Big Valley man fills in and wins big

Last week was apparently meant to be the time for Big Valley to brag.

Zeke Thurston of Big Valley rides in style at the Canadian Finals Rodeo last year at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Thurston won the Canadian championship in novice saddle bronc.

Zeke Thurston of Big Valley rides in style at the Canadian Finals Rodeo last year at Rexall Place in Edmonton. Thurston won the Canadian championship in novice saddle bronc.

Last week was apparently meant to be the time for Big Valley to brag.

In addition to the Peewee Thunders claiming a provincial title, a local cowboy won the big prize in an international rodeo event.

A no-show at Rodeo-Houston this past weekend ended up netting a Big Valley man more than $50,000 in prize money.

Zeke Thurston was spending the winter in Texas with family friends when he received a call, asking if he’d like to take part in RodeoHouston, filling in for a competitor who didn’t show up.

Like the Calgary Stampede, RodeoHouston is an invite-only rodeo, so Thurston otherwise wouldn’t have been competing at all.

Despite being only 20 years old, and a rookie at RodeoHouston, Thurston continued to handle the horses like a pro and kept winning, eventually edging out two-time World Champ Taos Muncy with a score of 89, just one point ahead.

In addition to the $50,000 USD, Thurston will bring home a trophy and a belt buckle.