Lacombe’s Justine Elliott is no stranger to the big stage.
The 20-year-old is in her third appearance at the Canadian Finals Rodeo and is doing all she can to make CFR 47 an event to remember.
Although Elliott finished out of the money Thursday at the Peavey Mart Centrium in the second performance, she still sits second in the overall standings and is hoping she can make up some ground the rest of the week.
“It’s amazing to be back here, it was a long year without it. I’m glad we’re back and it’s nice to be pretty well in my hometown,” said Elliott.
“I’m just hoping to stay clean and I’m not here to win any rounds, I’m just here to keep it clean and win in the average.”
Her time of 14.367 sat seventh in round two, despite being just six one-hundredths of a second behind Day 2 winner Lisa Zachoda of Okotoks. Zachoda won the round in 14.163 and sits fourth overall.
Elliott still holds second in the overall standings, just $2,000 behind Lynette Brodoway. Ponoka’s Shelby Spielman is third overall and was third on the day with a time of 14.268.
Her horse Blondy was recognized as Horse with the Most Heart for the second straight year before the performance Thursday.
“Blondy was phenomenal all year. She ran the same run everywhere and just wanted to be the best she could all year,” Elliott said.
“It’s the best feeling in the world to know your horse is loving her job.”
Red Deer County cowboy Dylan Bilton had a strong showing in the second round of the bareback riding. Bilton put up an 86 point ride on Calgary Stampede’s Xplosiv Skies, which was just behind Jake Vold of Carstairs, who posted an 87.75 to win the round.
Olds product Matt Richardson, in his first year at the CFR had a memorable showing Thursday in Steer Wrestling. He posted a 4.5 second takedown and sits fifth overall in the season standings.
Another local rookie in his first CFR was Innisfail’s Ryan Shuckburgh. The steer wrestler has not quite had the start he dreamed of but is enjoying the experience nonetheless.
“It’s exciting to be able to make it. It hasn’t been going exactly my way but we’ve got a few more nights so hopefully get it turned around,” said Shuckburgh, who has had a pair of 10 second penalties to start the event.
“Obviously for every Canadian rodeo (cowboy) it’s a dream to come to CFR. It’s nice that it’s finally come true. Put a lot of time into it, so it’s nice to finally be here.”
Ty Miller of Wainwright earned top spot steer wrestling with a 3.8 second time and moved into third in the overall standings.
Erik Dublanko of Thorsby captured top spot on the round with an 8.1 second time in tie-down roping. Dublanko finished just one hundredth of a second ahead of Sundre’s Riley Warren, who ended up tied for second on the night with Eckville’s Clayton Smith.
Sam Kelts of Stavely was the top saddle bronc rider on the night with an 86.00 on Zoaria Hills. That showing pushed him into second overall behind Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston, who posted an 84-point ride Thursday. Thurston still leads the overall standings with $32,503 earned overall this season.
There were five qualified rides in the bull riding Thursday, after only one on opening night. Nick Tetz had the top performance with an 86.75 on Richie Bros Positively. Jared Parsonage was second with an 85.25 on Diamon Back and Todd Chotowetz finished third with an 85-point ride on double vision.
Cruz McNulty of Saskatchewan won the novice bareback, Brodie Roessler won novice saddle bronc and Nash Loewen won steer riding.
Friday’s performance gets underway at 6 p.m. at the Peavey Mart Centrium.