By Greg Price
Sometimes in rodeo — things just don’t break your way.
Former Taberite Lee Rombough made his second appearance at the Calgary Stampede competing in tie-down roping, one of four Canadians to do so for the 2017 edition.
“It is as tough as you want to make it I guess in a sense,” said Rombough, who now resides in Sexsmith, on handling centre stage at one of the largest rodeos in the world in the Calgary Stampede. “It is more you against the calf more than you against the other guys. Sometimes when you are on the wrong end of a draw, it makes it harder to be in the top-four times in a format like that where the calibre of contestants is so tough. When we are in Calgary, we rope in groups of 10 calves and there’s always better calves than others in groups of 10.”
Unfortunately due to some bad breaks, he was not able to finish in the money this time around.
“Rodeo is such a momentum sport. You are sometimes riding the highs or the lows. The two days I did OK, I ended up sixth and they only pay the top five,” said Rombough. “I took my first one off his feet which Calgary doesn’t allow because it’s muddy out. You get a no-time there and my next calf, he kicked on me and took me out of the money. There’s nothing you can do about that, some calves kick and some don’t. I had a couple of mistakes on some others and there you go, that’s your four days and you are done.”
As Rombough talks about momentum, in the game of rodeo, you can’t let yourself get down for too long given the grind of the circuit. He noted he usually averages 45 to 50 pro rodeos a year.
Just this past weekend after Calgary Stampede, Rombough was south of Winnipeg, Edmonton and Regina all in a whirlwind tour where Rombough finished out of the money again.
“It’s three days of work until I hit the truck and go south again,” said Rombough who remains undaunted as he makes the push to qualify for the Canadian Finals Rodeo. “Hopefully this weekend things turn around. I think I’m 19th or 20th in the standings. I’m right in the hunt, I just got to get the ball rolling.”
To qualify for the Canadian Finals Rodeo, you have to be in the top 12 in the standings for money won. This weekend will be another busy one for Rombough who will compete in Bonnyville, Medicine Hat and Bruce, Alberta. Rombough added he has 22 rodeos left before the Canadian finals to qualify. Money standings are so tight with a few thousand from each other, that moving up the standings can come very quickly with a strong weekend.
“It’s one of those things where I have been to the Canadian finals three times now. Once you set foot on that dirt, it’s such a drive to get back there. Last year I finished fifth in the Canadian standings,” said Rombough. “To know you are just four guys away from winning that buckle, it keeps you pushing. I know I can do it. The goal is to get back there and I don’t care if I go in first place or 12th. I just want to be there because you can win enough to be the champion at the end.”
Last year, Rombough competed at more than 40 rodeos and finished 11th on the 2016 Wrangler Canadian Professional Pro Rodeo Tour, sixth on the Pro Rodeo Canada Series circuit, and seventh on the Alberta Circuit. He also attended his third consecutive Canadian Finals Rodeo and collected more than $15,000 in CFR prize money by finishing fifth overall.