EDMONTON -- Kyle Thomson is used to working at the opposite end of the arena.
The Black Diamond cowboy's four previous trips to the Canadian Finals Rodeo were in the saddle bronc event.
This year, he's at the timed-event end, making a living as a steer wrestler.
"The first night, I got down there and I wasn't saddling a bronc, so I wasn't staying too busy," Thomson said.
"I had too much time to look around so I got a little nervous that night. But I'm good now."
More than good.
Thomson picked up his first CFR buckle -- in either event -- with a round-topping 3.3 last night.
"The bulldoggers have been great with helping me.
"Darryl Fisher has been awesome, letting me ride his horse (Indy) all summer."
The 28-year-old made the most of his cooperative steer.
"They were 3.1 on him in the first round," he said. "He's just what you want. He walks out there and waits for you to come get him."
Thomson hadn't cashed in during the first two rounds and although he's sitting sixth in the average standings, he knew he needed to start picking up cheques.
"I knew I was sitting good in the average and a lot of guys have blown out," he said.
"But I definitely wanted to start pecking away and get at 'er before it was Sunday and I was wondering what happened."
Thomson sits fourth with 40 championship points, 20 behind leader Todd Woodward (Magrath).
He didn't get the ride he was expecting Thursday night.
But Cimmaron Gerke made up for it last night in front of a Friday record crowd of 16,676.
Twenty-four hours after riding Calgary's Grated Coconut, who had a rare off-night, for 80 points, he spurred out an 86-pointer on Calgary's French Wake.
"I'd seen her a handful of times but never been on her," the Brighton, Col., bareback rider said. "I finally matched up with her and it felt great.
"She's a little stronger than most of the other horses (in the pen). And luckily, the judges might have noticed that."
Gerke, 24, said he hasn't felt like an outsider despite his nationality.
"I've been up here in Canada a lot since I turned pro," he said.
"It's almost like home now. I know the people and they know me.
"The horses are always great and it seems I have a lot of luck up here so I keep coming back."
Gerke moved to the top of the leaderboard with 80 points and he's also No. 1 in the average after three rounds. Dusty LaValley is second with 60 points.
BEHIND THE CHUTES:
Ageless wonder Cliff Williamson (Madden), making his 27th consecutive appearance at the CFR, roped his calf in 7.4, the top time of the week ... Lance Mulvahill (Dawson Creek, B.C.) had the top saddle bronc ride with an 85 aboard Kesler's Cool Alley ... Rachelle Boyes (Souris, Man.) stopped the clock in 15.58 ... Jim Randle (Okotoks) and Mike Beers (Post, Ore.) won their second team roping round of the week at 4.7 ... Airdrie's Tara Sergerie was named Miss Rodeo Canada ... Rodeo fans can listen to the live broadcast of every performance at cfcw.com ... Cereal's Tanner Girletz set the pace in the bull riding with an 89.5 on Vold's Walk the Line.