Sports | DrumhellerMail
Last updateFri, 12 Aug 2022 4pm

Ball players national championship bound

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Two local athletes are headed to the U19A Fast Pitch National championship in Fredricton New Brunswick at the end of July. Charli Calon and Alicia Christensen, both 17 years of age, play for teams that qualified by placing top three at the U19 provincial finals that took place in Lloydminster on July 1-3. Charli plays for the Calgary Kaisen Black team. They won provincials, by beating the Sherwood Park Storm in the gold medal game, 6-1. This was after going undefeated in round robin. Alicia plays for the Calgary Kaizen Green team. They placed third at provincials after placing second in the round robin with a 3-1 record. The U19 Canadian Championship runs July 26-31.

Big Valley's Zeke Thurston competing in 2022 Calgary Stampede

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The competitors for the 2022 Calgary Stampede Rodeo have been announced, including two time world champion saddle bronc rider Zeke Thurston of Big Valley.
A total of 25 competitors from Alberta will be participating in the various events at the Stampede Rodeo which includes bareback and saddle bronc riding, bull riding, steer wrestling and tie down roping, and barrel racing.
Rodeo is in Zeke’s blood. His father, Skeeter Thurston, was a six-time saddle bronc riding qualifier for the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and five-time qualifier at the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR); brothers Wyatt and Sam are also saddle bronc riders, and his sister Tess competes in barrel racing.
Zeke began competing in 2013, and went pro in 2015. Since then, Zeke has earned two world titles, had seven Wrangler NFR qualifications; he placed third in the 2021 Wrangler NFR standings, and fifth overall in world standings the same year.
He will be competing in the Saddle Bronc Riding competition presented by Cenovus Energy against 21 other competitors. Among those he is competing against are fellow Albertans-Ben Anderson of Rocky Mountain House, Layton Green and Sam Kelts of Millarville, Dawson and Logan Hay of Wildwood, Lucas Macza of High River, and Kolby Wanchuk of Sherwood Park.
Viewers can watch the Calgary Stampede Rodeo in person at the GMC Stadium, or tune into a special broadcast of the event on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One, between July 8 and 17 starting at 1:30 p.m.

Firefighters qualify for National FireFit

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A team of Drumheller Firefighters from the Drumheller, Rosedale and East Coulee Hall are heading to the national championship Firefit competition at Spruce Meadows in September.
On June 17 and 18, Merv Smith, Duane Bolin, Keith Hodgson, Jeff Gerlinger, Jon Molzahn and Phil Thompson competed at the Southern Alberta Regional Firefit Competition at Spruce Meadows, and they represented Drumheller well.
In the team relay, over 50 age category, Smith, Bolin and Hodgson won gold with a time of 1:58. Thompson, Gerlinger and Molzahn won gold in the over 40 team relay with a time of 1:34.
In the two-person tech event, which includes swapping an Air Pack mid-event, Bolin and Smith won gold in their category with a time of 2:26. Gerlinger and Molzahn finished with a respectable time of 2:10.
In the individual events, Bolin won gold in the Chief category and the over 55 category. Thompson won gold in the over 50 category. Smith and Molzahn each had respectable times, and Gerlinger, in his first FireFit competition broke the two-minute mark with a quick 1:56.
The crew dedicated their performance to the memory of Charlene Vescarelli and her family, who have been part of the Drumheller Fire Department family for years.
These results allowed them to qualify for the national event, coming up in Spruce Medows on September 10 and 11.
“All six of us who went to this event will be going to nationals, and Kyle Smith may try to qualify,” said Bolin. “All five that competed individually qualified.”
He explains a competitor has to compete well at a regional competition to qualify, and Kyle may compete in Regina if possible before the Spruce Meadows event.
While Bolin and Smith are no strangers to the national competition, this will be a first-time event for some of the younger competitors, and they are looking forward to it. The competition will be fierce.
“You will get the top competitors from the regions and the provinces,” said Bolin. “Our thought was to get there and qualify, and work towards better times at nationals.”

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