Pro Rodeo Canada Insider June/July 2022

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Pro Rodeo

CANADA

CPRA ladies barrel racer Lisa Zachoda. The CFR qualifier is enjoying an early season lead courtesy of placings at the Maple Leaf Circuit Finals (Agribition), Medicine Hat, Dawson Creek and a win at Kananaskis Pro Rodeo in Coleman. Photo by CovyMoore.com/Covy Moore.

RODEOCANADA.COM cowboycountrymagazine.com

INSIDER



C.P.R.A.

2022 CPRA Schedule JUNE

Strong Season Ahead for Pro Rodeo Canada We’re enjoying a great start to the CPRA season. Entries are strong, ticket sales are up and excitement is high as we move into summer. Thank you to our committees and volunteers for working hard to bring back such a strong line-up of events. And welcome to a number of new additions to our roster, among them Dawson Creek Spring Rodeo, Lethbridge Pro Rodeo, Raymond Stampede, Rockyford Rodeo, Gleichen and Langley special events and Buck Lake Rodeo. And we’re pleased to announce a new partnership involving the CPRA and 2022 Pro Tour sponsor, SMS Equipment Inc. The support from this international equipment dealership will be invaluable for our Association and our Tour Rodeos. We’d like to extend a special thank you to the Jasper Heritage Rodeo committee. The event — which ran for 97 years and had the distinction of being the only rodeo situated inside a National Park — recently made the difficult decision to shut down permanently. Fans from across the world enjoyed a unique western lifestyle experience at this event and we’re sorry to see it come to an end. Welcome aboard Denny Phipps who will be joining the organization as Assistant GM. Denny brings to the role a rodeo background that includes 21 years as a bareback rider highlighted by three CFR appearances. He also served on the CPRA Board of Directors for four years. Additional changes to CPRA administration include the arrival of two new Board Directors. Steer wrestler-tie down roper, Morgan Grant, will serve as timed event rep while bronc rider, Sam Kelts, steps in as saddle bronc rep. Thank you Alwin Bouchard and Dustin Flundra for their service on the Board over the last few years. Wishing everyone a great rodeo season!

Terry Cooke, President, Canadian Professional Rodeo Association cowboycountrymagazine.com

Leduc, AB.......................................................Jun 2–5 Bonnyville, AB............................................. Jun 3–4 Hand Hills, AB............................................. Jun 4–5 Brooks, AB................................................ Jun 10–11 Rocky Mountain House, AB...............Jun 10–12 Lea Park, AB.............................................Jun 10–12 Gleichen, AB *(SB)........................................ Jun 15 Stavely, AB................................................ Jun 17–19 Innisfail, AB............................................... Jun 17–19 Wildwood, AB................................................ Jun 18 Wainwright, AB ......................Jun 24–26 Sundre, AB...............................................Jun 24–26 High River, AB.........................................Jun 24–25 Ponoka, AB ............................ Jun 27–Jul 3 Williams Lake, BC ..............Jun 30–Jul 3

JULY

Airdrie, AB.......................................................Jul 1–2 Raymond, AB..................................................Jul 1–2 Coronation, AB.............................................Jul 8–9 Benalto, AB..................................................Jul 8–10 Teepee Creek, AB .....................................Jul 15–17 Bowden, AB .............................................. Jul 15–16 Morris, MB ................................. Jul 22–24 Rockyford, AB.......................................... Jul 23–24 Kennedy, SK............................................. Jul 23–24 High Prairie, AB.......................................Jul 25–26 Medicine Hat, AB .....................Jul 28–30 Strathmore, AB ................... Jul 29–Aug 1 Pollockville, AB *(SB).................................... Jul 30 Bruce, AB...........................................................Jul 31

AUGUST

High Prairie, AB..........................................Aug 2–3 Grimshaw, AB.............................................Aug 6–7 Regina, SK ......................................Aug 6–7 La Crete, AB.............................................. Aug 9–10 Dawson Creek, BC .................. Aug 12–14 Cranbrook, BC.........................................Aug 19–21 Pincher Creek, AB..................................Aug 19–21 Buck Lake, AB...............................................Aug 20 Smithers, BC ** (BB)...................................Aug 25 Lethbridge, AB ........................Aug 25–27 Okotoks, AB........................................... Aug 26–28 Taber, AB..................................................Aug 27–28 Armstrong, BC ...............Aug 31–Sep 2-3

*BB—Bareback **SB—Saddle Bronc SMS Equipment Pro Tour Rodeos are broadcast on FloRodeo.com

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider Francis Rodeo Stock horses are raised in the beautiful Qu'Appelle Valley of Saskatchewan

BRONC FUTURITIES NEXT-GEN WINNERS BY TIM ELLIS

I

T MAY BE CONSIDERED A HOBBY BY SOME. FOR OTHERS, IT’S AN INVESTMENT WITH LITTLE RETURN. AND FOR MANY, IT’S A PASSION. WE’LL CALL IT

AN EXPENSIVE, PASSIONATE HOBBY.

