June 26, 2023 | Airdrie, AB
Pivotal Weekend For Cross-Border Competitors
Orin Larsen is a man on the move.
The Canadian-born bareback rider was on his game on the weekend as he collected two wins–SMS Equipment Pro Tour’s Sundre Pro Rodeo (89.5 points on the Calgary Stampede’s A-91 Agent Lynx for $2606) and High River’s Guy Weadick Days (86 points on C5 Rodeo’s 117 No Show Jones for $1251). The Inglis, Manitoba cowboy was 4th in the long round, second in the short go and third in the average for a $3403 haul out of the Wainwright Stampede (another Pro Tour event). And factor in a second go round win at Reno for another $5405.
The $7260 in Canadian earnings will move the 2019 Canadian Champion into the top five in the Canadian standings and the $12,465 injection into his PRCA earnings total means the 31-year-old veteran has improved his chances of keeping his NFR streak alive. That streak is at eight consecutive appearances but was in jeopardy after the thumb injury he suffered at last year’s NFR which required surgery (December 12) and kept him on the shelf until March of this year.
“Last year was tough,” Larsen admitted, “everything I worked for all year to have it end like that, yeah, it was really tough. It was a mental struggle and a physical struggle as well.”
Along with those challenges came some changes that look to be having positive results as the season’s summer run is in full force. “I made some changes to my riding style mostly because I’m not 26 years old anymore but also my mental approach. I’m looking at bareback riding not as my job but as something I get to do.”
Larsen was clear when asked about when he felt he’d got back to riding like he has throughout his career. “I’m not there yet. It’s kind of a game I play with myself—always trying to be better, chasing ghosts, feeling that I’m never really going to be back but working to be better one day at a time. And if I do the best I can, I know the winning will come with it.”
That approach has the five-time CFR qualifier in line for another shot at the CFR and a second Canadian title. “Those are goals I have every year,” he stated. With Cowboy Christmas playing a massive role in every competitor’s season and about to kick off on both sides of the 49th, Larsen laughingly admitted, “It’s going to be crazy. We don’t even know where we’re going over the next couple of weeks, but it’ll be fun and as long as there’s money coming into the bank account, I’ll be happy.”
Curtis Cassidy is sitting on 12 Canadian championships in a brilliant career that includes nine high-point titles, a couple of steer wrestling buckles and a tie down roping win as well. And a big-time performance at Wainwright makes it clear that the veteran hand is far from done. Mounted on his superstar gelding, Tyson, the second-generation Donalda, Alberta cowboy was second in the first of two early rounds, then topped the field in the short go with a smoking 4.0 second run to capture the average crown. Cassidy was 12.8 seconds on three head overall to pull over $6500 out of one of two SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tour stops on the weekend (Sundre was the second Tour event).
When the dust settled and the cash got divvied up, the lucrative effort vaulted Cassidy from 23rd place where he stood heading into the weekend to a solid top ten spot.
Other CPRA competitors who made their presence felt during weekend action included 2019 World Champion and runner-up for that year’s Canadian tie-down roping title, Haven Meged. The Miles City, Montana cowboy won a round at Wainwright, then finished second in both the short go and the average (to Shane Smith). He went on to add a ninth-place finish at Sundre for a productive $6750 stay on the Canadian side of the border. The weekend success was made all the sweeter as the recently married roper watched wife Shelby Boisjoli rack up some paydays of her own. The Canadian born breakaway roping talent split the win at Bassano Pro Rodeo (with McKenna Schauer–2.1 seconds, $1021) then added a 4th place Sundre cheque of $2027. When added to a third place in the Wainwright long go and second in both the short go and the average for an additional $2400, Boisjoli’s Canadian pay cheque was $5500. Oh, and she split the opening round, then won the finals and the average at Reno [Nevada] for $12,000 plus to go along with her husband’s first round Reno win for $5400. It was, you might say, a power week for rodeo’s newest power couple.
And on the subject of breakaway roping, Claresholm, Alberta’s Shaya Biever righted the ship on her 2023 season as she forty per-cented the field at Wainwright with runs of 2.0 seconds in the long go, 2.1 in the short go to win both rounds and the average for $3060 in take-home pay. The 2022 CFR qualifier bettered her chances of a return visit to Red Deer as the impressive Wainwright effort will move her from 19th place into the all-important top 12 in the season standings.
Next up on the CPRA schedule are Cowboy Christmas SMS Equipment Pro Tour stops, Ponoka Stampede June 26-July 2 and Williams Lake Stampede June 30-July 2 as well as two Maple Leaf Circuit rodeos, Airdrie Pro Rodeo June 30-July 1 and Raymond Stampede June 29-July 1.
For complete unofficial results go to rodeocanada.com
ABOUT CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION (CPRA)
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association with headquarters in Airdrie, AB is the official sanctioning body for Professional Rodeo in Canada. The CPRA approves 55 + events annually with a total payout exceeding $6 million. The organization oversees the SMS Equipment Pro Tour Finale each fall in Armstrong, BC, holds their premiere event–the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR)–at Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB in early November and endorses the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals as part of Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, SK. For details, please see RodeoCanada.com For Facebook and Instagram: @prorodeocanadaofficial l Twitter: @prorodeocanada
Mobile: 403 625-9225