Cade Swor tie-down roping

It’s fun to be fast, and the tie-down ropers had a blast on a sunny Saturday afternoon at the infield of the Calgary Stampede. For the second day in a row, the winning time in the tie-down roping was 6.9 seconds. That’s swift, even for cowboys who make a living chasing the clock.

Cade Swor was pumped to be the one who got it done on day two of Pool A competition.

“That’s the first one I’ve ever tied in six,” beamed the Texan. “I was pretty excited, to be honest with you. I was really proud of my horse. He’s so much fun whenever you just go fast. I felt like I really got a great start, which in the years past has been kind of hard for me to do that out here, for whatever reason.”

“It’s so fast here that you have to be getting off the corner when you’re nodding. Today it worked out great. When you rope ‘em that fast, you really don’t have to get in a hurry. You just go down there and practice, really. Just make a flawless run.”

Swor gives full credit to fellow Pool A competitor Logan Bird and his dad Manerd, who raise the calves specifically for the Calgary Stampede, for bringing such an even set for them to rope.

“It starts with a great calf, and you’ve got to do the basics without getting in a hurry.”

“The setup here, I call it a fan’s set-up. It really showcases the speed, and it’s so much fun to come up here. There’s no pressures, there’s no worries, we’re just out here having fun, and trying to make my banker happy.

“It’s got to be good watching when we’re tying ‘em in six.”

“This is one of those rodeos where the older I get, you just realize what an opportunity it is, and I’d like to thank the Calgary Stampede for having me.”

It’s the second time Swor has made the trip to the stage to claim one of the daily bronze awards, but this one is special.

“I’ve got a baby on the way and I told my wife today that I was going to get our boy a bronze, so I’m happy.”

Swor, a seven-time NFR qualifier, collects the $5,500 bonus for the win. But the Day 1 victor, Cory Solomon, split third place in the round so he’s now the overall Pool A leader with $8,500.

Bull rider Chase Outlaw

Chase Outlaw had a sip of Tennessee Whiskey in the second round, and it was a sweet burn for the Arkansas bull rider. He stayed in control on the whirling bad boy by that name for the full eight, chalking up an 88.5 score to top the round.

“That’s the name of the game, is having fun,” insisted the PBR veteran. “I’ve just come off my third shoulder surgery. That’s only like my 20th bull back, and I was trying to make it a job.”

“But we’re here to have fun and that’s why we do it. That’s why we started as kids, so that’s just what I had to go back to. When you have fun, it looks like that.”

On his first bull Friday Outlaw was mad at himself for slapping his bull just before the whistle, and that prompted the self-talk.

“I went back and I said, ‘you know what? I rode him seven seconds, why couldn’t I ride him eight?’ So I was going to make sure I was going to ride him for ten today.”

“I didn’t do good here last year. When I was up here at this event last year, my Mom passed away back home while I was here. So I’m going to turn it around this year, and I’m going to walk out of here a champ.”

Outlaw earns the $5,500 daily bonus for first, but Joe Frost became the only rider with two rides under his belt, placing second with an 86. He leads Pool A with $9,500.

Isaac Diaz saddle bronc riding

Isaac Diaz made an impressive spur ride on the Calgary Stampede horse Warped Logic to earn 87 points from the judges and the first-place payday in the saddle bronc riding.

But what’s even more remarkable is that he’s even climbing into a saddle on a bucking horse, considering he was taken from the arena on a stretcher after his ride at the Ponoka Stampede just five days ago, when a bad chute exit crunched his shoulders down on his hips.

“Well, praise God that nothing broke,” acknowledged Diaz. “They just said I had multiple separated ribs up my spine. I never have felt anything that painful before. But I definitely had a lot of people praying for me at home, and I can dang sure feel it, because it’s been getting better every day.”

Not surprisingly, Diaz has been spending a lot of time with the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine team before and after riding, using heat and ice, as well as pain medication.

“They’ve been keeping me afloat,” he smiles.

For mere mortals, even walking with an injury that severe would be enough. But Diaz has made two outstanding rides on big, strong bucking horses, and even made another circle of the arena Saturday on his victory lap, albeit at a cautious lope.

“You feel it,” he admits, of the jarring and pulling he undergoes for the eight second rides. “That horse kept going straight and it helped me out a lot. When they start going left is when it really starts to hurt. It kind of opens my body up a little bit more and my free arm gets behind me. So I’m hoping for horses that go right the rest of the week.”

The $5,500 Diaz earned Saturday bumps his tally up to $8,500, but defending champion Zeke Thurston was only a point behind him in the round, marking 86 on Turkish Whiskey. He’s the leader overall for Pool A with $9,000.

Alberta-raised bareback rider Clint Laye was high man in the power packed bareback field Saturday, chalking up an 88 on Youngstown Rocket.

“That’s a really good horse of Calgary’s,” said Laye, the 2015 Stampede Champion. “It just kept running through my head ‘keep your head down and keep moving, keep fighting’. It ended up working out really good.”

With the addition of the $5500 from Saturday, Laye moves to the top of Pool A in bareback riding, with $10,000 in earnings.

Alberta fans had more to cheer about in the steer wrestling, when Donalda’s Cody Cassidy got his steer turned over in 4.4 seconds. That time was equaled by Stampede newcomer Rowdy Parrot of Louisiana so the two got a bronze each and split the prize money, giving them a $5,000 bonus each. That means Cassidy has the edge in the Pool A standings, with a $9,500 tally, but he knows his lead isn’t safe with defending champion Tyler Waguespack nipping at his heels. His time was 4.5 seconds Saturday, and his third-place earnings mean he’s just $500 behind Cassidy, with $9,000.

“I can’t complain. It’s off to a good start,” noted Cassidy. “I’ve got two more days left and hopefully I can draw a couple more good steers and just keep picking away. That’s all you want to do, just get a piece of the pie. This is one of the biggest rodeos we come to for the year, so you want to do good and win some money. That’s what we’re all here for, is the money.”

The fastest barrel racer of the round was Colorado cowgirl Ivy Conrado, with her time of 17.45 seconds, in her second trip to Calgary.

“I missed it last year, and I was so upset. I made sure that I was going to get here this year because this is the best rodeo there is,” she bubbled.

“I’ve never won a round here. The first year I came to Calgary I was in Mary Burger’s set and she swept it, and I won second three times, so I really wanted to get it today.”

Conrado has placed in both rounds and is the Pool A leader, with $9,000.