It may not be his first rodeo, but it is Brad Pedersen’s first Horse Cutting Finals Open win.
The Lacombe, Alberta cowboy previously made the Calgary Stampede Open Finals, winning the reserve once, but Friday’s win has him smiling ear-to-ear after an impressive score of 225 in the Nutrien Western Event Centre.
“Any time you can win here it’s great,” he said, after hauling in a cheque for $10,820 for his big win. “Definitely excited about this win. It’s always fun in front of the Calgary Stampede crowd, especially in the finals.”
The Calgary Stampede Cutting Horse Competition showcases the top cutting horses in the world and offers spectators an opportunity to cheer on the horses and riders as they compete.
In a cutting competition, each horse and rider are faced with a herd of cattle and two and a half minutes on the clock. Working together they must select a single cow to move out of or ‘cut’ from the herd. Once the cow has been selected and removed from the herd the rider drops their reins, saying to the horse – take it from here! The pair must then demonstrate their ability to keep the cow from returning to the herd. The horse uses great strength and agility as it mimics the movements of the cow, always staying one hoof ahead. Once the cow has lost interest and looks away, the team may re-enter the herd for a fresh cow to cut.
Pedersen, who has been riding cutting horses competitively for 30 years, credits six-year-old mare Downtown Calico, for the big win.
“We call her Paris. She’s just a real sweetheart, a very kind horse and just fun to show. She goes out there and does her job all the time. She was awesome today, never wavered at all.”
Pedersen’s closest competition was Cody Smith of Calgary, who finished with a respectable score of 221.5 with horse High Brow Clay 012. He earned $8,640 while third place finisher Travis Rempel of Surrey, B.C., earned $6,460 riding Dogs Money Honey with a score of 221.
In the Non-Pro Finals, 23 year old Emma Reinhardt of Irricana, Alberta earned the biggest payday of her career, raking in $11,084 with a score of 223.5. She and her seven-year-old mare, Miss Smoke is Smooth, bested seven rivals to earn the first place spot.
Reinhardt won the youth competition in 2008 when she was 12 years old, but couldn’t be more excited about her big win on Friday. It’s especially sweet considering the Calgary Stampede is giving special recognition to women in western culture this year.
“It feels pretty awesome to win it,” she said, adding “you definitely feel some empowerment.”
As for her winnings, Reinhardt says she will likely pay off some student loans – or get another horse, of course.
“This has been huge for me.”
While she may not consider going pro anytime soon, she is thankful for learning from the best, including cutting horse heavy hitter Dustin Gonnet, who she thanked along with her team and parents.
“It’s great to have their support,” Reinhardt added.
For full results from the Mercuria NCHA World Series of Cutting, please visit ag.calgarystampede.com/results.
-Submitted by the Calgary Stampede