A year of change at the Canadian Finals Rodeo | TSLN.com

A year of change at the Canadian Finals Rodeo

EDMONTON – This was a year of change at the Canadian Finals Rodeo with seven new champions being crowned after the sixth performance on Nov. 9 — three of them Americans.

Dickinson, N.D. native Dusty Hausauer won the saddle bronc riding championship, earning $19,238 at the CFR to push his season earnings to $63,394, more than $6,000 better than runner-up Dustin Flundra. Just as they had done in 2006, South Dakota barrel racer Lisa Lockhart and Washington tie-down roper Tyson Durfey collected trophies.

“I guess I’m just following his footsteps or something,” Lockhart told the Edmonton Journal.

Kyle Bowers of Brooks, Alberta won the bareback riding, Tyler Thomson of Black Diamond, Alberta, the bull riding and Saskatchewan’s Murray Linthicum and another Brooks cowboy, Dwight Wigemyr, won the team roping. Cody Cassidy had previously clinched the steer wrestling championship.

Steven Turner won the All-Around for the third time in the last six years; Curtis Cassidy got the High-Point award for the fifth time.

For pure dramatic impact nobody could touch Bowers, who has struggled with a series of injuries including damage to his groin muscle, a partially torn hamstring and a pelvic misalignment that have baffled doctors for months.

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“I heard too many people say ‘Watch this ride; it might be Kyle Bowers’ last ride ever,’ ” Bowers told the Journal. “The only thing doctors told me was that they could put a plate in, and (I would) never get on another bareback horse again. I wasn’t going to do that.”

To claim his first Canadian championship since 2003, Bowers had to rise to the occasion on Nov. 9. After three-time Canadian champion Davey Shields Jr. posted an 85, Bowers knew exactly what he had to do: “I said ‘OK, I have to win this round to win the Canadian Championship.’ One horse. One day to win the whole year. No pressure.”

Bowers rode Kesler’s Street Dance for 88 points.

Durfey took a slightly less direct path to his second Canadian title.

Two years ago, Durfey got his calf roped and tied in an out-of-the-money 8.3 seconds. But the three guys in front of him did worse. Cliff Williamson made an illegal figure-eight catch; Chad Johnson missed completely and Steve Lloyd’s calf kicked free.

This time, Durfey came in trailing another American, Idaho’s Matt Shiozawa, and just barely ahead of Canadian Steve Lloyd. But Shiozawa was flagged for breaking the barrier while Lloyd’s calf again kicked free.

“A bit of a fluke,” said Durfey, whose 10.3-second final-round time was good enough. “I ended up getting a little luckier.”

Lockhart had a 15.05-second run to win the final round of the barrel racing and the average.

“It came down to (Sunday),” said Lockhart. “I think I had to win the round. So many girls were in position to take that championship.”