Southern Region IPRA Tour Finale

by Lindsay Whelchel

The Ada Firefighters Southern Region Tour Finale held October 21-22 in Ada, Oklahoma showcased some of rodeo’s toughest talent for the International Professional Rodeo Association’s Southern Region.

On Friday night, familiar names in the IPRA, Mark Kreder (pictured) and Sean Prater took first for Go-Round One in bareback riding and saddle bronc riding, and newcomer Osman Alvarez won the bull riding. At the timed-event side of the arena, the 2014 World Champion Barrel Racer, Natalie Overholt took first. Austin Mason wrestled his steer the fastest, Blake Ash took first in Go Round One of the tie-down roping. Former Rookies of the Year and International Finals Average Champions, Josh Canant and Jake Weddle, won the team roping, and Jimme Beth Hefner won the breakaway.

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Saturday night, the competition really heated up to determine Round Two winners as well as the Average Champions.

Go Round Two would see a repeat win from both Sean Prater and the team of Josh Canant and Jake Weddle. Rookies, Austin Graham (bareback riding), Luke Potter (tie-down roping) and Bert Kathy Thompson (barrel racing) won the round in their events. Cody Brecheisen took first in steer wrestling, and your 2015 World Champion Breakaway Roper, Lindsey Hughes won the breakaway in Round Two.

It’s no surprise that the Southern Region Tour Finale champions, based upon the average, were bronc rider Sean Prater and ropers Jake Weddle and Josh Canant for a clean sweep of the weekend.

“Jake and I grew up together and have roped together for as long as I can remember.  We know what each other is going do every time we run a steer. He is an outstanding header, and he makes my job easy,” Josh Canant said of his partner in the team roping. He added of the finals, “The tour finale is great because of the money. Jake and I were both 16th in the standings, and this win hopefully helps us make the IFR this year. Kevin and Gina [of Hampton Rodeo Company] put on an excellent rodeo as usual in Ada.”

Consistency paid off for JC King and Toya Vogt in the tie-down and the breakaway roping. Mark Kreder secured the championship in the bareback riding, and Cody Brecheisen turned his round win into an average championship in the steer wrestling, while Bert Kathy Thompson proved why she’s one of the rising stars in the IPRA with her first IPRA regional championship.

“It was [a] surreal feeling to win the Southern Region Championship and a huge accomplishment for me. Not only to win it; but the fact I had only been back to riding about 10 days from a shoulder separation and tear.  My mare Shez Truely Oldtimes took care of me,” enthused Thompson, who added, “the awards were wonderful, and Hampton Rodeo put on a great show!”

Thompson, who comes from the barrel racing futurity world, has spent her rookie year adjusting to rodeo life but cited her enjoyment of travel and the helpful members of the IPRA who have welcomed her into the association. Now, she is well on her way to her first IFR qualification after her win in Ada.

For more information visit IPRARodeo.com

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