The rodeo season got off on the right hoof for a local cowboy.
Jake Vold, the three time Canadian bareback champ, earned a healthy $25,000 USD after finishing second at The American — one of the top events on the circuit south of the border and the world’s richest one-day rodeo event. It’s also the only rodeo where the champions from the four professional rodeo associations are invited to compete against each other.
Held at AT&T Arena in Dallas, Vold scored an 89 on Virgil in the shootout round of four, after posting the highest score, an 88.5, in the final. As the reigning Canadian title holder, Vold automatically qualified for the final.
Indiana cowboy Tim O’Connell, who was third in the final with 85.75, topped Vold in the shootout with a 90.25 to walk off with the $100,000 top prize.
Vold, who wound up second at the National Finals Rodeo in December, stated he was looking to make it back to the NFR this year. That means earning a cheque in more events in the U.S. He most recently split top prize money at the Dixie National Rodeo earlier last month.
There were a couple of other area cowboys who competed at The American, but none were able to bring away a payday.
Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and team roping partner Jeremy Buhler got a bye into the final as the 2016 World Champions, but couldn’t make it work and wound up with a no time on their run.
Meanwhile, saddle bronc world champion Zeke Thurston of Big Valley missed the shootout by a whisker, scoring an 84 on his ride with the final top four riding having scored an 85.75. Also in the saddle bronc, Meeting Creek’s Layton Green made the final though could only manage an 82.5 in his ride after qualifying second in the semi-final with a two-ride total of 162.75.