The BC Rodeo Association held its final rodeo of the season in Quesnel (Sept. 16-18) this past weekend where the top 10 competitors from the regular season year-end standings (top six/juniors/peewees) congregated to vie for championship buckles and prize-money in their respective events.
Contestants who thrive in pressure-situations can easily rise from 10th to first in the three-performance sudden-death finals format; the only advantage given is start position (for performance No. 1) which is predetermined by the regular season year-end standings.
The Sunday-afternoon crowd at Quesnel appeared to be a little thinner than usual and although it was a fairly warm, sunny day the beer garden crowd was definitely sparse; the two earlier performances were evening shows (Friday and Saturday).
The only glitch in the weather on Sunday was a torrential downpour (with hail) that pounded down for the duration of the steer wrestling event, making it hard to see the bull dogging through the heavy curtain of rain. Crowd numbers in the covered grandstand swelled appreciably within moments.
Ryan Jasper of Riske Creek is one of the local cowboys who met with success in Quesnel this past weekend, capping off a stellar year in which he has ridden a glorious season-long hot streak that led to wins in every association he belonged to. Thus far, Jasper has won two 2011 BC High School Rodeo season/finals titles (June) in bull riding and bareback riding.
At the National High School Rodeo Finals (July in Gillette, Wyoming) he roped his way into the short round (tie down roping, top 20 in North America) where his final placing (11th) stands as the best-ever result for a BC High School roper since the start in 1969.
In August, he added the Canadian High School Bull Riding title (Virden, Manitoba) to his resume, riding all three of his bulls. In between the trips to those far-flung venues, Ryan entered BCRA rodeos and BC Bull Riding events, earning a spot in both finals.
At the BC Bull Riding Finals in Williams Lake on Sept. 10-11 he out rode numerous elite riders to claim the B.C. title/championship buckle.
That winning trend continued this past weekend in Quesnel as Jasper bested nine other B.C. bull riders to claim the 2011 BCRA Finals Bull Riding championship buckle on Sunday, despite a buck-off in the final round (no qualified rides on Sunday). Accepting congratulations and complimentary comments in Quesnel, he noted, with a wide grin, “It’s been an awesome year.”
Other local bull riders at the finals included: Evan Fuller — 2011 BCRA bull riding season leader (Riske Creek), Brady Fuller (Williams Lake) and Darnell Myers (Hanceville).
Riske Creek is also the hometown of the 2011 BCRA Finals Champion Tie Down Roper, Virgil Poffenroth, who roped his first-ever BCRA Finals title to go along with his 2011 BCRA Tie Down Season Leader saddle. Also roping in the top-10 in Quesnel; Cody Braaten (150 Mile House) and Jerry Tucker (Springhouse).
2011 BCRA Saddle Bronc Season Leader Garrett Madley of Alexis Creek added to his trophy collection in that discipline as he also won the saddle bronc finals buckle, edging out Gang Ranch cowboy Wacey Marr for the honour.
Chad Braaten of 150 Mile House ended a lucrative 2011 BCRA season by winning the 2011 BCRA Finals junior breakaway roping buckle to go with the 2011 season-leader saddles he won in junior breakaway roping and team roping (heeler). Micole Myers and Matthew Armes (both of Williams Lake) also qualified in the junior breakaway.
Also qualifying and competing in the 2011 BCRA Finals Rodeo were the following local contestants (listed in their respective events).
Bareback Riding: Greg VanWinkle (Alkali Lake) and Dane Bortolussi (Williams Lake).
Steer Wrestling: Wade McNolty (season leader, 150 Mile House), Kyle Larden (Williams Lake) and Rob Everett (150 Mile).
Open Breakaway Roping: Chad Braaten (150 Mile House), Allison Everett (150 Mile House), Bobby Denner (Alkali Lake), Rayell Bremner (Williams Lake), Bailey Poffenroth-Fuller (Riske Creek) and Rhoda Petal (Alexis Creek).
Junior Steer Riding: Blaine Manuel (150 Mile House) and Devon Robbins (Alkali Lake).
Ladies Barrels: Sandra Mulvahill (Williams Lake) and Bobby Denner (Alkali Lake).
Junior Barrels: Madison Smith (Williams Lake)
Peewee Barrels: Amy Hume (Williams Lake)
Team Roping (headers): Cody Braaten (150 Mile House), Allison Everett (150 Mile House) and Wade McNolty (150 Mile House).
Team Roping (heelers): Chad Braaten (150 Mile), Virgil Poffenroth (Riske Creek) and Myles King (150 Mile House).