The Canadian Cowboys Association Finals Rodeo is now only six days away. The CCA Finals is being held at the Innovation Credit Union iplex for the second straight year and will run from Wednesday until Saturday next week.
“We are very excited to be coming back to Swift Current,” said CCA President Kevin Larson. “There was a lot of positive feedback from the first one there last year.”
“It’s good entertainment. The stock was really good last year. I expect it to be as good or better this year. The level of competition has always been good because we have always been able to get the top competitors in Western Canada,” Taylor added.
Taylor said fans can expect a similar show to last year’s CCA Finals. “Some of the changes might be in the grand entry, sounds like they have really upped their game a little bit that way.”
The CCA wrapped up the regular season in Wapella on Saturday. “It was good,” said Taylor of the 2017 season.” We’ve got a great group of rodeos. Frontier Days [in Swift Current] is one of our better rodeos. We would have probably 10 top rodeos in Western Canada as far as added money and 400-plus competitors. It went well.”
The cowboys and cowgirls of the CCA were still jockeying for the final few qualifying positions in Wapella, but many of the top qualifiers in each event come from the Southwest.
“There is starting to be a group of young guys that are quite talented. You take the McLeod boys from Waldeck and some of the other young guys, there’s some good competitors that are going to be at a high level pretty soon,” said Taylor.
Five of the top 10 cowboys in the Canadian High Point Award standings came from the Southwest. The Waldeck roping duo of Tuftin and Tyce McLeod stood well above the field this season. Tuftin led the way with $27,301 this season, while Tyce was second with $26,020. Tee McLeod followed in fifth place with $12,637.
“They love to rope,” said Taylor, noting that he grew up with Scott in the south country. “I know him really well and the boys have picked up right where he left off. They have an indoor arena there and rope all the time.”
Tuftin McLeod had an absolutely dominant Team Roping season, leading all Headers with over $22,180 totalled at 33 rodeos, more than double the earnings of the next closest header, an amount that is believed to be a team roping record for a single season.
Tyce McLeod led all cowboys in Tie Down Roping with $10,311 accumulated at 21 rodeos this season. He was also the top Team Roping Heeler with $15,708. Scott McLeod has also earned a spot at the CCA Finals for an incredible 30th consecutive season after placing second amongst all Heelers this season.
A pair of rodeo veterans rounded out the Southwest contingent in the Canadian High Point Award standings. Swift Current’s Blaine Switzer was sixth with $11,099 and Mankota’s Shawn Williamson was ninth with $10,420.
Maple Creek’s Adam Gilchrist topped the All Around standings with $7,8656 on the season. Gilchrist topped the All Around standings last season and also won the award at the Finals to go along with a win in Saddle Bronc at the Finals. Gilchrist was seventh among Saddle Bronc cowboys heading into the Finals.
Hazenmore’s Chanse Switzer was right behind Gilchrist in the All Around standings with $7,666. Switzer won Novice Bull Riding during the regular season and then also topped the Finals in Swift Current last season. Switzer was sixth in Bull Riding this season and 10th in Team Roping to earn a spot at the Finals.
Maple Creek’s Brady Bertram won the Bareback year-end title and the Finals last season and topped the standings again this season with $12,549 heading into the Finals.
The top two cowboys in Junior Steer Riding so far this season have been Val Marie’s Colt Kornfeld and Abbey’ Blake Smith.
Junior Girls Barrel Racing saw five of the top six finishers come from the Southwest, led by Maple Creek’s Logan Resch.
The CCA Finals will feature 7 p.m. performances on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday, as well as an afternoon performance on Saturday. Tickets can be purchased at City Hall, Kinetic Park, or online. There will also be a Cowboy Cabaret on Saturday at 9 p.m.