It was a huge victory for Big Valley, Alta., cowboy Zeke Thurston. Not only did the 20-year-old earn a cheque for $100,000, but he earned it the hard way by having to get on three top broncs in just a couple of hours.
First, the young cowboy rode Big Stone Rodeo’s Rubels to an 88.5 and made it to the final four; round two he measured his bronc rein on Frontier Rodeo’s Spring Planting and scored 90.5 — resulting in a three-way tie.
There’s no such thing as co-champions and the only way to break it was a ride off. They loaded the chutes one more time and young Zeke came out spurring on Vold Rodeo’s Easy to Love, scoring an 88.5 and beating out the two veterans, Cody DeMoss and Wade Sundell.
It’s already been a stellar year for the 20-year-old rookie riding in his first year of open competition, who spurred his way to $50,000 at RodeoHouston in March. To double that in front of his home province fans and family was something special.
Interestingly, this wasn’t the first match up between these two. Zeke won the pro rodeo at Rocky Mountain House a month earlier on Easy to Love with 87 points.
Zeke, the 2015 Calgary Stampede Saddle Bronc Champion, is the son of Skeeter Thurston, a six-time NFR qualifier.