ALBERTA

Clint Laye, Zeke Thurston prevails on Showdown Sunday at Calgary Stampede

07/12/2015 08:22 EDT | Updated 07/12/2016 05:59 EDT
CALGARY - A pair of young Canadian cowboys each took home $100,000 for winning their respective events on Showdown Sunday at the Calgary Stampede.

Clint Laye, 21, of Cadogan, Alta., started things off by winning the bareback championship, while Zeke Thurston, 20, of Big Valley, Alta., followed up his Canadian counterpart with a victory in the finals of the saddle bronc event.

Laye had an 88-point ride aboard Virgil in the second event of the finals to beat last year's champion Kaycee Feild by just one point.

"It hasn't sunk in yet," Laye said. "This is the hugest win I've ever had. My motor's just rolling right now. It's the biggest rodeo in the world. For it to be in my own country … I wanted to win it even more."

Ten competitors in each of the six events qualified to compete on Sunday and only the top four from the first go-round advanced to the finals.

"I was towards the end and kind of watching everybody and I knew I just had to let it all go on the line, so I did," said Laye, who earned his spot in the finals thanks to an 87.5-point ride atop Raggedy Ann.

Luke Creasy of Brownfield, Alta., joined Laye in the finals after Tim O'Connell had to give up his spot due to injury. Creasy responded with an 84-point ride on Shadow Warrior to win $15,000 for placing third.

Shortly after Laye accepted his $100,000 cheque, Thurston, Cody DeMoss and Wade Sundell all posted scores of 90.5 in the saddle bronc finals to force a buck-off. After Sundell and DeMoss had rides of 82 and 85 points respectively, Thurston scored 88.5 aboard Easy To Love to win his first title at the Calgary Stampede.

"That was exciting," Thurston said. "It was pretty nerve-wracking getting on that calibre of horses, three of them in one day. It's great. It gets your blood running for sure. To win in Calgary, it's unreal."

Trevor Knowles of Mt. Vernon, Ore., won his fourth steer wrestling title in Calgary by recording the top time of 3.9 seconds. Tanner Milan had a no-time in the finals, but still won $10,000 for finishing fourth.

"A lot of things have to go right at this rodeo," said Knowles, who also won in 2009, 2012 and 2014. "It's hard to get out of your pool and into Sunday. I'd say the pressure side of it is probably what hurts people the most. There's a lot of pressure for $100,000 and, I don't know, it just seems like I can take it. You just go make a run."

Timber Moore of Aubrey, Tex., won the tie-down roping title with a time of 8.1 seconds in the finals to edge out Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Alta., by just 0.1 of a second. Cassidy still received $25,000 for placing second.

"Right now, this is the biggest win I've ever had," Moore said. "Hopefully I'll win a gold buckle down in the States but this is by far the biggest and greatest win I've had."

Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, S.D., reached the finals of the ladies barrel racing event for the third time at the Stampede and went on to win her first title in a time of 17.907. Tara Muldoon of Hinton, Alta., knocked over a barrel in the finals to knock her down to fourth place.

"This sport's a roller coaster," Lockhart said. "There's a lot of highs and a lot of lows and you've just got to hang on for the ride at all times because it's good, all of it. This has been an exceptional week, I can't lie. It's been amazing."

The last event of the afternoon featured Aaron Roy of Yellow Grass, Sask., taking on Americans J.B. Mauney and Sage Kimzey in the finals of the ever-popular bull riding event.

While both Roy and Mauney were bucked off their bulls, Kimzey of Strong City, Okla., posted an impressive scored of 92.5 aboard Bottle Rocket to win the championship showdown. Roy and Mauney won $20,000 each for finishing tied for second.

"There's no comparison to winning the world title, but of all the rodeos I've won this one is definitely near and dear to my heart," Kimzey said.

Later in the evening, Kurt Bensmiller of Dewberry, Alta., won his second straight Rangeland Derby championship dash. Bensmiller drove his chuckwagon around the Stampede Park track in a time of 1:15.74 to beat 12-time Stampede champion Kelly Sutherland, who hails from Grande Prairie, Alta., by .81 of a second.

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