Zeke Thurston defends his saddle bronc title at the Calgary Stampede.

Second half of 2016 all about big wins in Stettler and area sports

The second half of 2016 was all about the big wins when it came to Stettler sports. This is the second half of the 2016 Sports in...

The second half of 2016 was all about the big wins when it came to Stettler sports. This is the second half of the 2016 Sports in Review, covering from July to the end of December.

Zeke Thurston places third in saddle bronc at Ponoka StampedeJuly 6, 2016Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston securely locks down third place in saddle bronc riding at the week-long Ponoka Stampede, continuing on what would be a spectacular rodeo season. The Ponoka Stampede was a scene of a fair bit of action, including a bit of weather worry as a funnel cloud was spotted during one day of events. Thurston collected more than $2,200 in winnings. Thurston started off strong, leading after his first two rides, but Clay Elliot and Jacobs Crawley managed to pull ahead in the final rides.

Stettler U12, U16 girls win ‘Fair Play’ awards at provincialsJuly 13, 2016Stettler’s girls played their hearts out at the provincials in early July, though rain caused some major setbacks. While neither team brought home gold, they were recognized for their dedication to fair play. Rainy weather wreaked havoc on the provincials, though, resulting in game cancellations.

Thurston defends Stampede titleJuly 20, 2016Zeke Thurston makes top sports story again as he successfully defends his saddle bronc championship at the Calgary Stampede. Thurston was the lone Canadian to win the top prize of $100,000 on “Showdown Sunday” on the last day of the 10-day Stampede. Thurston won his first Stampede title in July 2015 riding Spring Planting, and defended his title on the same horse.

Big Valley’s Shauna Pirie-Laisnez wins bowling goldJuly 27, 2017Shauna Pirie-Laisnez wins bowling gold as part of Team Alberta at the 2016 Masters Nationals bowling tournament in Surrey, B.C. The highlight for the Big Valley woman was throwing a 393/400 in the first game. This isn’t Pirie-Laisnez’ first gold in bowling; she took the top honours at the 2005 Masters National Tournament, was the Alberta representative for TSN, took gold at the Masters Nationals in 2009, and bronze last year.

Stettler Scorpions win provincial goldAug. 3, 2016The Stettler Scorpions Bantam AA baseball team has hot bats and sturdy gloves as they competed against, and won against, the best baseball teams in Alberta. The team powered through the round robin to head into the finals against the Okotoks Outlaws, and the nail-biting game had parents and friends on the edge of their seats the entire game.

Fraser and Shrum place first at Stettler Scooter competitionAug. 10, 2016Stettler’s new skatepark, less than two years old, was the place to be as it hosted its first scooter competition. Scooterers from all over the community came together to show off their best moves, including winners Jared Fraser and Taite Shrum.

Many Stettler winners in junior rodeo eventAug. 17, 2016The Stettler Agriplex was busy as youth riders did their best to start off their rodeo careers, with some competitors as young as six years old. Stettler riders captured many of the awards at the rodeo. The final competition came after a week of training, and the youth were eager to show off the skills they had learned during the week.

Stettler wins bronze in Battle River league cupAug. 31, 2016Stettler’s men’s soccer team captured bronze in the Battle River League cup, defeating the Diablos in Wetaskiwin to secure their medal position. Despite being short a player, and Wetaskiwin taking an early lead, the Stettler lads battled their way through, coming even and pulling ahead to win.

Wildcats win pre-season against SkyhawksSept. 7, 2016The Stettler Wildcats, the local high school football team, started their season off with a 12-7 win against the St. Albert Skyhawks. Even though the Skyhawks got on the scoreboard first, the Wildcats never gave up, their determination and aggressive offence pushing through the opponent’s defence to take the win.

Wildcats crush Warriors 56-0Sept. 14The Stettler Wildcats continued their on-field dominance, turning a game against the Drayton Valley Warriors into a one-sided battlefield. With eight touchdowns and and successful subsequent converts, the coaching staff said they couldn’t have hoped for a better showing from the young team.

Stettler gymkhana hosts final session in AlixSept. 21, 2016After a successful season in Stettler, the Stettler gymkhana moved its final session to the neighbouring Alix, with its “beautiful hall” and great facilities being the draw for the final day.

