A Quick Interview with Canada’s New All-Around Cowboy
He wasn’t even supposed to be in the Canadian Finals Rodeo, but when # 106 Jacob (Jake to his friends) Gardner got the call to replace an injured bull rider at the Big Show, he hit the trail for Red Deer. Now, after three nights of rodeo, the young firebrand has won the coveted All-Around title. How difficult is it to win this title? To give you an idea, only three CPRA members were in the running, and until Jake got the call — none of them had even qualified for the CFR.
That’s right – leading into the CFR, the “best guess” for the title was steer wrestler/bull rider Luke Gee, a young Montana cowboy, and that’s what we put in the program. The other cowboy in contention was bull rider/team roper Ty Ellis.
But now, history has been re-written, thanks to the drama in last night’s perf. Gardner had drawn the 2018 Bull of the Year, Calgary Stampede’s 201 Night Moves, but a misstep turned into a re-ride which turned into last night’s third-place finish (81 pts) on Duffy Rodeo’s 306 Pig. Not the most flattering name, but when he helps you win a title like this – that name must be music to Gardner’s ears.
“Did I actually get it?” he exclaimed. “I am so happy right now!”
The other bull riders also had it figured that the young B.C. cowboy had earned the coveted title, and they were already congratulating him when he stepped behind the chutes.
“I was disappointed that I didn’t get to ride Night Moves, but when I found out I had drawn Pig I knew I could ride him,” says Gardner. “Throughout it all, I didn’t think about the concept of All-Around.”
It wasn’t Gardner’s first trip on the bull. “I got on him at Medicine Lodge,” he says. “As they say, ‘if you ride like a fat kid you’re going to get bucked off’ — and that’s what happened there.”
Not one to rest on his laurels, Gardner is happy about the title, but he’s still focused on the Grand Prize. “I want to ride the next three nights and do my job right, that’s the plan. Winning this title has taken a lot of pressure off of me,” he explains. “I’ve worked really hard to get to this point, and last night I capitalized.”
He paused. “I’m tickled pink right now. It’s a dream come true.”
The fourth perf of the CFR goes at 7 p.m. tonight. If you can’t make it to Red Deer, subscribe to FloRodeo to watch the live stream of the 45th annual CFR.