The OHSRA-RAO Marathon
Wednesday, 21 May 2008 01:09

A precedent was set in 2007. The Canadian May “2-4” Long-Weekend, celebrating Queen Victoria’s Birthday becomes a Marathon as the Ontario High School Rodeo Association Finals and the Roping Association of Ontario Finals’ take place on the same weekend. Fortunately one ends before the next begins, however it leaves no room for relaxation if you’re working them. Last year they were both held at the same venue, and in ’08, they were 10 minutes apart from each other, which wasn’t too bad.


First, the OHSRA Finals. For the 3rd consecutive year, it was held at “The Largest Permanent Rodeo Arena in Eastern Canada”, TLC Quarter Horses, Gray Family Farms, Hillsburgh, Ontario. The facility is beyond accommodating for everyone: contestants, crew, spectators. They fired through each performance of Senior and Junior competition in less than 3.5 hours each, a new Provincial Record for the finals. Over 275’ wide and 350’ long, the Priefert set-up, which Clint Smith and I originally designed, has back pens, runbacks, holding pens, steer holders, and more which allowed for the well experienced volunteers to run timed-event and rough-stock through non-stop. The only delays would come from Tractor Drags (a lot of ground to cover) and Contestants (trying to shed the pressure).

Kalvyn Doan became the 3-time OHSRA Year-end and Finals Champion Bareback Bronc Rider, the sole entry at the finals at the event, but made it official with a 61-point ride vs. Rawhide Rodeo’s #162 – Coyote Ugly in the first Round.

Doan was matched against Rod Weese, the 2006 OHSRA Rookie of the Year, one point ahead rolling into the finals in Saddle Bronc Riding. Weese was able to cover both of his horses, #215 – Checker and #23 Air Jordan, for a combined score of 124 on 2 in the Aggregate to win the Finals and the Year-end.

Season leader in Chute Dogging, Josh Glover needed to get some points in the 2008 OHSRA Junior High Finals to win the year-end. The Steers were rough and tough, and only one was put to the ground in the first Round. Glover No-timed. He was able to put something together in the Second Round however, his 5.2 put him number one in the round, and gave him the Finals and Year-end Win.

Breakaway was intense rolling into the Finals. A mere 20 points separated First through Fourth, and 40 points were up for grabs across the two rounds and the aggregate. Jessy Mathieu of Fergus, ON, qualifiying in the # 9 position was the sole Cowgirl to put two together, 23.01 for 2nd in the First Go, 3.01 in the Second to win the Round, and 1st in the Aggregate with 26.02 on 2. Her points took her up to 4th in the Year-end to qualify for the 2008 National High School Rodeo Association Finals. A catch in the 2nd go-round allowed enough points for Jessie Robson to jump from 3rd to the #1 in the Season Championship.

Wrangler 20x Junior Girls Break-away Roping saw a match-up between two contestants Chyenne Cronin and Tamara Weese. Tied going into the Finals, the Finals Winner would be the Year-end Winner as well. Cronin posted a 5.28 in the First Round and Weese caught in 4.39 seconds in the Second Round to win the Finals by .9 seconds and the Year-end by One Point.

The same conditions were in place in the Wrangler 20x Junior Boys Break-away Roping, with Tyrel Donaldson and Caleb Clingen tied rolling into the finals. Caleb caught his second calf in 4.81 to win both the Finals and Year-end Championships in Junior Boys Break-away Roping.

Rolling into Tiedown Roping, Cody Mousseau had a cushion of 8 points over the second seated Jarod Nooren. Mousseau caught his first calf in 17.06 while Nooren finished his run in 14.35, the difference resulted in the gap dropping to 6.5 points rolling into the second go. Mousseau won the Go with 14.96, and won the Aggregate to hold on to the Year-end Championship.

At the Massive Arena, no teams in Wrangler 20X Junior High Finals Competition had been able to put together a qualified run in Ribbon Roping. Ranked 2nd Place in the Province heading into the finals, Chyenne Cronin and Tyrel Donaldson needed a ton of points to win their first Ribbon Roping Championship. And by making history with the first qualified run with a time of 15.55, it was all it was going to take to put them in the History Books, and have them walking away with the Finals and Year-end Titles. They almost went 2 for 2, however, there was not enough time to run from three-quarters of the arena back in the second round, and were dq’d on that run by less than 5 seconds.

Jarod Nooren also qualified for Steer Wrestling in the number 2 spot, and was a mere 1 point back prior to the first go-round. He opened up with a 6.25 to win the Go and to jump to the Lead of the Season Standings. An 8.21 in the second round was enough for him to win the aggregate by 4.07 seconds, and to win the Year-end as well.

2-time OHSRA All-around Cowgirl Emily Forrest lead the Pole Bending Standings into the ’08 Finals, and placed 4th and 2nd in the Gos, plus 2nd in the Aggregate to win her first Pole Bending Year-end Championship. Jessie Robson was the Finals Champion with a 2nd and a 1st to win the Aggregate by 2.598 seconds.

