INNISFAIL, Alberta – Matt Reeves missed competing during the month of January with a leg injury and he missed May with a staph infection. He has no intention of missing December.
That much seemed clear enough after his one-day stopover at the Daines Ranch Rodeo on June 17.
Reeves put down a 5.0-second run to edge traveling partner Hunter Cure by two-tenths of a second for the steer wrestling title (“A good day for our truck,” Reeves said) and a check for $8,278.
The win lifted Reeves from 24th in the world standings all the way to eighth and reinforced his belief in the northern strategy he has employed since 2010 – driving his rig over the border into Canada for a big chunk of the summer months.
“I was traveling with Olin Hannum (in 2010) and he scheduled us up here,” Reeves said. “When you are competing in the Northwest already it’s easy to go up to the big rodeos in Canada. That first year I went to 17, won a rodeo at Lethbridge (Alberta) and qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo. I’ve been coming back ever since.”
It seemed like an easy enough call, given that 2010 turned out to be the best season of his career. He qualified for this third Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (finishing eighth in the world standings) and also qualified for the Dodge National Circuit Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, the All American ProRodeo Finals in Waco, Texas, the Justin Boots Championships in Omaha, Neb., and the CFR in Edmonton (where he won $28,000).
“I went to every final there was to go to that year,” Reeves said. “I’ve been told that I’m the only one who’s ever done that in one year. Counting everything, I won about $160,000 that season. That was also the year (wife) Savanah won the barrel racing at the Calgary Stampede for $112,500 and finished with about $150,000.”
Buoyed by his biggest regular-season check at a Canadian rodeo, Reeves is aiming to push toward another NFR/CFR double with upcoming stops in the Alberta cities of Ponoka, Airdrie, Wainwright and High River during his Cowboy Christmas run.
All of this must have seemed fairly remote when Reeves was laid up in an Amarillo hospital for three days last month. In what he describes as “kind of a freak deal,” Reeves received a staph infection behind his right knee while competing at the Guymon (Okla.) Pioneer Days Rodeo.
“It swoll up really bad for a while there,” Reeves said. “When we finally got all the tests back, it was determined that it could be treated with an antibiotic that I could take orally. Savanah is a PRN (part-time registered nurse) so I was in good hands.
“It was the same leg I injured on New Year’s Eve when a horse flipped over on me in the practice pen and knocked me out of competition for a month. I could have done without that. Well, actually I could have done without either of (the health setbacks).”
The other champions at the $245,458 Daines Ranch Rodeo were bareback rider Dusty LaValley (88 points), team ropers Dustin Bird and Paul Eaves (4.4 seconds), saddle bronc rider Kyle Thomson (87 points), tie-down roper Shane Hanchey (7.1 seconds), bull rider Garrett Green (87.5 points) and barrel racer Carlee Pierce (15.678 seconds).