After a summer of soaraway success, three Maple Creek cowboys are riding high in the national rankings … and ready to compete in next month’s prestigious Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer.
A glance at the 2022 Pro Rodeo Canada standings should make everyone in Maple Creek glow with pride.
Bull rider Jared Parsonage and novice bareback rider Blake Link are number one, while Kahl Wasilow is second in steer riding, reinforcing the community’s reputation as a rodeo powerhouse defying its size.
Only the top 12 contestants from money won at Canadian rodeos qualify for the CFR, a world-class event bringing together the best contestants in the country.
Excitement among the Maple Creek trio is building. Jared, who won a regular-season record, $59,066.14, during this year’s Pro Rodeo Canada campaign, has competed multiple times in the finals and is seeking to repeat his 2021 triumph when he emerged a triple winner.
As well as the Canadian Bull Riding Championship, he won the Aggregate and the All-Around.
“So far, I’ve had the best season ever,” the 29-year-old said. “I hope I can continue that good form in the finals.”
It will be the first time since 2006 that a bull rider will wear the No. 1 back number at the CFR.
The last bull rider to wear that number was two-time Canadian champion, Scott Schiffner. As defending champion, Parsonage hopes to emulate Schiffner.
His closest competition is Cadogan, Alberta’s Lonnie West. Also in the field are 2019 winner Edgar Durazo, 2016 champion Jordan Hansen and Dakota Buttar, who returns to the CFR for the first time since 2016, the year after her won back-to-back Canadian titles.
For Kahl and Blake, the CFR will be a novel experience.
“I’m really excited about qualifying,” said Kahl, 15. “It will be fun.”
“I’m probably having my best year yet,” said 21-year-old Blake, fresh from his bareback win at the Canadian Cowboys Association Finals in Saskatoon.
There will be no shortage of home-town support for the trio: a big family contingent, made up parents, grandparents and siblings, will be in the stands.
The CFR takes place at the Peavey Mart Centrium in Westerner Park, Red Deer, Alberta between 8am on Wednesday, November 2 and 9am on Sunday, November 6.
Over the five days, cowboys and cowgirls will compete in six action-packed performances for the top prize.
The events include bareback, steer wrestling, team roping, saddle bronc, tie-down roping, ladies barrel racing, and bull riding.
Fans will also enjoy junior steer riding, novice saddle and bareback riding and breakaway roping.
Outside the arena, a host of activities has been organized: a kick-off breakfast on Wednesday, trade shows, parties, a show honouring First Nations, concerts, horse sale, buckle presentations, and Cowboy Church on Sunday.
Each day has a different theme: Wednesday, Plaid for Dad; Thursday, Ladies Night – Boots & Bling; Friday, Vintage; Saturday, Canadian Tuxedo; Sunday, Championship Gold & Red.
The event culminates at 2pm on Sunday with champion presentations.