Monday Notebook: Calgary Stampede, NFR Open Shakeup PRCA World Standings

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This past weekend was one of the biggest of the ProRodeo season.

We saw a thrilling Showdown Sunday at The Calgary Stampede where the winners had $25,000 of their championship winnings go toward the PRCA World Standings. Last year, all of The Calgary Stampede winners finished in the Top 10 and all of the 2023 winners are currently in the Top 20. It will simply be impossible to tell the story of the 2023 ProRodeo season without mentioning what happened in Stampede Park on Sunday afternoon.

With a $1.85 million payout north of the border stealing headlines, The Calgary Stampede almost did the impossible - made fans forget about the $686,000 NFR Open.

Fear not, we didn’t miss the action in Colorado Springs in the Monday Notebook. We also have notes from the other three PRCA Playoff Series Rodeos this weekend - Casper, Sheridan and Elko, Nevada for the Silver State Stampede.

If anything this weekend is proof of everything 100 Rodeos in 100 Days is all about. There are several rodeos every week, some seemingly bigger than others, but the dollars and cents all count the same when it’s tallied up in December. And each week, the Top 15 starts to take a more clear shape.

  • There were four Canadian winners at The Calgary Stampede, the most in a single year since 2005. The Canadian contestants defended home turf with Scott Guenthner winning the steer wrestling, Dawson Hay claiming the saddle bronc riding, Beau Cooper winning the tie-down roping and Jared Parsonage winning the bull riding. The last time this happened was so long ago, Dawson’s dad Rod won his last of four Calgary Stampedes that year. Speaking of...
  • Dawson and Logan Hay are the first brothers to win The Calgary Stampede since Rod Hay and Denny Hay. Dawson Hay’s 92-point ride on Xplosive Skies in the Showdown allowed him and brother Logan to accomplish a feat last reached by their dad and uncle in 1998 and 1999. Logan was 89.5 in the Showdown to win The Stampede a year ago.
  • Bull rider Trey Holston won more than $37,000 in a dominant performance at the NFR Open. Holston went 4-for-4, won three rounds and had all four of his rides marked 87 points or better. He finished off the event with 89 points in the Short Round and was the only cowboy to ride all four bulls at the event. No other bull rider even covered three. Holston is now No. 6 in the PRCA World Standings.
  • Calgary Stampede tie-down roping champion Beau Cooper went from No. 22 to No. 9 in the PRCA World Standings. Cooper, who had the fastest run of his career with a 7 flat in the Showdown, has quickly found himself in the Top 10. He started the Stampede ranked 22nd before moving to No. 16 after pool action and eventually getting to ninth after Championship Sunday. Cooper won Calgary on an a horse previously owned by his cousin, reigning PRCA Saddle Bronc Riding World Champion Zeke Thurston.
  • Reigning PRCA Bareback World Champion Jess Pope has entered the NFR picture. Pope was No. 26 in the World Standings and moved up to No. 18 by winning the Long Round at the Greeley Stampede (Colorado), finishing second at the Livingston Roundup Rodeo (Montana) and winning the Killdeer Mountain Roundup (North Dakota). This past weekend, he added another $9,500 by winning the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo and finished third at the Sheridan WYO Rodeo to move up to No. 13.
  • Barrel racer Brittany Pozzi Tonozzi won The Calgary Stampede for the first time. Pozzi Tonozzi has been to 16 NFRs and made 19 Calgary Stampede appearances before finally breaking through with a 17.113-second run on Sunday to win it. Pozzi Tonozzi won $37,600 toward the WPRA World Standings, which is more than any other competitor at the rodeo. The two-time World Champion also broke through and won Reno for the first time this year.
  • With Kade Sonnier’s victory, it’s the second consecutive year The Calgary Stampede bareback riding was won by a rookie. Sonnier thrilled with 92 points aboard C5 Rodeo’s Virgil in the Showdown. Last year, Rocker Steiner was 91.5 points to win Calgary on his way to being named Resistol Rookie of the Year. It’s the second time Sonnier has matched up with Virgil in the past four weeks, the other delivered a Long Round win at the Ponoka Stampede. With the win in Calgary, Sonnier moved from No. 10 to No. 3 in the World Standings.
  • Steer Wrestler Scott Guenthner is partially retired and won The Calgary Stampede with the fastest time fo the rodeo in the Showdown. It’s something that can really only happen in rodeo. Guenthner, a four-time NFR qualifier, had made about $10,000 rodeoing locally in Canada and had no intentions of winning big money bulldogging ever again. Well, after making a 3.2-second run to win The Stampede 31-year-old increased his PRCA season earnings by about 5x and is now No. 18 in the world, less than $5,000 out of an NFR Spot.
  • The Two PRCA Playoff Series Rodeos in Wyoming paid $672,000 combined. The Sheridan WYO Rodeo paid $352,000 total and the Central Wyoming Fair and Rodeo in Casper paid $320,000 as the two Cowboy State events are both among the Top 30 highest paying events in the PRCA Playoff Rodeo Series. The richest contestant in either rodeo was Paige Jones’ $11,900 in Casper.
  • Saddle bronc rider Kade Bruno won the NFR Open for the second consecutive year. Bruno is No. 4 in the PRCA World Standings and is now within $11,000 of both No. 3 Zeke Thurston and No. 2 Stetson Wright after he banked more than $20,000 in Colorado Springs. Bruno is the only repeat champion in the event’s short history. Last year, he went on one of his best stretches of the season following his NFR Open win.
  • Steer wrestler Will Lummus won the Sheridan WYO Rodeo for third straight year. Lummus was 9.4 seconds on two this year to beat Cody Devers by one tenth. The No. 5 man in the world also made the Showdown Round in Calgary over the weekend.
  • Tanner Tomlinson/Patrick Smith won Silver State Stampede in record-setting fashion. The reigning NFR Average Champions delivered a 3.8-second run to break the arena record in Elko and also won the Ute Stampede (Idaho) over the weekend with a 3.9. Those two runs were the pair’s second and third fastest of the season.