Ryan Jasper

Ryan Jasper

Bull riding finals start Saturday at Harvest Fair

Sept. 10 and 11 will see an exciting addition to the Williams Lake Harvest Fair — the 2011 British Columbia Professional Bullriders Association Finals.

Sept. 10 and 11 will see an exciting addition to the Williams Lake Harvest Fair — the 2011 British Columbia Professional Bullriders Association Finals.

The event is slated to feature the top-20 contestants from the season’s standings competing in four rounds of competition over two days for more than $14,000 in prize money and the finals championship buckle.

The contestants have been on the road since early May where the season started in Kimberly, and riders just completed the regular season in Smithers at the Bulkley Valley Exhibition on Aug. 25.

The BCPB has finalized the roster for the upcoming finals and, as always, the Cariboo is well represented.

This year’s season leader is the well-known Steve Hohman of Quesnel, who had another great season staying healthy all year and amassing 8,526 points in the standings.

The race, however, was tight until the final weekend with Jeff Roney of Smithers (7,203) and Evan Fuller and Ryan Jasper of Williams Lake (6,326 and 6,096) following closely behind.

Jasper has, perhaps, been the surprise of the season. Having just finished high school last June Jasper elected to chase the high school rodeo circuit this spring instead of going directly to the BCPB circuit.

This gave all the other competitors a 60-day head start. Jasper, however, used his time well and in August was named the Canadian High School Bull Riding Champion in Virden, Man.

Since the end of the high school campaign Jasper has returned to the BCPB with a hot streak that has moved him all the way to fourth in the season standings. And with more than $6,000 in rodeo earnings in the past 30 days he has become one of the guys with a great chance at the finals this weekend.

The event, for spectators, will feature bull riding that is front and centre for the competitors and spectators, alike. Each day will see all 20 contestants compete twice. The first go round has 20 bulls that the contestants will have fun with, as they are all good quality animals but a little more user friendly than the bulls in the second round.

The second go round bulls will be the rankest 20 bulls in the draw. Among them will be Van Helsing, Terraforce and Teddy who, between the three of them, have been ridden two times in the past two years.

This year’s master of ceremonies will be Tyson Pietsch of Buck Lake, Alta. Pietsch has been the rodeo announcer for the Williams Lake Stampede for several years and is looking forward to returning to Williams Lake.

The event will also see Dennis Halstead of Calgary return to Williams Lake for the first time in a couple of years as the clown and barrel man. Halstead is widely regarded as one of the funniest guys on the Canadian rodeo scene and in recent years has been sought out by many of the largest rodeos in the U.S.

Halstead was recently the first Canadian to work the National Circuit Finals in Pocatello, Idaho. And with stops all over the U.S. this summer, this is only his second appearance in Canada in the past 60 days.

The action gets underway both days at 4 p.m. at the Williams Lake Stampede arena.

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