Calgary – The odds are long and the stakes are high when it comes to Wild Card Saturday at the Calgary Stampede. To those who rise to the challenge, it is a final opportunity to qualify for Championship Sunday.
The crowd roared when a Stampede favorite finally found his groove in the steer wrestling, just in the nick of time. Curtis Cassidy had been shut out all week, but finally posted a 4.0 second run to earn his Wild Card Saturday Qualification.
“Big sigh of relief,” admitted Cassidy, a two-time Canadian champion, who collected $5000 for second place. “Now I’ve got to start getting pressured up for tomorrow. Anxiety all weekend!”
Will Lummus was equally excited to emerge from Saturday’s action, getting a $6000 bonus to boot.
“It’s awesome,” said Mississippi cowboy. “I had some tough luck in Pool A, won a little bit, but it didn’t really go like I wanted my first Calgary to go, so this turns it around.”
The high man in the bareback riding was an Alberta cowboy who grew up in Calgary, so Jacob Stemo was extra pumped to find out he’d get a chance to ride Championship Sunday in his first appearance in the open competition.
Even better - he made it there on an old friend of bareback riders everywhere, a horse called Gold Dust.
An 88 point result gave him the number one spot of the day and $6000.
“She felt great, like I could get my timing. She’s not very big, but she’s really powerful. I was just lucky enough today to match her.” He said, adding, “I was focused. My (Stampede) goal was to get into the top four, and today I had to go and execute my job perfectly to get in there. I expected to win today, honestly. I’m just happy and it’s been a great week at Calgary. I can’t believe it.”
Mason Clement’s momentum stayed in high gear, and the go-round win Friday enabled his 87 mark Saturday on Witless Margie, equaled by both Ky Marshall and Colin Adams, to be enough for the second qualifying bareback spot. All three riders got $4000 each.
“Wild Card isn’t an easy round. I know that, and that horse darn sure brought it,” said the Utah cowboy. “I know I wanted to match him jump for jump and have a strong markout and a strong finish, so I could finish in the top two, and it played out just right.”
Talk about sisterhood support! An amazing story played out in the barrel racing, where Callahan Crossley bested the field in 17.37 seconds, followed closely by Amberleigh Moore with a 17.50, both Oregon cowgirls.
“That was Amber’s horse, Ducky,” explained Crossley. “It says a lot about a person when they will let you on their backup horse, a backup they know can beat their own horse, when you don’t have something to ride.”
“He got his chance to shine on the big stage, and I’m as proud of her as I am for me,” smiled Moore. “I’m a proud ‘mom’ to get to see him go out and do that.”
Moore had made the decision to stick with her great horse Paige, and it paid off too, as she earned $5000, compared to Crossley’s $6000.
Cody DeMoss likes coming to Calgary and it shows. The veteran saddle bronc rider strapped on a stylish spur ride aboard Little Muffin to chalk up a whopping 90.5 score, which proved untouchable on Wild Card Saturday, worth $6000 for the Louisiana man.
DeMoss, who’s 38 now, took home the Stampede championship in 2007, and he’d really like to do it again.
“I’ve been here dang near every year, been close a couple more times. So I’m just glad to be able to come back. This is a great rodeo.”
Also advancing from the Wild Card in saddle bronc riding is Sterling Crawley, who marked 88 on Ultimate Cash, edging his brother Jacobs out of the second spot by half a point.
“This rodeo’s been good to me in the past and I’d sure like to get to play until that last four round,” said Crawley.
Garrett Green made his debut appearance at the Calgary Stampede a good one when he rode a bull called Son of Odin to 88 points, which was best of the bunch Saturday, and worth $6000.
“I’ve been on the bubble for getting to the Stampede the last few years now, and just haven’t got the call. I’m really happy they give the guys another chance to come in through the Wild Card round,” Said the cowboy from Meeting Creek, adding, “To come in and get a round win sure feels good and give you some confidence coming in Sunday.”
Defending Stampede bull riding champion Marcos Gloria, the Brazilian living in Edmonton, gave himself a chance to make it two in a row when he nabbed the other Wild Card spot with an 86.5 on Speak Easy, for $5000.
For the second year in a row, the two ropers to secure Wild Card spots in the tie-down event were Timber Moore and Matt Shiozawa, both past Stampede champions. They had identical times of seven seconds flat on their runs, earning $5500 each.
“I think Timber and I have an advantage maybe because we’re veterans and know how to stop the clock,” said Shiozawa.
“Whether you’re first or last you’ve got to go as fast as you can,” said Moore. “You just make the best run you can and just hope it was good enough for that day. Luckily today it all worked out for me.”
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and promotes western heritage and values. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
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Communications Manager, Western Events and Agriculture