The Kootenay Chrysler Bull-a-Rama lassoed a crowd of about 1,200 and took them on a wild ride at the Trail Memorial Centre on Saturday.
In a thrilling spectacle, Trail favourite Chad Besplug couldn’t hold on for a fifth championship, but the eventual showdown between two brothers from Cochrane, Alta. provided an entertaining finale.
In the first go round, siblings Steven, 29, and Jody Turner, 30, scored identical 85-point long go’s, Steven on an ornery bull named Alberta Premium and Jody on an equally dyspeptic Joe Smoe. The brothers, with a combined 30 years bull-riding experience, still don the traditional cowboy hat rather than the safer hockey helmet and cage but that doesn’t hinder their performance.
With eight riders heading into the final short go, Kyle Lozier of 150-Mile House put up an impressive 84, for a 163.5-point total. The bulls then got the better of finalists Miles Pennington, Tyler Pankewitz and Tanner Girletz, leaving only the Turner brothers left to ride.
Steven was out of the chute first, reeling off a gutsy go on Rock on Bye. The bull whirled and bucked ferociously, and Turner came unglued just as the second-hand hit eight seconds, good for an impressive 86 points.
Jody was the final rider and needed a very good spin to top his younger brother, but said he was happy regardless who won.
“There is no sibling rivalry,” said Turner. “It couldn’t have worked out any better, either he was going to win it or I was, and realistically, he probably maybe should have, but we don’t judge, we just ride them.”
The former Canadian champion then had a remarkable ride, going the distance and beating his brother by a mere two points for a combined score of 173. When asked what his strategy was going into the final ride, Turner replied: “The more I think, the more I overthink and screw up, so I just go into it with an empty mind. I’ve been on enough (bulls) now that I shouldn’t have to think what I’m going to do, my body just reacts.”
Jody Turner, pocketed over $5,000 in total prize money, while his brother Steven consoled himself with just under $4,500. Lozier finished in third, good for close to $2,400.
“There’s a lot of money on the line regardless, whether it’s him or anyone else, you always want to win first,” said Turner.
The organizers brought in new stock contractors this year, and the bulls didn’t disappoint. Many were even better than anticipated especially for the young steer riders.
“It didn’t go quite as smooth as we wanted,” said Bull-a-Rama organizer Guy Thompson. “They just came off the hill, so they were really fresh . . . but those kids love getting on those Brahma calves.”
While many of the 12 young steer riders bit the dust before eight seconds, Yellowead, Alberta’s Chance Barrass had a sensational ride as he went on to take the steer-riding buckle.
As for the show itself, it was a seamless production from the entertaining banter of emcees Brett Gardiner and Brent Bevins, to the explosive pyrotechnics, and the exciting bulls and intrepid riders.
“We had some of the top cowboys here in Canada, and they just love coming to Trail, and the crowd has always been really appreciative of their rides. I thought it was a good one,” said Thompson.
As for Besplug, the Claresholm, Alta. native’s streak of four Bull-a-Ramas in a row came to a crashing end, when a bull named Ole’ Faithful threw the rider seconds into the long go.
“He came after that and apologized,” said Thompson. “He’s been on a real hot streak, and he said, ‘I guess it was about time I came back down to earth.’”