Wrangler 20x Junior Pole Bending’s Finals and Year-end Championships went to Tamara Weese, the Season Leader who swept both Go-Rounds and the Aggregate.

In Senior Barrel Racing, Jessie Robson and Callie Gray were tied going into the Finals. Robson had a great finals placing 2nd in both go’s and 2nd in the Aggregate to win enough points to win the Year-end. The Finals Championship went to Jessie Mathieu who swept the finals: Both Go’s and the Aggregate, winning by over 1.1 seconds over the two rounds.

Junior Barrel Racing had a tight race for the Championship set to run, with the Season Leader, Tamara Weese, and the 2nd place contestant a mere 3 points apart. But another Sweeping Round of Barrel Racing would be experienced by the Fans on the Hill as Weese won both Go’s and the Aggregate by 2.069 seconds to win the Finals and the Year-end.

The 2008 Team Roping Year-end Championship was already decided prior to the OHSRA Finals, and Jarod Nooren and Cody Mousseau received their prestigious Gist Buckles after the Rodeo. The Big Show at the finals was the Cowboy-Cowgirl team of Austin McVeigh and Katelyn Scully as they won the First Round and placed 3rd in the Second Round to be the only team to go two-for-two to win the Finals.

5 points back leading into the Finals, Tyrel Donaldson was on fire in Wrangler 20X Junior Boys Goat Tying. His first go-round winning time became the new Arena Record of 17.11, which he followed with a 17.98 to win the second go, and the finals by over 8 seconds. However, the Season Leader Caleb Clingen was able to get both of his goats tied as well...to get two second-places in the go’s and one in the aggregate...the final tally on points: Clingen’s the ’08 Year-end Champion by 1 point.

In Senior Goat-Tying, Emily Forrest, the second ranked-cowgirl won the first round with a 14.00 second run, while the season leader, Katelyn Scully tied hers .95 seconds longer with a 14.95. The gap narrowed from 20 to 18.5. In the Second Round, Scully no-timed, and Forrest posted a 15.82 for 3rd, but the two times made her the Aggregate Champ with 29.82 on 2, almost 5 seconds faster than the second place position in the final Aggregate totals. The points calculated out had both girls ty-ing for the year-end title, making Scully a 3-time Year-end Champ, and Forrest receiving her first Year-end Title in Goat Tying.

In Wrangler 20x Junior Girls Goat Tying, Chyenne Cronin qualified only 4 points back from the lead, however, by sweeping the go’s with 16.65 and 17.55 respectfully, and winning the finals by 5.23 seconds in the Aggregate, it gave her just enough of a margin to win the Year-end as well by 1.5 points!

Junior Bull Riding, presented by Wrangler 20x had a contestant following suit as many of the other Finalist Champions, by winning it all. Matt Kippax of Hagar, ON rode Rawhide Rodeo’s #BL The Banker to a tally of 69 points to set a New Arena Record in the first round, and Rawhide Rodeo’s #NT Whacko Jacko for an even higher score of 72. He became the Aggregate Champion and the Year-end Champion, claiming his first OHSRA Silver and Gold and Scholarship Dollars.

The Bucking Bulls hauled to the 2008 Finals by Rawhide Rodeo for Rank and Tumble event of Bull Riding were of the higher echelon. Veteran Bulls like #3 Superstar (87% Buck-off percentages in ’06 and ’07), #159 Creep (Short-round Bull at Ste. Tite, and 91-point Ride Bull on NYE 2005), and #9P The Other Side (Unridden in ’07) were a hard match for the elite field of 8 qualifiers. The First round saw the Bulls go 8 for 8. Dylan Carter was the sole contender to make a qualified ride in the Second Round to win the Finals; his score was 74 versus Rawhide Rodeo’s #380 Morning Scoots. The 2008 Year-end OHSRA Year-end Championship was awarded to Luke McCoag, who had the title won prior to the start of Finals Competition.

A nice addition to the Saturday Performance was Scott Dees, or “SD” who was auditioning for the role of Rodeo Clown with one of the Producers in Attendance. I wish that I had recorded the performance, as he had one line that had me in such hysterics that I declared it, “Line of ’08 to-date”...but for the life of me, I can’t remember it now.

Notable OHSRA Finals-TLC Quarter Horses Rodeo Arena Records set:

Ribbon Roping – 15.55 – Chyenne Cronin and Tyrel Donaldson
Pole Bending – 21.337 – Jessie Mathieu
Jr. Boys Goat Tying – 17.11 – Tyrel Donaldson
Jr. Steer Riding – 72 – Matt Kippax
Bull Riding – 74 – Dylan Carter (Tied with AJ Vaal-74-2007)

All-around and Special awards will be posted soon at www.ohsra.ca

Awaiting the Tallies of the Official Points, I assisted with the Centre Alley during the Bull Riding and Junior Steer Riding Clinic instructed by Clint Smith and Brandon Moore. Brian Norman was holding his sides for most of the time from laughing at me swinging the gate and scampering up and down. I think the Centre Alley Gate Person is the most dangerous job in the sport...I almost needed the bullfighters to save me a couple of times, haha.

