He's Shirley riding high

STEVE MACFARLANE, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 7:53 AM ET

Tim Shirley can go home happy.

Not that he's ready to leave the Calgary Stampede just yet.

With $4,500 tucked into his jeans, the Colorado cowboy earned a pretty good payday for second place in bareback in Pool A action yesterday.

He wants more -- like the $100,000 first-place prize up for grabs on Showdown Sunday -- before heading back to Conifer where his pregnant wife, Mindy, is doing her best to delay the imminent birth of their daughter.

She's due any day.

"Any minute," said an excited Shirley after his ride aboard Gorgeous Connie earned him an impressive 85.

"I was home all last week and I said, 'You can have (the baby) this week. Don't have it next week. Wait for me to get home from Calgary and we'll be good.'

"She's back home sitting on the couch right now waiting. We went to the doctor Tuesday. She said any day now -- it's just whenever she decides to come out."

It's already been days since the medical visit. It was difficult for Shirley to leave his wife behind, but the Stampede offers incredible opportunity. "On the way up here, it was hard," he said. "She's back at home, could have gone into labour last night. I'm 2,000 miles away.

"It's good motivation, too."

The only bareback rider who might have been more motivated was eventual winner Kyle Bowers.

The Brooks cowboy couldn't ma nage more than a 71.5 on his first shot out of the chutes atop a lacklustre Labyrinth, but was given a re-ride aboard No Wonder -- offspring of the legendary Grated Coconut -- and took full advantage to steal the $5,500 top money spot with an 86.

Sporting a cut near his right eye, Bowers was still obviously amped after his second ride, but he said the approach is the same in the chutes regardless of whether or not you've been on the back of a bucker already that day.

"Your motor might be running a little more because you've already been on one," he said. "For Calgary Stampede, you can get on five of them in one day if you need to."

It was the second horse that cut him.

"The horse is kicking so hard right out of the chute. That horse's tail come over top of my head and over top of my hat and come across my eyes -- just whipped my eyes," said Bowers.

"You wouldn't believe it that a horse's tail can cut you."

It won't stop him from getting on board another today in the second of four days of Pool A action, after which the top four money-makers go straight to Sunday's first go-round.

"I do believe I should be able to get on again tomorrow," Bowers said with a heap of good-natured sarcasm. "I think so. It's a little fuzzy, but I close my eyes and nod my head anyway. I'm too scared."

STEVE.MACFARLANE@SUNMEDIA.CA


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