Big Valley’s biggest superstar finally got what he’s been missing.
Saddle bronc world champion Zeke Thurston walked out of the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer Nov. 3 with his first championship buckle, and he did it in dominating fashion.
Thurston, 25, came into the rodeo with just over $57,000 in earnings and a very healthy, but not insurmountable lead of $37,000.
That said, no one else stood a chance as Thurston went on to win two performances and place in the money on the other four — one second, a pair of third place finishes and one fifth place. Those all helped hand him the aggregate title to go alongside his Canadian championship.
“I had a good week. Drew some good horses. Made some good rides,” Thurston said, looking relieved that he had the championship in his hand at last.
“I felt like I rode solid all week. I had a couple of go-round wins. I couldn’t have asked for it to go any better.
“It’s awesome. The Canadian title is one I’ve been gunning for a while. I’ve accomplished a lot of things that I didn’t think I would before this one. Surely, there will be more of them to come.”
As an added bonus though, Thurston’s $110,785 total set a new CFR earnings record.
“And to hear I broke the earnings record is pretty cool. It goes to show how rodeo has grown as a whole. It’s pretty special for me to do what I love and make that kind of money,” Thurtson added.
Consort’s Brendan Laye got a win on opening night Oct. 29, but would only get one more check the rest of the week to wind up in ninth overall with just over $28,000 in the steer wrestling.
Donalda cowboys Curtis and Cody Cassidy were in contention entering the event, sitting third and second respectively.
However, a few no-times for Curtis hurt his chances for another CFR championship and he ended up in seventh overall, while Cody won the aggregate and had three money finishes during the week to wind up fourth.
Meanwhile, Stettler’s Riley Warren and partner Clay Ullery came out of the team roping in sixth overall, even after catching just three of their six steers during the week. The pair ended up with just over $33,400 in earnings.