Twin pick-up men ride out final CFR at Northlands Coliseum

Jeff and Jason Resch prepare their horses for the final day of competition at CFR 44. Sarah Kraus / Global News

Pick-up men are vital in any successful rodeo. They look out for the riders, as well as the animals, and try to ensure both are safe and ready to compete again the next day.

“For me, they’re our lifesavers,” explained professional bareback rider Cole Goodine.

“We depend on them — that if anything goes wrong, they are there to save our lives.”

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At most rodeos, the pick-up men are hired by the organizers, but the Canadian Finals Rodeo is unique. Competitors vote on who they want to ride pick-up.

This year, the professional riders chose twin brothers, Jeff and Jason Resch.

“Having this calibre of pick-up men like them, at any events, makes us feel better, more comfortable and confident to go out there and do what we do,” Goodine said.

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“I’m a perfect example. I tend to come off in very unceremonious ways and they’ve saved my life many a times. I owe them everything.”

Jeff and Jason still remember learning they’d been chosen.

“We were actually in the same vehicle so it was a pretty happy vehicle coming home from the Quebec rodeo,” Jeff explained.

“The fact that a dream come true is really going to happen is just a once-in-a-lifetime deal. We were very excited,” Jason said.

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The brothers first started riding horses when they were two years old in Saskatchewan.

More than a decade later, they were team ropers. They were riding with friends when they saw someone in need of help, and stepped up as pick-up men.

“We help the cowboys off of the horse when the cowboy is done the eight seconds. Then we ride in, take the cowboy off and put them down safely. The other part of our job is to get the animal out of the arena safely,” Jeff explained.

Now, they’re the pick-up men for between 15 and 20 rodeos each year, sometimes together.

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But the CFR is different. Jeff has been the pick-up man at this level three times, and Jason has been here seven times, but never together.

“We have some pretty large outdoor rodeos, but this one is the final. It’s the Stanley Cup of the rodeo world,” Jason said.

The twins decided to take out the dividing wall and share their tack room, where they store their supplies.

“What I like about working with Jason is we kind of know where and what kind of moves we’re going to do in the arena,” Jeff explained.

“We work so well together. It’s been a privilege to work with somebody like that.”

Each brother brought four horses to the rodeo, and they change each event. The job can be hazardous, especially at this level.

“There’s horses bucking, one of us could get kicked at any time. That’s where our horses come in. Having good horses is probably 70 per cent of the equation,” Jeff said.

“It is a risky job for sure and it’s dangerous,” Jason said.

“But we try, and put our lives on the line so the guys can compete the next day.”

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Jason and Jeff wear different coloured wild rags, but they still confuse a few folks.

“There’s been a lot of people in the crowd and in the chutes here that are getting us mixed up – but that’s kind of an everyday thing for us.”

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The brothers say they’ll miss Northlands, with the CFR looking for a new home next year.

“It’s a great facility. Wish we had another 44 years here,” Jason said.

But he’s happy they get to say goodbye as a team.

“The fact that we can come here, for the last time, and do it together, is phenomenal. It’s something I’ll never forget.”

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