Showdown salutes 2012 season leaders
The Lakeland Rodeo Association’s Showdown 2012 got underway Thursday night with a salute to the cowboys and cowgirls who topped the standings after a long and grueling season that saw a number of rough stock competitors put out of the action through injury.
Showdown finalists ringed the arena as Cassidy Zahar of Vilna led the singing of O Canada and a rider paraded the Canadian flag. Then LRA president Dean Lawes took the microphone to call forward the season leader in each event to accept an elaborate trophy buckle.
Kyle Golinsky of Stony Plain topped the Bareback Riding for the Xtreme Oilfield Technology buckle, while Jerry Stojan of Sexsmith came forward to pick up the Steer Wrestling buckle sponsored by Benoit Oilfield Construction. Up-and-coming cowboys Coleman Kelts of Consort, in Novice Horse Riding, Lonnie West of Cadogan in Junior Bull Riding and Kagan Schmidt of Barrhead in Junior Steer Riding accepted buckles sponsored by Signs and Graphics by Foss and Sons, Lindsay Carlier and Lawes Oilfield Services, respectively.
Rebecca Beebe of Islay took home the Young’s Consulting buckle in the Ladies Barrels, while her junior counterpart, Valerie Frey of Athabasca, accepted a buckle from Trach Rodeo Ltd. Tie Down Roping leader Chris Verhun of Thorsby accepted the St. Paul Journal buckle, while the Miller Rodeo buckle went to Saddle Bronc leader Mark O’Dempsey of Mayerthorpe as he began his quest for a sixth LRA championship.
Team Roping header Murdock Keith of Westlock qualified for the On Site Oil buckle and his heeler partner, Kody Potts of Barrhead, for the C. R. Franklin buckle. Billy West of Cadogan was the final recipient, picking up the Bull Riding season leader buckle from Red Road Rodeo/Incredibull.
Jesse Lawes had honour of presenting the Cowboy of the Year award, standing in for his brother Casey, who won the award in 2011. This year’s award went to a man who in earlier years was a steer wrestler and bullrider before moving on to become a rodeo judge, a position he has held for the past 25 years. Lawes presented Butch Matkea of Calahoo with the Cowboy of the Year plaque, with Terry Leslie of the Fellowship of Christian Cowboys presenting Matkea with a tooled leather Bible.
“I’m lost for words,” Matkea said. “It’s a great honour. Thanks to all who supported me over the years.”
Then it was time to rodeo, as the best of the best pitted their efforts against aggressive rodeo stock and the clock.
The first of five performances saw season leader Kyle Golinsky edge past runner-up Ryley Gilbertson of Hughenden by just half a point, Golinsky marking a 74 on Miller Rodeo’s Awesome Lady while Gilbertson scored 73.5 on Miller’s Miss Morgan.
Steer wrestlers were plagued by barrier penalties, Rudy Nieborg of Rimbey topping the go round with a rapid 4.3-second run, just ahead of Scott Guenther of Consort with a 4.4 run.
Thursday was not an auspicious start for the Novice Horse Riders, with Bradford Trenerry of Provost the only successful rider of the four, scoring a 69 on Miller’s KISN 103.9. Three of four Junior Bull Riders turned in scores, with Austin Nash of Sangudo taking the lead with a 72. In the Junior Steer Riding, Linden Rohloff of Grande Prairie marked a 75 on a re-ride to tie for the lead with Kreo Ziemmer of Mayerthorpe.
Lorna Kiff of Onoway came into the Ladies’ Barrels in sixth spot, and came out of the first performance the leader with a time of 13.313, closely followed by Renee LeClercq of Holden with a 13.349 and local favourite Ruby Braconnier of Elk Point with a 13.452. Taylor Babcook of Warburg led the Junior Barrels go-round with 13.701.
Wily calves presented a challenge for the Tie Down Ropers, with Murdock Keith’s 9.3-second run taking the lead. Keith and partner Kody Potts had less success in the Team Roping with a one-heel catch increasing what would have been a second-place time of 6.3 to 11.3, moving them into third behind teens Grady Branden, from Barrhead, and Dylan Knapp, from Mayerthorpe, with a 6.1, and Tel Flewelling of Lacombe and Tyrel Gordon of Ponoka, with 8.4.
A hard-fought Saddle Bronc go-round, with three re-rides for Jeremy Tennant of Provost, ended in a 72.5 point tie between season leader Mark O’Dempsey, riding Miller’s Top Hand and Steed Cline of Ponoka, aboard John Duffy’s Cracklin’ Rosie.
The final score was Bulls 6 – Cowboys 4 in the Bull Riding, where season leader Billy West led the go with a breathtaking 77-point ride on Thompson Rodeo’s Nothing Else Matters.
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