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Canada, America face off at 2018 Whoop-Up Days Bucking and Barrels tournament

Click to play video: 'Bucking and Barrels underway at 2018 Whoop-Up Days' Bucking and Barrels underway at 2018 Whoop-Up Days
WATCH ABOVE: Bucking and Barrels, the Can-Am pro Challenge, kicked off Thursday night. The competition features five Canadians and five Americans facing off against one another. Malika Karim chatted with contestants from both sides of the border – Aug 24, 2018

The 2018 Whoop-Up Days are coming to an end with the annual Bucking & Barrels tournament underway at Exhibition Park Grandstand.

The Canadian-America Pro Challenge is back for its third year, as five Canadian cowboys and five American cowboys compete in saddle bronc, bareback, barrel racing and bull riding.

READ MORE: 57-year-old acrobat takes flight, wows audiences at 2018 Whoop-Up Days

Canada has won the challenge two years in a row, but this year may be different.

“I think the line-up could be stacked against Canada here by looking,” said stock contractor Duane Kesler. “We’ve got a lot of top U.S. cowboys here that have come to turn the tables.”

One of this year’s top U.S. competitors is last year’s bareback champion, Chase Erickson.

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“I think there’s a lot of good match-ups,” Erickson said. “It’s up to the cowboys, and obviously how the horses preform. It’ll be exciting no matter what.”

WATCH: Whoop-Up Days set to hit Lethbridge

Click to play video: 'Whoop-Up Days set to hit Lethbridge' Whoop-Up Days set to hit Lethbridge
Whoop-Up Days set to hit Lethbridge – Aug 20, 2018

So does the reigning champ think his country could be taking home the bragging rights this year?

“It’d be neat to win that challenge, you know, just for country’s sake,” Erickson said. “But bottom line, Canada and the U.S., I mean, we all get together, it’s good. You know, it’s just for fun.”

The Canadians, too, are hoping to make their country proud.

“We have a ton of great Canadian athletes,” said Canadian barrel racing contestant Sydney Daines. “It’s just another great competition to partake in and hopefully Canada comes out on top.”

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“We know all the Americans, they’re kind of our buddies,” said Canadian saddle bronc contestant Logan Hay. “But [it would] be good to beat ’em, too.”

READ MORE: Annual parade kicks off Lethbridge Whoop-Up Days festivities

The event is extra special for Lethbridge native Raylee Edwards.

“I feel very lucky to be here,” the Canadian barrel racing contestant said. “It’s sometimes [a] little more nerve wracking being here where you know people. I just want my horse to preform her best, kinda show off what she can do.”

The top contestants will earn five points each night, second place will get four, third will get three, and so on, to accumulate points for their country. Along with the Canada-vs.-America challenge, contestants are also battling for more than $20,000 in each of their events over the three days.

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