There was plenty of Gusto at the Halkirk Bull-a-rama last Saturday night.
The man known as Dusty (Gusto) Lehmann of Mayfair, Sask., was the top cowboy in the 17th edition of Halkirk’s annual end-of-summer showcase.
The 24-year-old Lehmann won the bull-riding main event and also took home the saddle as the overall champion cowboy.
“It was a doubleheader in the bull-riding, so I won the first one, which got my confidence up a little bit,” he said. “And I drew a pretty good bull in the second round and ended up winning it, too.
“And then, I just had to wait to see what the bronc-riders’ luck was going to be, because they could also win the saddle on their average, too. It was still a crapshoot for the saddle.”
Lehmann, whose day job is a rancher in Central Butte, Sask., won $893.78 as the bull-riding champion. He was the lone rider in the nine-man field who posted a score in both rounds, for a combined total of 156.
The runner-up, Jesse Lawrence of Kennedy, Sask., earned $739.68, while third-place finisher Kory Ginnis of Grenfell, Sask., took home $585.58.
Lehmann, Lawrence and Ginnis each picked up an additional $287.65 for their share of the $862.96 ground money.
“You always go in wanting to win,” said Lehmann, who began riding steers when he was 12 and bulls when he was 16.
“I was actually pro-rodeoing all summer, and then I’ve come back this fall to CCA (Canadian Cowboys’ Association) to see if I could make the finals. So I’ve just started entering (CCA events) and came here and was successful.”
Halkirk has been a popular stop for Lehmann for years.
“This year was the first year it was a CCA (event),” he said. “And, man, it was really good. But I’ve also been here with other associations. Over the years, they’ve always had a saddle (prize) and stuff, so I’m glad to come.
“Bringing in the bronc riders and everything, it’s just a little better for the spectators — something different.”
Mark O’Dempsey of Mayerthorpe won the 17-man saddle-bronc competition, earning $485.56 with a two-round score of 152. Second-place finisher Mark Elder of Red Deer netted $401.86 with a combined score of 147. Big Valley cowboy Wyatt Thurston took home $318.14 for placing third. His two-round mark was 143.
The three finalists each gained $156.28 more in ground money.
O’Dempsey ($334.88), Elder ($251.16) and Thurston ($167.44) finished in that order in the short-go, where they each received an additional $27.90 in ground money.
Young gun Dillon Barkshire of Delburne pocketed $485.56 for winning the long-go. Elder and Connor Reinhart earned $360 each for second-place honours, while O’Dempsey, Thurston and Cole Neely each netted $156.28 for their third-place finishes.
Lehmann, the man with the best score on the night, headed home about $1,181.43 richer.
“I’ll just keep entering rodeos, just invest it back,” said Lehmann, who drove about six hours Saturday to compete in Halkirk.
“As long as you make enough to pay for gas and food, it’s all worth it. Bull-riders have the luxury — or roughstock guys, anyway — to travel with a bunch of (other) guys and split the gas money up.”
It was a profitable night for O’Dempsey, who took home $1,160.90.
Close to home, Big Valley’s Thurston picked up $826.04 overall.