The Canadian Finals Rodeo, a fun time for all

Event pits top 12 cowboys and cowgirls in major rodeo events against each other to determine champion

BY ZACHARY CORMIER

Lacombe Express

When it comes to rodeo, there aren’t many shows like the Canadian Finals Rodeo at Northlands Coliseum in Edmonton.

The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s annual five-day long extravaganza, which held its 43rd edition last weekend, pits the top 12 cowboys and cowgirls in each of the major rodeo events against each other to determine the Canadian champion.

This year was my second time making the trip up north into Oil Country (shudder) to cover the CFR and, just like last year, the experience was one to remember.

In each of the four performances that I was able to attend, the action was fast-paced and tightly-contested making for a truly exciting experience.

And that doesn’t even begin to mention the action itself. From the barrel racing to the bull riding, every competitor brought their A-game this past weekend which made for a couple of tight races to the top.

Let me explain how the CFR works. In most sports when it’s finals time or playoff time, a team’s regular season achievements are wiped out and everyone that qualifies kind of starts fresh.

But in rodeo, it’s the exact opposite. The Canadian champion is the person who earns the most money at CPRA sanctioned rodeos throughout the year. Full stop.

That means that if the CFR didn’t exist, the season leader would always end up being the Canadian champion every year, which would be kind of boring.

That’s where the CFR comes in because the winner of each round gets $12,000, all of which counts towards the Canadian standings. Then there’s the average pot, which basically counts as an extra day as well. That’s a lot of money up for grabs.

It also provides the opportunity for a lot of movement in the standings.

For example, in the bull riding, the two-time defending champion Dakota Buttar came into the weekend in first place in the standings and was a heavy favourite to end up winning his third straight Canadian championship.

And for awhile, it looked like the Kindersley, Saskatchewan product would do it, too. Buttar led the field through the first four rounds of competition, posting scores of 87, 85.75 and 86.25. By Saturday, he had only been bucked off once, which put him in good contention for the average pot.

Then Buttar was bucked off of his final two bulls.

That allowed second-place cowboy Jordan Hansen to swoop in and steal the victory. Coming into finals week, Hansen trailed Buttar by just $30 and he quickly made up that ground by riding all but one of his bulls for the week, consistently scoring above 85 points, which is an exceptionally high score for a bull ride.

Hansen ended up winning the average pot to leapfrog Buttar into first place thanks to an 85.5 point ride on Sunday afternoon, clinching the Canadian title.

The whole thing was kind of like overtime in game seven of the Stanley Cup final, except spread out over a week. It was awesome.

Beyond the action in the arena, the CFR is fun for another reason entirely the camaraderie. There aren’t many sports where you get to have a beer with the athletes after the competition is done. Imagine if you got to sit down and talk with Sidney Crosby right after he finished playing a game. That’s kind of what it’s like.

So overall, if you’re looking for a fun way to spend your next November long weekend, why not head up to Edmonton to take in a Canadian Finals Rodeo? You might just get hooked.

zcormier@lacombeexpress.com

 

Just Posted

WATCH: The public gets a taste of robotics

Lacombe students show off their skills in Red Deer

Details of Mr. Big sting operation discussed in Castor-area triple homicides

Klaus confesses to arranging murders, says Frank pulled the trigger

Red Deer Royals see over 1,000 letters of support for funding

MP Blaine Calkins to make an appeal to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau

Man who stopped impaired school bus driver honoured

Red Deer’s Kurt Stenberg receives Lieutenant Governor of Alberta’s Award for Bravery

Missing Ontario man may be headed to Red Deer

Police are searching for Tyler Haney, who may be in the area to find work

WATCH: Lacombe voters eager to get to the polls

Lacombe voters are out today to decide who will represent their interests in the community

Nebraska approves TransCanada’s Keystone XL pipeline

Nebraska’s Public Service Commission approved TransCanada’s Keystone XL route in a close vote

Forecast calls for a snowy Canadian winter

Canadians told to brace for a ‘classic’ Canadian winter with lots of snow

Queen Elizabeth II, Prince Philip celebrate 70th anniversary

The Queen and The Duke of Edinburgh are celebrating their platinum wedding anniversary

Three-car pile-up on Northstar Drive and 58th Street

No injuries reported at Thursday afternoon incident

Charles Manson, leader of murderous ’60s cult, dead at 83

Charles Manson, whose cult slayings horrified world, dies

VIDEO: The Last Jedi is going to be the longest ‘Star Wars’ movie yet

Newest movie in the franchise will beat Star Wars: Episode II - Attack of the Clones

Dead boy’s father posts Facebook response after Appeal Court upholds conviction

David, Collet Stephan were found guilty in their son Ezekiel’s 2012 death from bacterial meningitis

Bank of Canada cautious of future rate hikes

The Bank of Canada remains cautious on future rate hikes due to low- inflation risk

Most Read