By Deanna Kristensen
While most Canadian rodeo fans are unable to witness the action of the 2014 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, national champs like Ponoka, Alta.’s Jake Vold, are becoming international celebrities south of the boarder.
“It feels good to be here for Canada,” said Vold, moments after his sixth ride of the WNFR on Dakota Rodeo’s 127 Bartender. “I am a proud Canadian. To be here… is a huge honour.”
According to the way he’s riding, Vold’s still holding on strong. At the mid-point of the finals, Vold had picked up a check in the first five go-rounds. Go-round six left him empty handed, but he’s still sitting 11th in the PRCA standings with $92,713 total earnings.
For any rodeo cowboy, there’s nothing that compares to the WNFR. Vold said he still feels good this week and is loving every minute in and out of arena at the Thomas & Mack.
“There is no pressure here, it’s fun. I’m not worried about everyone’s numbers. I’m not a kid anymore and I’ve been around the block.”
With a last name synonymous in rodeo, most fans predicted years ago that this bareback rider would one day ride into rodeo superstardom in Vegas. However, rodeo offers no favours and Vold knows this better than any cowboy out there.
“With six bucking horses in a row, the ice bags sometimes get a little bigger,” laughed Vold. “My hip is hurting a little bit. I dealt with it my entire career, so it’s nothing I can’t handle. I feel good and I feel in shape.”
Earlier in the 2014 season at the CPRA rodeo in Camrose, Alta., Outlaw Bucker’s OLS Tubs Ross River (the 2010 CPRA Bareback horse of the year), threw the 27-year-old hard and separated the cartilage in his ribs. However, this week it’s all or nothing in Vegas.
“I’ve broke my legs, ribs and my arm a couple times,” said Vold with a smile. “Bumps and bruises along way, they sideline a guy. But you learn from it and you come back stronger.”
Every injury takes it’s tole on a cowboy, but Vold said he has put everything behind him.
“It’s taught me a lot throughout the years. This is an extreme sport, stuff happens. Some guys have better luck than others, but if you put your heart into it… it will payoff.”
At this point it’s may not be possible to break Kaycee Field’s commanding lead of $201,807, but Vold’s still smiling. It doesn’t matter now how the chips will fall during the final go-rounds, Vold laughed because… he’s just here to have a good time here.
“It’s a dream come true, it shows that determination can prevail,” grinned Vold. “It feels good.”