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Culling wins season-ending rodeo

Fort St. John steer wrestler wins Maple Circuit Finals to cap off successful year
Fort St. John's Stephen Culling is the new steer wrestling champion on Canada's Maple Leaf rodeo circuit.

Fort St. John’s Stephen Culling can add another buckle to his collection after winning the 2022 Maple Leaf Circuit Rodeo Finals in Regina last week.

Culling, who returned home to the Peace Sunday night, had top four finishes in each of the four go-rounds at circuit finals.

“It feels really good to get off to a good start for next year,” said Culling.

“All the money that was won for this event will go to the Canadian standings for 2023. It’s a good little hit to start the year off for next year.”

Culling opened the competition Wednesday night with a time of four seconds flat.

Although most nights that might have given him the win, the top four times were just three-tenths of a second apart and he’d place fourth.

Culling, though, would finish on top of the podium a night later with a 3.6.

His 4.5-second result Friday would give him second, but also tie him with southern Alberta’s Jonny Webb.

And his final score Saturday, a 4.4, would earn him a fourth-place showing and another tie – this time with Stony Plain’s Derek Frank.

But it was his aggregate time of 16.5, all four scores combined, that would earn him the buckle.

“Always great competition at events like this,” admitted Culling. “Some really good horsepower.”

He credits some of this year’s success to a particular horse named Eddie.

“Lots of times I would take mine out. This year, I’ve been riding Tanner’s quite a bit. That’s what I rode at Canadian Finals and he’s one of the nicest ones in the world right now.”

Tanner Mylan is Culling’s friend and travelling partner around the rodeo circuit, and Eddie’s owner.

“Tanner took him out there and I had the chance to ride him.”

Culling will spend the next few weeks, including Christmas, with family here at home, before packing up and heading south to the States for more rodeo competitions in the new year.

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