Ponoka cowboy Wacey Finkbeiner has had quite the year, having won the bull riding at the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer this past Fall.
“It was a pretty cool deal. As soon as I turned professional when I was 18-years old that’s always been a goal of mine and to succeed and accomplish that goal in my third CFR is pretty special to me,” said Finkbeiner in a recent chat with Prairie Living.
Finkbeiner competed in his first CFR back in 2016, but 2016 and 2017 proved to be bad ones for the 26-year-old, so he was happy to turn that around in 2018.
Bull riding is a sport that runs in his family. His dad, uncles and cousins all rode bulls, so Finkbeiner gave it a try and started out riding calves when he was just five or six years old. He then moved up to steer riding from 10 to 14 years old and from there started getting on young and junior bulls.
When asked to describe what it’s like being on a bull in a few words, Finkbeiner answered with ‘exciting’ and ‘action-packed.’
“I like the challenge. The average bull in Canada probably weighs 1,700 to 1,800 pounds – they can get upwards of 2,000 pounds. To be able to conquer an animal that size with that much strength and power is a pretty special feeling.”
Looking back over his career Finkbeiner’s recent Canadian title win definitely tops the books. He was also chosen to ride for Team Canada at the Global Cup, proving yet another memorable moment.
“To go down to Sydney, Australia to represent my country was a pretty cool deal,” he said.
Having grown up in Ponoka, Finkbeiner recently made the move to Medicine Hat this past summer, a trip he made with his long-time love Chelsey Carlier. The two also recently got engaged.
Carlier, who is a barrel racer, is Finkbeiner’s biggest supporter.
“She’s a huge supporter of mine. She comes with me as often as she can and she’s always videoing for me so I can watch the footage back and break down what I did right and what I did wrong. She’s just always had my back.”
Carlier was there for his first CFR and she was there this past year when he won it, which was a pretty special moment.
Now that he’s won the CFR, Finkbeiner gets higher qualifications in the United States, which makes him eligible to get into some big rodeos.
“As long as I’m healthy and everything’s going well I’m going to try to make the NFR.”
When it comes to advice he’s been given, he likes to live by the words, ‘You get out of it what you put into it.’
“You see lots of bull riders with lots of talent, but they don’t put in the work behind the scenes in the gym or getting on practice bulls. I really strive to try to make myself better every day as far as a competitor.”
Finkbeiner tries to stay on top of his fitness, trying to stay pound for pound – as light and strong as he can.
“There’s no way we’re going to out muscle these animals, they weigh way too much. I’m just trying to be as flexible and as toned and not have too much muscle.”
In his spare time, Finkbeiner likes anything to do with the outdoors and water and enjoys fishing, hunting, snowboarding and water sports like wakeboarding and wake surfing.