Last night’s Round 3 of the 2023 Canadian Finals Rodeo up in Red Deer, Alberta was something like Round 9 at the 2009 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, when JoJo Lemond and Randon Adams broke the 3.5-second NFR record in 3.4, then Chad Masters and Jade Corkill turned right around and one-upped that with the 3.3-second run that still stands today and has been matched only by Kaleb Driggers and Junior Nogueira in 2017.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is calling last night’s performance, “The greatest night of team roping in the history of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.” Here’s why…
Canadian title contenders Tee McLeod and Brady Chappel got the Round 3 party started with a record-tying 3.7-second run.
“The (six-steer) average pays good here, but it doesn’t pay good enough to not win in the rounds,” Richard noted. “I’m not saying I was backed in there trying to be 3.5. But I was going to take my first available shot. I got a really good start tonight for the first time, the steer was really good and made up fast. That was kind of what made it work.”
“It’s dang sure a confidence boost to know that what you’ve been working on is the right thing,” said “The Beard” Buhler, who’ll also heel for Richard at next month’s NFR. “It’s honestly almost more of a relief after the last month, when you’ve been working hard and paying attention to the process. To show up and execute validates your process, and helps you have more confidence that your process is working.”
Tryan’s been 3.5 once before.
“I was 3.5 one other time, over a decade ago at the NFR,” he said. “Anytime you’re a 3, when you look at the clock, you’re shocked and excited.”
“I’ve never been 3 until tonight,” chimed in an elated Smith. “My whole family is here, even my grandma. And some of my high school buddies came up for a couple days to see me rope. I’m excited.”
The races for the 2023 Canadian championships are taking shape heading into Round 4. Tryan and Smith have taken the overall lead, and are second in the average so far. Meanwhile, McLeod and Chappel are only hundreds of dollars behind and lead the average on three.
Richard and Buhler are currently third in the average, and fourth in overall money won. Season leaders and defending Canadian champs Dawson and Dillon Graham went out of the average in Round 3, so there’s no telling how long that new 3.5-second record will stand. With two performances, today’s a big day at CFR 2023.