Sandra Mason, of Spruce Grove, Alberta, was a last-minute substitution to compete in the 10 Class – Team Cattle Penning competition at the Calgary Stampede and she wound up splitting the top prize of $37,398 on Saturday with a pair of young riders from Stillwater, Oklahoma.
“I got subbed in for a gentleman that couldn’t come from the States, so I just got on the team,” said Mason, who teamed up with McKenzie and Jackson Lesh to compile the best four-round time of 133.36 seconds. “I’ve never ridden with them before and what a privilege, because these guys are awesome. This is incredible.”
Team cattle penning is a show of athleticism and skills as horse and rider square off against the herd instincts of cattle.
The fast-paced event gives a team of three riders on horseback 60 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30 and get them into a 20’ x 24’ pen at the opposite end of the arena. Teamwork is the key to success with all three riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen.
The Calgary Stampede Team Cattle Penning Championships features teams vying for championship buckles in four different classes, each determined by the skill and experience of the competitors.
Although he’s only 12 years old, Jackson Lesh is already a seasoned Team Cattle Penning competitor at the Calgary Stampede.
“I’ve been here twice in the Open with my mom and dad (Collette and Josh) and the 14 with my dad and Cody Ward,” Jackson said. “I won twice last year, the Open with my mom and dad and the 14 with Cody and my dad.”
After finishing third in the Open on Friday with his parents, Jackson then teamed up with his sister McKenzie and Mason to post times of 34.49 and 39.41 in Friday’s third and fourth go-rounds of the 10 Class competition to win his third belt buckle in two years.
“It’s not easy,” he said. “It’s who I ride with and how we practise. Practise makes perfect. I guess we had luck.”
McKenzie, 16, also competed at the Calgary Stampede last year, but didn’t have the same success as her parents or brother … until now.
“It’s amazing because I had no luck last year,” she said. “I’m still in shock.”
After sitting in 14th spot heading into Saturday’s final two go-rounds, the team of Jennifer Von Hardenberg, Deb Molnar and Gord Tomson came from behind to finish in second spot with a total time of 134.73.
For full results from the 10 Class – Team Cattle Penning competition, please visit ag.calgarystampede.com/results.
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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