COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. With hockey as their national sport, Canadians know a thing or two about hat tricks. These days, a bay stallion named Grated Coconut of the Calgary Stampede is making sure great things can come in threes in not only arenas covered in ice, but dirt as well.
For the third time in four years, the 8-year old earned the respect of the top roughstock cowboys in the world in 2006 by being named as the PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year. The horse previously finished on top of the voting in 2003-04.
"We're extremely proud today," said Keith Marrington, the Calgary Stampede's senior manager. "He's really been consistent, and guys have won a lot of money on him."
World standings leader Andy Martinez (Pavillion, Wyo.) drew the horse in the Wrangler ProRodeo Tour Round in Hermiston, Ore., on Aug. 12 and produced a rodeo-best, 89-point ride that gave Martinez the Tour-Round and average titles.
"The way he performs in the rodeo arena, he's awesome every time," Marrington said. "The cowboys know they're going to get a good trip every time, and you better bring your 'A' game, or you're not going to score well."
Big Bend Rodeo's Spring Fling, a previous horse of the year in both bareback riding and saddle bronc riding, was second, while Carr Pro Rodeo's Real Deal, last year's champion, and Sankey Rodeo's William, finished in a tie for third.
The top 30 cowboys in each riding event conducted the voting.
In saddle bronc riding, Korkow Rodeo's Slippery earned the top spot for the first time, edging Kesler Championship Rodeo's Cool Alley, last year's runner-up and 2001 PRCA Bareback Horse of the Year, and Burch Rodeo's Blood Brother.
Southwick, Robinson and Wilson Rodeo's bull Biloxi Blues was voted tops by PRCA bull riders. On Oct. 7, the bull carried JayC Bean (Goldendale, Wash.) to a 92-point score and victory at the Kissimmee, Fla., stop of the Dodge Xtreme Bulls Ride Hard Tour, presented by B&W Trailer Hitches. In 13 rides this year, the five fortunate cowboys to have made the whistle on the bull were rewarded with an average score of 90.4 points.
Andrews Rodeo's Fender Bender came in second, while Poison Ivy of Western Rodeos was third.