RED DEER, Alberta – He just keeps racking them up.
Make it four in a row for Canadian saddle bronc riding sensation Zeke Thurston.
The defending Canadian and PRCA World Champion earned his latest title while winning $40,695 during the 49th edition of the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer, pushing his Canadian season earnings to $89,186.
The 29-year-old Big Valley, Alberta, cowboy who’s seemed bullet proof, gave fans a scare with a rare buckoff on his very first horse at the CFR, but he bounced back to win three straight go-rounds, then a third place, and tied for first with Logan Hay on his last horse Sunday with an 88.25-point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles.
“The competition is stiff,” Thurston said. “It’s never a lay-up.
“They always joke all roads to a Canadian title go through Zeke Thurston, but I really wish they wouldn’t say that, because it’s not a gimme. It’s anybody’s game when you get out here. They threw me off the first one, and I was just lucky enough to draw good and put together a few more good rides and got myself back in the thick of things.”
The win etches Thurston into the Canadian pro rodeo record books, as the first to win four consecutive saddle bronc championships, surpassing the three each won by Kenny McLean and Mel Coleman.
“I really don’t know what to say about that,” Thurston said. “That’s pretty elite company right there. This is a bunch of outstanding bronc riders, and great horses. I can’t say enough about all of them. I love the competition and a good battle.”
Cheering Thurston on was his family, including the newest addition, baby girl Maggie Mae, born Oct. 26.
“It’s really special. We just had our third. To be able to share this with your family – there’s no better feeling,” Thurston said. “That’s what the memories are all about. It’s not the buckles, it’s not the money. It’s sharing those moments with your loved ones, and just enjoying them.”
Thurston will head to his ninth Wrangler NFR next month, where the possibility of repeating last year’s two country sweep, and a fourth PRCA world title, is there.
“It would be really nice to ride this wave down to Vegas and keep things rolling and do our deal,” he said. “Hopefully we draw good and put together some good rides.”
The highest CFR and season money winners were team ropers Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith, who won the average and the Canadian title, picking up $62,838 with a record fast 24.3 seconds on six head during the Finals, for a season tally of $91,494. Other Canadian champions at the $1.4 million dollar event include all-around champion Logan Spady ($22,861 CFR; $60,894 Season); bareback rider Clint Laye, 516.5 on six head ($53,262 CFR; Season $90,894); bull rider Edgar Durazo, 437.25 on five rides ($46,320 CFR; Season $82,467); steer wrestler Scott Guenthner, 32.9 seconds on six runs ($42,729 CFR; Season $73,326); tie-down roper Haven Meged, 53.8 seconds on six runs ($45,123 CFR; Season $82,482); barrel racer Lynette Brodoway, 88.23 seconds on six runs ($25,016 CFR; $72,831 Season); breakaway roper Shaya Beiver, 7.6 seconds on three runs ($13,933 CFR; Season $32,444).
Courtesy of PRCA