Shawn (Shawn-Boy) and his father, Art Francis of Francis Rodeo Stock. In the chute is one of their young bucking horses with the “dummy” strapped onto its wither and above the flank.

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“The end goal for us is to sell our bucking horses,” says Shawn Francis, who, along with his dad, Art and sister, Marnie, operate a stock contracting outfit on the Piapot First Nation, north of Regina, Sask. “We’re competing in futurities with the hope of getting those horses to the National Finals Rodeo.” “Just before COVID, rodeos were in decline with rising costs and a lack of volunteers, so a lot of our contracting jobs were going away. We still have the infrastructure to raise these bucking horses, so it makes sense for us.” Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2022


C.P.R.A.

Cooper Clan horses in the pasture

Cooper Clan Buckin’ Horse Company up-and-comers on the homeplace near Senlac, Sask.

Frank Wyzykoski put his money into his breeding program while he was still working in hopes of helping with his semi-retirement. “I wasn’t in it to make it a full-time job,” confirms Wyzykoski, who still has a halfdozen horses left on his operation near Eckville, Alta. “I don’t have the land base to be a contractor, so the futurities are a great way to find out where your breeding program is at.” “It gets to be like a job, but it’s something I really enjoy. Sometimes you do a little horse-trading, and everybody improves their herd. It kind of gets to be a way of life.” Travis Reay began raising bucking horses while he was still riding them in the rodeo arena. And the 2013 Canadian Pro cowboycountrymagazine.com

Rodeo All-Around champion has built his herd up to over 100 horses. “I started out raising bulls, but they’re hard on fence,” chuckles Reay, who just last season won the Wildrose Rodeo Association steer wrestling championship at the age of 42. “Rodeo has been my life, and I want to carry it on after I’m done competing.” “When I was six years old, my mom timed at all the Howard Thompson rodeos. Howard would take me to help him sort. Guess he put the bug in me way back then. And now it’s been twenty-some years I’ve been doing this.” For several years, Ash Cooper has been heavily involved in rodeo as a clown and barrel man. He’s now in the bucking horse business for a different reason.

Above: Frank Wyzykowski’s mare, 571 Rodeo Code was purchased by Western Rodeo of Idaho. The mare is being dummy bucked — the “dummy” is the apparatus strapped over her flank and wither. When about eight seconds are up, the riggings are tripped to open, and the dummy is bucked off.

“My dad and brother, Cam, started the operation,” begins Cooper. “I took over when my brothers died in a plane crash about 11 years ago.” “I was raising bucking bulls at the time. I sold all of them to take over for the family. I thought my dad and brother put in too much sweat equity and there was too much sentimental value to have it not continue.” Cooper believes raising bucking horses is more difficult than raising bulls. 5


Pro Rodeo Canada Insider Buck Peters of Ponoka, Alta.

“I’ve always said raising bulls is like checkers, and raising horses is like chess,” laughs the Senlac, Sask., native. “It takes longer to find out what you have with a horse than a bull. And as I got older, the near-death experiences with bulls became less attractive.” But, finding a futurity to get exposure and put some money in your pocket can prove more difficult for horse breeders than bull breeders. Buck Peters of Ponoka, Alta., is trying to change that. “We were starting to get stacked up on horses when COVID hit,” reveals Peters, who has been raising bucking horses with his father for over 30 years. “And when the World Futurity Association folded in Canada, there was really no place to take our horses anymore.” Enter Canadian Made Bucking Horses which brought together 16 producers to buck over 400 horses during nine sanctioned “dummy” (2-3 year-olds, no riders) and riders (4-7 year-olds with riders) futurities in 2021, culminating in a finale and sale during the week of the Canadian Finals Rodeo in November. “We’ve got start-up producers who are buying the bloodlines and learning the system, and we’ve also got second or thirdgeneration producers who already have established bloodlines,” says Peters. “We’re trying to bring the buyers from the U.S. up here. Not everyone can get to the big sales in Las Vegas.” 6

