Winning at the Calgary Stampede was all part of the plan for Zane Lambert.
“I’ve been waiting all year,” said Lambert, who makes his home in Ponoka. “Going into last year, I knew there was only one shot to get here, and that was to win Canada in the PBR. I wasn’t going to the CFR so I didn’t really have a seat other than that. It was really important to me, so I made sure I won Canada last year and got the spot here. Everything’s been for this moment, so I finally got it.”
You be hard pressed to find a happier cowboy, after the Ponoka contestant spun and spurred to an 88 for first place in the bull riding and $5500 on Day Six of the Calgary Stampede.
Opening day of Pool B didn’t go according to Lambert’s plot, despite drawing a bull he was confident he could win the round on. But Excessive Force hip checked the chute on the way out, and Lambert was given a re-ride, which bucked him off.
“I was angry all night and taking it out on everything, trying to fight my head and figure what it’s going to take. Hopefully this is it, and I just keep rolling from now on.
“I’d been on this bull, Ivy League, before. I won the Camrose Spring Rodeo on this same bull. I knew coming in I had one to win it on. I just took care of my business and made sure everything was set right, and just made sure I did exactly what my script was. I was ready for him today.”
“He kind of had me beat and I was on the end of my arm,” admitted Lambert, who turned 32 at the start of July. “That’s when I let everything hang out, and I just went for it. I trucked as hard as I could and every time it just seemed to get there. It was just enough.”
“With the extra preparation getting in here and maybe bucking off yesterday, I just had the extra grit to get it done today.”
Lambert enjoyed every moment of his victory lip, waving and twirling his hat to fans.
“Yea, that was pretty fun. This is my fourth year here and I’ve never got a round win. I’ve got some seconds, but I’ve never been able to get that win so it was pretty special.”
The $5,500 goes well with Lambert’s first bronze and will help with nursery preparations as he and his wife Stacey are expecting their first child in October. It also brings him a step closer to another element of his plan – getting a day off Saturday before riding in Sunday’s Showdown.
“It just depends on when you get that momentum rolling. If you can get it early, you can win the whole thing and you’ll be unstoppable. So getting this early momentum is pretty important.”
After placing both days, World and Stampede Champion Sage Kimzey has the edge in Pool B, with $6000, followed by the day winners Lambert and Derek Kolbaba with $5,500 each.
They’re still wrapping them up in the blink of an eye in the tie-down roping. This time it was World All Around Champion Tuf Cooper’s turn to be fast man, with his 6.7 second run, using his horse Topaz.
“That was a blast. It’s a dream come true to come here and compete at the highest level in front of the best crowd and against the best guys in the world. It’s just a blessing to be able to compete, and to have the best run of the day is just really awesome,” declared the Texan who won Calgary in 2011.
“It’s a very unique roping. It’s a six second roping, usually, to win first. There’s no room for error. You’ve kind of got to forget about the fundamentals, and just go and try to be as fast as you can.”
Cooper built his reputation on rapid ties, but claims getting away from that to focus on the fundamentals of roping may have sidetracked his speed factor. Coming to Calgary brings him back to that basic.
“You’ve just to go as fast as you can, and hopefully it works out. There’s no time to think during a six second run, when you’re making that many moves. There’s a lot going on.”
As some ropers showed Wednesday, the trouble with haste can be mistakes.
“That’s what happens whenever you go as fast as you possibly can,” explains Cooper. “In a six second roping, whether you’re first or last you’ve got to max out, and there’s going to be bobbles. But for the most part, you’re going to see the money holes are going to be fast.”
After two days, Cooper now leads Pool B with $9,000, followed by fellow speedster Ryan Jarrett, who has $8,000.
She was second fastest the opening day, so Hailey Kinsel and her palomino mare Sister came out on Day Six and found a way to shave off a little time around the barrels. Their time of 17.28 seconds was untouchable so the 23-year-old Texan adds another $5,500 to her Stampede tally.
“She stands up really good, and she’s really smart,” says Kinsel, about her running mate. “She runs really hard.”
“She’s doing good with the crowd here. The first couple of days the chuckwagons bothered her, but she’s settled in pretty good. I’m hoping to take Saturday off so I can let her have chill day. She’s been really gritty, and tried really hard, despite all the distractions.”
Not only is it the Stampede debut for her horse, it’s also Kinsel’s first time in Cowtown.
“It’s better than I expected,” she grinned. “I mean everybody said you’d like it and it would become your favorite rodeo pretty fast, and it already has. Everyone’s so nice here and it’s an awesome show. But while putting on a great show, they still are considerate about us, the contestants.”
Kinsel leads her Pool with $10,000 now, followed by B.C. cowgirl Carman Pozzobon, with $8000.
There was a new high mark set in the saddle bronc riding for this Stampede when World Champion Ryder Wright of Utah clicked out 92 points on Bluebuck Splash. He’s now the Pool B leader, with earnings of $9,000.
There’s a reride to go yet in the bareback riding so they haven’t handed out the cash in that event yet. Leading so far is North Dakota’s Ty Breuer, who marked 87.5 points on a horse call Hay Wagon. Kaycee Field will get another horse at the start of Thursday’s round.
Jon Ragatz looked like he had the fastest steer wrestling time of the round with a 3.9 second run but he received a penalty of three-tenths of a second for his horse taking too long in the box. That bumped him to second place, and gave the bronze to Dakota Eldridge, a Nevada cowboy, for his time of 4.1 seconds. His $9,000 in earnings now lead Pool B standings, followed by Brendan Laye of Consort with $8,000.