Tanner Byrne bull riding.

Tanner Byrne came to the Calgary Stampede needing to get some good bull rides under his belt. The talented PBR rider had been battling numerous injuries most of the winter, and only recently returned to action.

Bull number one in Pool B at Calgary didn’t go so well. But Byrne, from Prince Albert, SK, bounced back Wednesday and rode like his old self on the Kesler bull All Fired Up, racking up 84 points which was enough for first on the day.

“That was very well needed,” said Byrne. “It’s been a long six months of groin rehab, shoulder rehab, trying to get my body back in riding condition, and I guess it paid off today.”

“To tell you the truth, since I came back, it hasn’t felt all that well. I’ve just been out for so long, trying to get that momentum back, and that feeling of staying on again. Today was a big relief, and now I want to keep it rolling.”

Byrne’s riding gear now includes a very special lightning bolt pair of boots.

“With my best friend Ty Pozzobon passing away at the start of this year, I’ve got his boots on in honor of him, it’s pretty cool stuff. So it’s very heartfelt, and I miss him every day.”

“He always did so well here and this was one of his favorite rodeos ever. It’s hard to put into words.”

Byrne has been keeping the entire Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine Team busy as they work on him, doing everything from stretches to physio, both before and after the performance.

“They did a new little thing today of releasing that muscle alongside my hip, and it seemed to work. I felt a lot looser in the chutes, and when I was riding I was even able to kick loose and have some fun too. It hasn’t felt like that in a while, so I’ll keep on that.”

Byrne has kept busy during his time away from the sport working on a very personal project, the newly created Ty Pozzobon Foundation, to take care of rodeo competitors in and out of the arena and to encourage talk about mental health.

“We’ve been working with rodeo athletes and with the amount of people that have talked, and come forward after Ty’s passing, I can literally say that he’s saved lives, with people just being able to open up and talk. The Foundation is off to a running start.”

Byrne’s $5,500 for the win puts him right at the top of Pool B alongside Day 5 winner J.B. Mauney, with the same total.

Sherri Cervi barrel racing.

Barrel racing fans were treated to a familiar sight at Calgary, when four-time World Champion Sherry Cervi and her great palomino mare rounded the pattern with style and speed. When the clock stopped at 17.51 seconds, it was fastest of the day giving Cervi the win, to follow up her second place finish on Tuesday.

Cervi, who lives in Marana, AZ was happy to be back in front of this crowd.

“It’s awesome. This is such a great rodeo. I missed it last year. I was so thankful to be able to come back. There’s nothing like it,” Cervi stated.

Stingray has a distinct way of just snuggling up to the barrels and skirting around them effortlessly.

“She just is a special horse. She loves her job. The second barrel I felt was a little tight today, but you know she worked great on all three.”

Barrel racing earnings at the Stampede do count towards the WPRA standings, so make a big difference for those trying to qualify for the National Finals Rodeo. Cervi’s counting on Calgary to give her a much-needed boost in the standings.

“I’ve won more money in two days than I have probably in a month.”

The amazing thing about the feat is that Cervi just climbed back in the saddle on the 15-year-old Stingray on Tuesday.

“Yesterday was the first competitive run I made on her since September. This winter I got embryos out of her, and my husband’s been roping on her. I hadn’t planned on bringing her up here. But with my horse situation, plans changed, and I thought I had her in good enough shape to come up here.”

“I’m not joking. Yesterday was THE first time she’d seen the barrels since the fall. Usually an older horse it takes them a few runs to get back.”

But obviously Stingray is no ordinary horse, and she’s happy to be back racing for the roars from the Stampede grandstand. Cervi and Lisa Lockhart traded results for the two days, so they’re tied at the top of Pool B, with $10,000 apiece.

Logan Bird tie-down roping.

It came down to the last two contestants in the tie-down roping, to speed up the pace. For the second day in a row, Matt Shiozawa sizzled through his run, finishing up in 7.9 seconds. But then Stampede newcomer Logan Bird came out and matched that with his own shiny run in 7.9 seconds, for a tie at the top.

Bird, who lives in Nanton, was thrilled to get his first Calgary cash.

“I got a good start. My horse was really good and I had a really good calf,” he beamed. “I had the one they won the go-round on yesterday. That always helps.”

Bird ought to know the calf, since they have been supplied to the Stampede by he and his father Manerd Bird. They do a lot of work to specifically raise calves to be just the right size for the Calgary Stampede competition. But Bird also figured he had an edge being last man out.

“Absolutely, without a doubt. I knew how fast to be. I kind of knew the start. Yesterday, I was first out and you just don’t really know what’s going to happen, and I was kind of late. I knew I just had to go make a smooth run and I was going to win good money.”

While it’s Bird’s first time as a competitor, he’s very familiar with the arena floor, being there regularly to help with the handling of the calves.

“I’ve watched the introduction every day for four years, and get pumped up. I’ve always said I just want to run out in the arena in the grand entry. Yesterday it was muddy and we didn’t get to, and I didn’t have a very good day, so I thought ‘I’m just gonna erase it’. It never really happened because I still never got to run out in the arena yet. So today I was the first one out there. I was ready.”

“This is the best rodeo for me. When I was a kid, I’d pretend like I was doing all the events, all ten days when I was watching the Stampede. I grew up an hour from here. It’s been just a dream to come to this rodeo. Initially when I was six years old I wanted to be in the bull riding, so I guess it’s changed a little bit, but I still wanted to come to the Calgary Stampede.”

Shiozawa shoots to the top of Pool B with his $10,500 total, followed by Caleb Smidt of Texas with $6,000.

In the bareback riding, best ride of the day was an 88 from Texan Jake Brown on Kesler’s Garden Party, for his first Calgary cash.

“She felt awesome,” said Brown. “She had a big move around the post there and then she did her thing, and let me do mine.”

“It’s my first time at the Stampede. Last year I was supposed to come and I ended up having to have surgery on my thumb, so being here, getting a round win out of here, is just an amazing thing.”

Steven Peebles found the paywindow again, so he’s leading Pool B bareback riders with $7,000, followed by Kaycee Feild at $6,500.

The steer wrestling bronze went to Tyler Waguespack of Louisiana, for a 4.2 second run.

“I was a little more relaxed this year,” he admitted. “Last year I was so nervous coming over here. I actually got the call late to come over here last year. I filled in for a guy and won up winning second. It was amazing. That’s the most I’ve ever won at one single rodeo, here last year, and I’m hoping we can do a little bit better this year.”

Waguespack sits in for a share of second in Pool B with Bray Armes with the $5500, but by placing both days, JD Struxness of Minnesota leads with $8,000.

For the second day in a row, the saddle bronc riding results won’t be official until Zeke Thurston takes a reride on Thursday. Rusty Wright is leading so far with an 89 point ride on Gone Country. Jacobs Crawley did end up with first for the opening round, after it was completed Wednesday.

Kid’s wild pony racing.

Wednesday was Kids Day at the Stampede, but every day is Kids Day at the rodeo, when the youngsters take to the arena for all the fun of the fan favorite Wild Pony Racing event.