Team ropers, Dawson and Dillon Graham proved once again why they are Champions. The Wainwright, Alberta brothers settled atop the leaderboard on a solid night of roping with a 3.9 second run – just two tenths off the arena record. This after a disappointing first round where the brothers finished out of the money.
“You know you’re not out of it if you have some bad luck,” Dawson noted philosophically. “It’s six rounds and you can make a lot happen in the last five. This is our fourth year here so we feel pretty at home.” The pair were happy with their second round cattle draw too. “The steer we had tonight was the one Logan and Keely [Bonnett] won fourth on in round one.”
Add the fact that they are competing on the Heading and Heeling Horses of the Year, Dawson on Outlaw and Dillon on Cruz and it’s no surprise to see the athletes enjoy a victory lap.
Of their season in general, which saw header, Dawson end the year 19th in the World and Dillon, 16th with over $87,000 in earnings each, Dillon commented, “We had a great year. We roped well and had a lot of confidence coming into Red Deer. We came in with a game plan and we’re going to stick to it.”
Tonight’s success has Dawson in second place in the heading standings just $1300 behind second place roper Tee McLeod with Dillon holding down first in the heeling ranks.
Zeke Thurston’s opening round saddle bronc ride silenced the Peavy Mart Centrium. That’s because the three-time and reigning World and Canadian Champion did something this or any crowd seldom sees. The champ bucked off. But on Bounce Back Thursday, Zeke was riding and the sell-out crowd was cheering as the champ posted a sensational 87.5 points on a young Calgary Stampede bronc F-53 Flying Carma.
“Yeah, I was after a little redemption after last night,” Thurston acknowledged. “I honestly don’t know what I’d do differently. I thought I did everything right last night and she still got me. But to draw that little horse tonight, Flying Carma, she was really getting it on and I just tried to help her as best I could and I guess it looked pretty good. She’s gonna be around a long time and have a great career and guys are going to win a lot of money on that horse.”
The win put Thurston back into the driver’s seat in the race for the Canadian title. In fact, even having dropped out of the average race for the time being, the second-generation bronc rider has the overall lead with second place man, Ben Andersen $6500 back and fifth in the average.
It was pay back night for barrel racer Taylor Manning as well. After a rough start that saw the reigning Champion hit two barrels, the Yellowhead County cowgirl clocked a speedy 13.86 to win the round. Lynette Brodoway maintained her hold on first place overall.
Another cowboy who evened the score on night two was Sundre bull rider, Wyatt Gleeson. The two-time Finals qualifier put his opening night buck-off in the rearview mirror and was 86.75 on Outlaw Buckers’ Afraid to Nod to collect the first place cheque of $9335. The win bumped Gleeson up to sixth in the standings, $25.000 back of season leader Coy Robbins who bucked off his first two bulls at this CFR.
3.9 seconds continued to be the magic number in the steer wrestling event. Three time and defending Champ Scott Guenthner shared the honours with Ponoka bulldogger Chance Butterfield. Season leader Dalton Massey continues to struggle, dropping to second spot – about $10,000 behind Guenthner overall.
Bareback rider Clint Laye demonstrated the consistency that earned the Cadogan, Alta cowboy the 2021 Canadian title and two NFR qualifications. Laye climbed aboard Big Stone Rodeo’s 313 Mayhem for 85.5 and the round two win.
The Smith brothers and their Tie-Down Horse of the Year, Moon, kept it all in the family on night two. While Jason earned the round one win, tonight it was Shane who enjoyed the victory lap after an 8.8 second run.
In the novice bareback, Turin, Alta cowboy Austin Broderson was 74.75 for first while Dylan Young marked 79.75 to earn the top cheque in the novice saddle bronc event. Brooks steer rider Hayden Mulvey picked up first in the junior steer riding with a 78.25 point ride.
CFR ’49 performance three starts at 6:00 pm Nov 3. If you cannot attend the event in person, sign up to follow the action on The Cowboy Channel.