Lightning sweep first season win in shootoutSept. 28, 2016The Bolts secured their first regular season win for the Stettler Lightning in an overtime shootout. The team’s morale was a bit battered as they had previously lost their home-opener against the Mountainview Colts, they didn’t give up, tying up the game and persevering through overtime to force a shoot-out finish.

Bolts back on track after double winsOct. 5, 2016Two back-to-back wins for the Stettler Lightning helped bolster the team’s unity and morale, uniting the rookies and senior players into a cohesive unit. Early stumbles in the season resulted in a handful of losses and hard-fout wins, but the weekend of hockey success had the Lightning flying high.

Thurston of Big Valley qualifies for 2016 Wrangler NFROct. 12, 2016Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston, Calgary Stampede saddle bronc champion, manages to lock down his second invite to the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. With a season of earnings in excess of $105,000, including a successful defence of his Calgary Stampede title, a first-place finish at Stettler’s Steel Wheel, and a third-place finish at the Ponoka Stampede, his spot in the NFR was all but guaranteed.

Bobcats overcome Red Deer Bengals, win 2-1Oct. 19, 2016The Stettler Bobcats, the newest and youngest of Stettler’s football teams, manage to fend off the Red Deer Bengals in one of its first victories of the season. The team had struggled to secure wins, though each game saw the team put new skills into practice and take dramatic steps in learning the game.

Bolts make comeback, annihilate Banff with resounding winOct. 26, 2016Stettler’s junior team, the Lightning, came back from an early deficit against the Banff Bears to win 9-3, restoring some of their morale after a slew of losses. The team played three games in one weekend, starting with a 2-0 loss against the Three Hills Thrashers, followed by a shoot-out loss to the Red Deer Vipers.

Wildcats overcome Wetaskiwin, play Sylvan Lake in championshipsNov. 2, 2016A 42-20 victory over the Wetaskiwin Sabres launched the Stettler Wilcats into the finals against Sylvan Lake, a team that “traditionally has our number,” said coach Norbert Baharally.

Stettler Cougars win 2016 league championshipNov. 9, 2016After a winning season, the Stettler Cougars took it one step further to win the trophy in a hard battle against the Lindsay Thurber Raiders, winning 48-24.

Cody Cassidy crowned steer wrestling champion at CFRNov. 16, 2016Donalda’s Cody Cassidy continued the Stettler-area tradition of prowess at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, where he was crowned steer wrestling champion. Big Valley’s Kirsty White placed third in barrel racing.

Stettler Wildcats to play Bow Valley for provincial champiopnshipNov. 23, 2016A victory over the Sexsmith Sabres in Grand Prairie in mid-November catapulted the Wildcats into the provincial finals, pitting the team against Cochrane’s Bow Valley.

Stettler Wildcats are 2016 Tier IV provincial silver medalistsNov. 30, 2016The Stettler Wildcats were unable to fend off the Bow Valley Bobcats during the finals in late November, taking home the silver medal and one of the team’s best finishes in recent years.

Quade Cassidy steals the show as Lightning beat BanffDec. 7, 2016In one of the Stettler Lightning’s strongest seasons in a decade, the Bolts went on to win 9-4 against the Banff Bears four goals of which belonged to Quade Cassidy.

Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston crowned 2016 World Saddle Bronc Riding ChampionDec. 14, 2016Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston crowns off his saddle bronc rodeo season by winning the saddle bronc championship at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev. The win is the perfect cap on a winning season for the local rodeo man.

Lightning triumph over Three Hills, neck-to-neck against VipersDec. 21, 2016The Stettler Lightning continue to gel, with Captain Dylan Houston leading a pack of fast and talented rookies in the team’s best season in years. Multiple victories before the Christmas break help push Stettler up in the standings.

Bolts go down against Thunder, Matt Sylvester shines for StettlerDec. 28, 2016Despite losing to the first-place Airdrie Thunder on Dec. 23, the team played a solid, cohesive game with rookie and scoring sensation Matt Sylvester scoring three of the team’s five goals.

This brings us to the end of 2016. If you missed the first part of the Sports in Review, it can be found in our Dec. 28, 2016 edition or online.

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