for the history books

Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith Put Together Record-Breaking CFR
Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith had a historical 2023 Canadian Finals Rodeo, winning the average, year-end and breaking five records.
Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith finishing a run at the 2023 CFR.
Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith at the 2023 CFR. | Chantelle Bowman photo

Brady Tryan and Calgary Smith’s performance in Red Deer, Alberta, at the 2023 Canadian Finals Rodeo was one for the history books. Literally.

The team not only won the average with a 24.3 on six steers, but they also secured the year-end title with $91,493 in season earnings, breaking five records in pursuit. 

They set a new arena record in Round 3 with a 3.5-second run (along with Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler), won four consecutive rounds to set a second record, their aggregate on six head broke a third record, they amassed $62,837 during the CFR to break a fourth record and their season earnings was a fifth broken record. All in all, Huntley, Montana’s Tryan said the experience was unbelievable. 

“It’s crazy to me just because there are so many good guys that have roped there over the years,” Tryan, 34, said. “Levi Simpson, the McCarrolls back in the day and recently, all of the Gallaises over the years, Roland McFadden. All those guys that are still doing it. The Grahams, obviously, with how good they rope.”

For Smith, a 25-year-old Adams, Oregon, native, this CFR appearance was his first, and he couldn’t have asked for a better experience or a better header.

“Just to have everything click like it did, I don’t know if I’ve ever caught six in a row at the rodeos,” Smith said with a laugh. “So, to do it there, I’m glad it worked out. To draw as good as we did all weekend. Brady headed them so fast and just put them on the end of it and they just hopped away. It just felt easy.”

So, how do you break so many records?

Tryan and Smith, both riding grade horses, were second in the first round with a 4.7. In Round 2, Smith thought he legged their steer but was pleased to see two feet in his loop when he dallied. They split second and third in the round with a 4.1.

Round 3 saw them break their first record of the week. After watching Tee McLeod and Brady Chappel break the original record with a 3.7-second run, they took a new lead with a 3.5. Rhen Richard and Jeremy Buhler would also rope their steer in 3.5 seconds to split the arena record with them. The 3.5 was Smith’s first 3-second run ever, adding to the excitement. 

“I told Brady coming up here, if I go all year in Canada where the barriers are short and I’m not three seconds, I just don’t know if I’ll ever be fast enough to be three seconds,” Smith explained. “And to go 3.5 for my first CFR was pretty exciting.”

Tryan and Smith would continue their tear, winning Round 4 with a 4.0, Round 5 with a 4.1 and Round 6 with a 3.9. Tryan believes part of their success comes from following tough competition each night.

“I think part of the reason that we won as much as we did is because Tee McLeod and Brady Chappel went right in front of us and all of a sudden the go round was a lot tougher each time,” Tryan said.

With a 24.3 on six head, they took the average win to also secure the year-end for the duo. If you ask Tryan, a good horse, good steers and a great heeler go a long ways.

“If your horse gives you a good go every single time and your partner heels lights out, it makes heading way easier than it ever should be,” Tryan said. “[Gypsy] gave me good gos; I never even felt like I had to reach. I just was getting good starts, and the steers felt like they were right there. We drew good steers overall and when your partner heels them, I never have to worry about what he’s doing over there—I get to worry about me.”

Back to defend their title

While breaking records is something they’ll never forget, Tryan also adds there’s a sentimental value to the win. His wife, then Callahan Crossley, won the barrel racing title in the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association in 2018, and she, too, won four rounds and had two second-place finishes en route to her year-end title.

As of right now, Tryan and Smith plan to defend their titles in 2024, a bit of a no-brainer.

“I mean how can you not go back now?” Tryan said. “I didn’t know if I would, but I definitely had fun this year, even before the finals. We had a lot of fun up there and now I don’t see any way that we couldn’t. Someone asked me if I was coming back, I said, ‘Well, you can’t defend your title if you’re not there. So better come back.’”

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