ponoka on the weekend for a pair of high-profile events in Ponoka.
The Calnash Ag Event Centre played host to both the Team Roping Canada (TRC) and the World Series of Team Roping (WSTR) competitions from May 5 to 7, which saw the best team ropers around — including Ponoka’s own and World Champ Levi Simpson — taking part.
The TRC ran three draws on Friday followed by two more Saturday with teams hoping to earn a spot at the finals slated for Calgary on Sept. 15 to 17. There will be another TRC qualifier hosted at the Ag Event Centre on July 1 and 2 during the Ponoka Stampede.
For Friday’s two qualifier draws and the one on Saturday, any pairing that managed to snag the steer on all three of their runs earned a spot in the finals.
Capturing the top spot in the first qualifier was the duo of Paul Bonnett and Dirk McCarroll with a three-run time of 35.54 seconds, followed in second by Lorne Norton and Fred Kugler less than two seconds back. Bonnett teamed up with Jesse Hatala to take third with a combined run time of 42.06 with Kugler and Cory Jacobson finishing fourth by only seven-one hundredths of a second. Fifth at 42.88 went to Les McKenzie and R.J. Goss while sixth at 42.96 was Stacy Knull and Ken Bell.
The second qualifier was won by Steven Cutter and Rodney Wold with a time of 29.30, while Hatala and Gordon Gulick ended up second at 30.38. Carson Powlik and and Chris Cutter were nearly a second back in third with Paul and Kash Bonnett fourth about six-tenths of a second behind while George Schreiner and Sam Johnson wound of fifth with a 33.07.
In Saturday’s final qualifier, Hatala and Lance Brown took first with a 25.20 followed by Colin Gorr and Mitch Chapin with a 25.26. Third, with a 25.50, was Skylar Hay and Kadon Knapp with Marvin Kleinbert and Kelly Hiltz fourth, five seconds further back.
The other two events, one each Friday and Saturday, saw ropers qualify for the Super 10 and Dynamic Dozen finales in Calgary.
Friday night was won by Barry Black and Kyle Bell with second going to Greg Wilson and Ro Spiers. Roger Love and Ernie Willis took third with the final spot going to Paul and Kash Bonnett.
On Saturday, just three spots were up for grabs with Tracy Duce and Todd Gallais taking first, second going to Pat Griffin and Travis Gallais and third to Tim Edwards and Hiltz.
Meanwhile, qualification for the WSTR took to the arena Saturday afternoon and Sunday.
The first of four qualifiers was captured by the pair of Murray Linthicum and Kent Drake with Ryley Roy and Scott Auclair taking home the second qualifier. The duo of Nick Teixeira and Jace Lambert carried off top spot in the third qualifier of the day, while the final qualifier was won by the pair of Jeremy Ross and Don DePaoli.
On Sunday, Raymond Havens and Jim Gunsch rode away with the win the first qualifier of the day. The second qualifier was captured by Troy Helmig and Colin Gamroth, while Paul Bonnett and Dirk McCarroll took the top spot in the final qualifier.
The WSTR Canadian finals is set for August.