Athletes from across Canada are preparing to head to Red Deer for the Canadian Finals Rodeo next week.
Bull riders Jared Parsonage of Maple Creek, Sask. and Zane Lambert of Ponoka, are excited to have qualified in what is now the fourth time for the CFR.
“It’s what a person works towards every year,” said Parsonage.
“It feels great to be back at the CFR and it’s nice to have it in Red Deer. I’m from Ponoka, so it’s really in our backyard,” said Lambert.
Both men have had rodeo in their blood for a long time.
Hailing from a rodeo family, Parsonage has always been involved in rodeo and began riding steers, which later progressed into bull riding. He later became professional in 2014.
For Lambert, he first got into bull riding when he was young, and went to bull riding school when he was around 10 years old out in Saskatchewan.
“Dad took me to the school and I learned the basics of bull riding and it went from there. It turned into a sport for me,” said Lambert.
He later went through high school rodeos and amateur circuits before working his way up to pro rodeos.
“I’ve been making a living at it for a few years here now and I just enjoy everything about it.”
And like the rest of the competitors, a few bumps and bruises doesn’t keep these athletes away.
“I’ve broken my jaw and broke some bones and what-not, but I would never say anything too serious by no means.
“It’s part of the sport, it’s something you accept when you do it,” said Parsonage.
“It’s a rough sport, I’ve had a few bumps and bruises along the way. With Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine and the help with them we heal up quick and carry on to the next one,” added Lambert.
Parsonage said that one of the things that has him coming back to bull riding is the challenge of it and the people.
“The people is the big thing of it, with all your friends, travelling with them and being around them all the time. It’s a pretty neat way to make a living when you can do things like this with your close friends,” he said,
Looking back over the years, there’s been quite a few memories that have made the books.
For Parsonage, one of those moments was the first year he qualified for the CFR.
“The first year I qualified for the CFR in 2015, I won the first round of my first ever CFR, so that was pretty neat,” he said.
For Lambert, competing in the Professional Bull Riders had some great highlights, but also his first win in Morris, Manitoba, the only pro rodeo they have there, which also happens to be where his family is from.
“I had been trying to win for 10 years or plus,” said Lambert with a laugh. “I’ve been one of the veterans in the ring.”
The CFR runs at Westerner Park from Oct. 30th to Nov. 4th.