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Riding for the hat trick

Posted on July 6, 2017 by Westwind Weekly

Dale Woodard

Southern Alberta Newspapers

Jeff Heggie is going for the hat trick.

As the rodeo calendar flips from June into July, the Cardston cowboy has his eye on not one, but three rodeo finals at the year’s end.

“We got to three of these amateur associations,” said Heggie. “The Chinook, the Foothills Cowboys Association and the Canadian Cowboy Association. So I’d like to make all three of those finals, that’s my goal right now. Right now it’s looking good if I can keep it up.”

A top-10 finish in each of those association’s standings will earn Heggie a trip to all three finals and has he heads into his July schedule, he’s on track to do that.

“Right now I’m in the top-10 in the Chinook and the FCA and maybe just outside the top-10 in the CCA, that one is in Saskatchewan and we haven’t been to as many of those rodeos,” said Heggie. “So maybe we’ll try to get to more of those in July and August.”

But under a sweltering sun on Canada Day, it was all about being back in southern Alberta for the 115th Raymond Stampede as Heggie pulled triple duty on the final day, competing in steer wrestling, calf roping and team roping alongside Justin Heggie.

As he took a breather during the intermission at Saturday’s go-round, Heggie had already topped the field in one of his events, clocking in a time of 5.2 seconds in steer wrestling.

“It was good,” said Heggie. “I had seen that steer go two weeks ago at the rodeo in Coutts, so I kind of had an idea what he was going to be like. I just wanted to see a little bit, so I made sure to not break the barrier. He’s strong on the ground, but it’s good footing here so it helped me throw him.”

A little steer familiarity never hurts

“It’s a big deal,” said Heggie. “We try to keep track of the draw at different rodeos. If you’ve seen him go once before that’s a huge advantage and if you haven’t seen him, you give your buddy a call who maybe has seen him somewhere and that can help, too.”

As he heads into July, Heggie is riding a solid run that has put him in line for the three finals he’s seeking.

“It’s been a good season, one of the better Junes I’ve had,” said Heggie. “We’ve been up in central Alberta quite a bit and into Saskatchewan quite a bit. We were in Swift Current Thursday night and I was placing there when we left. So it’s been good.

“It’s just experience. I’m 32 now and I’ve been at this a while and I think I’ve finally been at it long enough and learning patience and experience. It just pays off. It’s good horses, we’ve been riding good horses. My dad (Mark) helps provide us with good horses and we’ve got some of our own young ones coming up, too.”

His eye is on his hat trick final, but Saturday was about riding on familiar terrain in front of familiar faces as Heggie took part in the century-plus old Raymond Stampede.

“It’s one of the most fun, between this one and my hometown in Cardston,” he said. “They’re the two best ones. You can come and stay close to home and get to rodeo and have all the family around. That’s the best part.”

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