The champions in six events will be crowned this afternoon at the Calgary Stampede, and each will be awarded $100,000.
It’s a big day in Alberta, and today’s field includes world champions, Canadian champions, NFR qualifiers and previous winners of the prestigious title. Unfortunately the field doesn’t include all those that earned the right to be there.
During Saturday’s wild card round, the judges awarded the bareback riding victory to Jason Havens, who put on a whale of a spur ride for 83.5 points. It was the best spur ride of all 11 competitors, but it was also the easiest-to-ride horse. It shouldn’t have been the highest marked ride, but that’s the way it goes sometimes.
The best ride belonged to Casey Colletti, who had a second place-tying 82, the same score posted by Canadian Jake Vold. The Alberta cowboy advanced to today’s finale and a chance at the $100,000 prize by virtue of a tie-breaker. But Vold’s ride shouldn’t have been scored the same as Colletti’s. The video footage showed that Vold’s spur ride wasn’t as strong.
It’s unfortunate, especially when so much money is on the line, but it happens. Colletti, who flew back to the United States to compete between his fourth round in Pool A and the wild card round, shared the event title at the Pikes Peak or Bust Rodeo in Colorado Springs, Colo., with an 86-point ride on Friday night on Harry Vold Rodeo’s Yellow Bear – Steven Dent and Tanner Aus also earned a share of the title, and each cowboy pocketed $4,461.
Unlike the big money in Alberta, those dollars count toward the world standings. Every bit of money is needed if Colletti plans to qualify for his second straight Wrangler National Finals Rodeo. That’s much more important in the grand scheme of things.