By Emily Jaycox
For the Independent
Hometown Stettler cowboy Riley Warren is the 2018 Canadian finals Rodeo (CFR) High Point Champion after an exciting week of competition.
The 45th annual CFR was held in Red Deer this year for the first time, at the Enmax Centrium at Westerner Park from Oct. 30 to Nov. 4.
The title of high point champ goes to the competitor with the most earnings in two or more events.
“Overall, I guess it was enough, and it was pretty exciting for me,” said Warren in a CFR interview.
“I knew it was going to be close, so it wasn’t a total shock, as I was leading it before today.”
Warren tied for first place in round one of the tie-down roping, catching his calf in 7.8 seconds, winning him a $10,530 payout.
He came in fifth in the aggregate score, winning him an additional $1,620 and landing him in fourth place overall with total earnings of 39,983.61.
Warren and partner Clay Ullery had a slow start in round one in the team roping, with a time of 20.8 seconds, but were tied for first in round five after heading and heeling their steer in four seconds flat.
It gave them $16,470 in round earnings and fifth place in the aggregate rankings for an additional $1,620.
“I’ve dreamed about having a championship since I was a young kid,” said Warren, who went pro in 2012.
“It goes in the history books now and they can’t take it away from me anymore.”
Donalda Steer Wrestler Curtis Cassidy had a slow run in the third round, with a time of 13.8 seconds, putting him in 11th place.
Cassidy came back with runs of 4.1 seconds in the next two rounds and 3.6 in the final, leaving him at fifth place in the aggregate rankings and in fourth for total earnings at $40,343.37.
Scott Guenthner of Provost, Alta., won the steer wrestling championship riding Cassidy’s horse Tyson, the steer wrestling horse of the year, with total winnings of 69,899.44.
Cassidy had three no-times in the tie-down roping rounds, finishing 12th in the aggregate score.
Cody Cassidy, also of Donalda, finished in 11th place in steer wrestling in total earnings and eighth in the aggregate rank.
Zeke Thurston of Big Valley came in second in saddle bronc, missing out on the 2018 championship title by a gap of $9,244. 29, with total earnings of 73,050.38.
Thurston ranked first in the sixth round with a 87.75-point ride on Kesler Rodeo’s 778 Copper Cat.
Saddle broncer Layton Green of Meeting Creek came in fifth place overall, with a high aggregate score of 483 points over six rounds, but total earnings of 42,029.29.
Barrel racer Diane Skodopole of Big Valley had a round six run of 13.863 seconds, giving her second place aggregate rank.
Bull rider Garrett Green of Meeting Creek was off to a great start, finishing in first place after round one with a 87.75-point ride.
Green was bucked off in the next two rounds though and had a no-time in the sixth for a sixth-place aggregate rank.