Once the awards were presented, I flew up the road for the start of the Roping Association of Ontario Finals. In a mad-rush, I set-up speakers and computers, and we commenced at 7:30.

The Tiedown Roping Finals was won by Jarod Nooren, who had amassed a half-dozen buckles earlier that day...and he became, “The People’s Champion”. He had an amazing Roping Finals, as he was the sole contender to rope 4 for 4, placing 2nd, 1st, 2nd, 1st across the goes and 1st in the aggregate.

Charlotte Eskra went 3 for 4 to win the RAO Break-away Roping Finals, also taking a pile of money across the rounds.

Then the first Jackpots of the year took place where Jessie Robson won the Breakaway going 2 for 3 being the sole to catch 2, and Jarod Nooren won another competition, going 3 for 3, winning 2 goes and placing 2nd in the other, thus winning the aggregate by over 13.5 seconds.

Just when we thought our Saturday Night would be over (past midnight as the Jackpot concluded), Jason Thomson, Ross Scully and Jarod Nooren had a 6-head Match. The intense competition showed the People’s Champion the winner, once again, winning 4 of 6 Go’s, placing 2nd in the two remaining, and the only contender to go 6 for 6.

Finally, the roping ended at 1:15am, and I got home at 1:45am to sleep.

The next morning I began setting up in the rain outside, and after finishing “mic check”...they changed their mind, and we tore it all down and moved indoors. The only positive was that I knew where the cables had to go indoors....

Starting with the #3 Team Roping, only 2 teams went 3 for 4 , and John Bridge won by 2.0 seconds.

Into the #2 Team Roping, Paul Yaccobucci and his partner were the only team to go 3 for 4, and he became the 2008 #2 Team Roping RAO Finals Champion.

Into the #1 Team Roping, Emily Forrest and her partner were the only team to go 3 for 4, and she became the 2008 #1 Team Roping RAO Finals Champion.

Then Lunch Break, AGM, and into the First Jackpot of 2009. The First Jackpot was the most fun roping I’ve ever announced...I got to play Game Show Host!

The Stock Contractor, Ed DeWetering had declared a “Bounty Steer”, which is like a permanent fresh steer: quick, fast to run up the rope, etc. He said there would be a $50 Bounty to the first team to draw it, and if they declined, he’d be out of the draw.

The First team to get him consisted of Brian Roworth and Brad Heffernan. Early into the First-Go, they wouldn’t take it, as $50 wasn’t worth the loss of the Aggregate pay. I then tried to negotiate it up to $100, and they still declined. I refused to let them Score the Steer, and as the Steer ran by them, I said, “Did you hear that? The Bounty Steer just Giggled!”

I talked the Contractor into letting the next team “Buy In” at $25.

Next Team: Brent Tupling and Dennis Johnson. They wouldn’t partake. Out the Steer went again.

Next Team: John Bridge and Mark Coulson. Coulson declared that he wouldn’t pay to rope the steer...so, I called his bluff and put down their $25.00 entry. They went...and missed. Big risk as they were 2nd in the Aggregate after 1...but, that was a secret....

Next Team: Jarod Nooren and Mark Coulson. Once again, the team wouldn’t pay, but would take them. The Pot was now over $100. It was an easy sale as Nooren had become “The People’s Champ”, and they almost put it together...solid on the Front End, but a stutter step on the back-end cost them a time.

All of the Rodeo-Run-type ropers were counting the steers, hoping to draw it in the last go.

His last time through had Dean Stockdale and Bruce Guillet drawing him. As I walked toward the chute, I heard John Bridge say, “Why risk $200 in the Go-Round just to win $150?”. I became Howie Mandell again.

I repeated what was said. Then laid down the scenario, “Ok, you’re going for the Go-Round, yes. Why not take the steer that is guaranteed not to shut down. The steer that you have to rope on the corner on. The steer that you have to be quick on...when you need to be quick to win the go. Why? The answer is simple. Yes, there’s $200 to be won in the Go. But! There’s an additional $150 if you win the Go on this Steer. That’s $350 in one run. To that, Mr. Bridge, I say ‘Game, Set, Match!’”.

Stockdale and Guillet took “The Deal”. I ran down the arena following the Run. Stockdale smoked the horns. Guillet caught both back Feet...and at the last fraction of a second...the steer kicked out. The place went wiiiiiilllld!

Soon thereafter we had a Beef BBQ Dinner, Awards, a few cocktails and called it a Weekend.

The Year-end and Specialty Awards will be posted shortly on www.ropingontario.com

The Marathon Weekend was a blast. Tons of exciting action to be a part of. Unfortunately I only got 7 hours sleep Thursday Night, 6 hours sleep Friday Night and 4.5 hours sleep Saturday Night, so I spent my Holiday Monday cutting zzzzzzzz’s.

But now, just a week and a half to the ORA Season Opener!