While earnings from the Calgary Stampede don't count toward ProRodeo contestant's world standings, the chance to win over $100,000 can make or break a cowboy's year.
In 2008, tie-down roper Jeff Chapman finished with $158,344 (and in fifth place) in the world standings. That took an entire year to accumulate. He won $111,000 in just one week in Calgary.
While Chapman wasn't able to defend his Calgary title due to injury, the 2009 $1 million Showdown Sunday had numerous connections to last year's edition. Last year, Chapman won the title by beating Cody Ohl in a rope-off.
In 2009, Ohl finished second again-this time to 2005 World Champion All-Around Cowboy Ryan Jarrett. The Summerville, Ga., cowboy roped his final-round steer in 7.0 seconds, besting Ohl by nine tenths of a second.
Jarrett won the $100,000, but it's no surprise considering the year he's enjoying. After missing the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo for the past two years, Jarrett sits comfortably in the top 10 in the world standings.
In 2008, Tammy Key-Fischer finished second in the barrel racing at the Calgary Stampede to eventual world champion Lindsay Sears. This year, just two weeks after losing her 18-year-old son, Riley, in an auto accident, she triumphed in Canada.
She and her bay horse, Roundpen, made the cloverleaf pattern in 17.26 seconds-edging Savanah Reeves by one tenth of a second.
In sum, Key-Fischer hauled in $112,500 and will use a portion of the winnings as seed money to start a memorial scholarship fund for her son.
In the bareback riding, three-time World Champion Will Lowe repeated his $100,000 performance last year with another Stampede-winning ride in 2009. Lowe scored 87.5 points on Kesler Rodeo's Alley Trail to take the win. Last year, it took a sudden-death ride off between he and Canadian Russ Hallaby.
In the saddle bronc riding, another world champion- Taos Muncy-took the $100,000 top spot by riding Kesler's reigning and two-time saddle bronc of the year Cool Alley for 87.5 points. Incidentally, Cool Alley also won the bareback horse of the year title in 2001.
Muncy missed most of the 2008 season after suffering a broken leg.
Steer wrestler Trevor Knowles upset the crowd favorite and hometown hero, Lee Graves, in the final round by throwing his steer in 3.3 seconds to Graves's 3.7-second run. In the bull riding, Professional Bull Riders 2007 Daisy Rookie of the Year J.B. Mauney rode Big Bend Rodeo's Wrangler Rock Star-the same bull that carried Mike Lee to the win at last year's Stampede-for 92.5 points, completing the United States sweep of the event.