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2016 IPRA Canada Cup Champions
story by Lindsay Whelchel
Kicking off the Festival Western de St. Tite was a special match-up of qualifiers in the 2016 Canada Cup.
The two-day rodeo event begins the 10 days of festivities surrounding the International Professional Rodeo Association rodeo held in St. Tite, Quebec, a tiny French-speaking village north of Montreal, that surges with visitors to the festival each year.
Four of the IPRA’s Canadian rodeos from stock contractor Wildtime Production formed the qualifying foundation for the Canada Cup. For contestants who made it, $54,000 in added money awaited them over the course of two long-gos, and a short go based on the average.
Once the top-10 in each event qualified to the short go, it was a clean slate to determine who would be the Canadian Cup Champions, and in typical St. Tite fashion- each performance was energy-packed.
The competition was tight in the first two rounds. Canadians, Pascal Isabelle (bareback riding), Louis Hemart (saddle bronc), Jason Chatigny (tie-down roping), Matt Mousseau (steer wrestling) and Sindy Laliberte (barrel racing) took the go-round wins in their events, while American bull rider Cody Sauls of Georgia marked the highest score in the first round with his eight-second ride.
In the second round, Tennessean, Josh Michael Cragar took top honors in the bareback riding, 2015 World Champion All-Around cowboy, Justin Thigpen from Georgia won the steer wrestling, Oklahoma’s cowboy painter, Bradley Chance Hays took the round in tie-down roping, Eddie Parlier of Alabama won the saddle bronc round, and it was Canadians Dusty McMullen (bull riding) and Martine Desjardins (barrel racing) who won their events in round two.
Multiple-time world champion All-Around Cowboy, Shawn Minor, took the average in the Saddle Bronc, while Spur Lacasse got the honors for bareback riding average. Caroline Poulin and Matt Fisher won the average in the barrel racing and steer wresting events respectively, and repeating their wins for the average prize, was bull rider Dusty McMullen and roper
Bradley Chance Hays.
Ultimately, it was the short go held on Championship Sunday that would be the most intense and determine the overall champions.
Carl Bernier won the event in the bareback riding, Louis Hemart won again in the saddle bronc, Cody Mousseau of Ontario, won the tie-down roping, Justin Thigpen continued his winning streak by becoming Canadian Cup Champion steer wrestler in 4.4 seconds, Dusty McMullen won the bull riding, and Edesse Descoteaux took the fastest time in the barrel racing with a smoking run of 16.14 seconds. It was a dream she’s had since she was a child. “I thought about that victory lap all summer!” Descoteaux enthused. “I knew we could do it. It’s a dream come true. I’ve wanted to win St. Tite since the first time I came here when I was 12.”
The excitement continues this week with six more performances of Festival Western de St. Tite’s regular rodeo format and almost $100,000 in additional added money up for grabs. Stay tuned for more coverage from the IPRA.
For more information and full results visit iprarodeo.com