But if you can get to Benny Binion’s World Famous Bucking Horse Sale in Vegas during the NFR, that’s where a payday could await. “I’d always wanted to take some horses down there, but I waited until I knew I had something good,” offers Billy Richards, a CFR bronc rider and stock contractor who sold a five-year-old bay mare called Uptuck for $47,000 at the Stace Smith World Futurity Bronc Finale last December. David and Laurie McDonald are also no strangers to selling a horse for big money. “We sold a bay mare for $40,000 U.S. one spring,” confirms McDonald from his MX Bar Ranch near Lac La Biche, Alta. “But it’s so nice to see when some of your horses make it from your ranch to buck at the NFR. They get to be like your kids; you like to see them do well.” “Of course, you want every one of your horses to be the best,” agrees Francis. “But you have to be realistic. Not every horse will turn out the way you want. That’s just the nature of the business.” McDonald may be the best person to ask about the realistic future of bronc riding

“CANADA IS KNOWN FOR BUCKING HORSES, AND THERE WILL ALWAYS BE RODEO AND A MARKET FOR HORSES” futurities in this country. He was not only on the board of the United Bucking Horse Association but was also a founder of the World Futurity Association. “Canada is known for bucking horses, and there will always be rodeo and a market for horses,” believes McDonald. “As long as someone is willing to do the work, and it’s a lot of work, there will be futurities.” “If we can show producers that we have the ability to market and move our own horses, I think we can grow it to something big in Canada,” asserts Peters. “There’s no reason in my mind we can’t do the same with growing bucking horse futurities as they’ve done with the bull futurities. That’s my goal.” c

Dave and Laurie McDonald of MX Bar Ranch near Lac La Biche, Alta. Behind them is a portion of their Wall of Fame — framed photos of the stars of their bucking horse program

Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2022


C.P.R.A.

ROAD TO THE CFR

MATT RICHARDSON IT’S GAME SEVEN By TIM ELLIS

Matt Richardson competing in Round One of the 2021 Canadian Finals Rodeo in Red Deer, Alta. CPRA photo by Covy Moore/ CovyMoore.com

M

ATT RICHARDSON DID NOT TAKE THE TRADITIONAL ROAD TO THE CFR AND

HAD IT NOT BEEN FOR A DECISION MADE AS A YOUNG HOCKEY PLAYER, HE MAY NOT HAVE EVEN ENTERED THE RODEO ARENA.

“Looking back now, I may have missed the opportunity to continue with a hockey career,” suggests Richardson, who played over 60 games in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. “But I probably wouldn’t be rodeoing if I hadn’t made the decision I did.” “When I was 17, I went to play for the Oil Barons in Fort McMurray. The scout who brought me there took the GM job in Drumheller, and I took the option to follow him there. I think I probably had a better opportunity in Fort McMurray.” Two years after finishing his AJHL career with his hometown, Olds Grizzlys, Richardson headed to Olds College. cowboycountrymagazine.com

“That’s when I started in rodeo,” declares Richardson. “I actually started with team roping, but I thought the steer wrestling was more my pace.” He hit the ground running, winning the Canadian college bulldogging championship in 2012. From there, it was on to the amateur trail, where he captured a Chinook Rodeo Association title and competed in the finals of the Foothills Cowboys and Canadian Cowboys Associations. “I took out my permit, so we could go to both the amateur and pro rodeos,” offers the 32-year-old. “We were trying to learn from the top guys and get some experience.” At 26, Richardson took out his Pro Rodeo Canada card and qualified for his first Canadian Finals Rodeo seven years later. “I felt like it was a long time coming,” says Richardson of his CFR qualification last season. “I’d been close a couple of years, but it always stings when you don’t make it. The CFR is the ultimate goal. It made it even sweeter to make it on my own horse. And I only live half an hour away from Red

Deer, so lots of family and friends in the seats every night. It was a great experience.” His horse may be the key to getting back to Red Deer for a second consecutive time. “She’s a 14-year-old mare I call Fox,” reveals Richardson. “She’s still getting seasoned, but she’s come a long way.” “When my good horse, Worm, got hurt, I needed something to practise on. I got her from (two-time Canadian champion) Scott Guenthner. She was so good. I finally bugged him enough that he took my cheque.” Another key to his success is his team in the truck. “I’m travelling with Jonny Webb, Ty Miller and Brock Butterfield,” begins Richardson. “Jonny played in the Western Hockey League. Like a hockey team, we keep each accountable but pick each other up when we need to.” And to use a final hockey analogy, Richardson may be facing a game seven in his rodeo career. “I’m at a point where it’s Do-or-Die. I’m getting to an age where the next few years will be my prime. It’ll be over before you know it — just like hockey was.” c 7


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