Canada’s top-ranked novice saddle bronc cowboy had a chance to repeat as the event champion at the Calgary Stampede.
And while he did save his best ride for last, Armstrong’s Jaret Cooper settled for fourth place in 2023.
Cooper, 19, entered the Calgary Stampede looking to repeat his win in 2022, and leading the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association novice saddle bronc standings with nearly $7,000 accumulated this year. His total is good for a $2,000 lead on fellow Stampede contestant Colten Powell of Sylvan Lake, Alta.
But it was the Albertan who came out on top in Calgary.
Powell had the best score in each of the first two go-rounds, 75 and 76. The top four scores qualified for the final go on Wednesday, July 11.
Cooper opened Calgary with a sixth-place ride of 62 aboard the horse Empty Pockets (all eight competitors had qualified rides on the opening night), and followed that up with a 64.5 aboard Exciting Bubbles. There were only four scores recorded in the second round.
Cooper had the second-best result of the final four, recording a 71.5 aboard York Alabama for a three-horse average score of 66.
Powell won the event with a final round 59.5 for an average score of 70 for the three rounds.
Cache Schellenberg of Melfort, Sask. was third with an average score of 69, one point better than Hayle Lueders of Sherwood Park, Alta.
Cooper tuned up for Calgary by winning one of B.C.’s most prestigious rodeos, the Williams Lake Stampede. He scored a 74 aboard a horse named Duffy to claim top prize.