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Pro Rodeo

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

CANADA

LARSEN MOVES TO #1 IN THE WORLD Keep Your Eye on the Canadians, page 30

RODEOCANADA.COM APRIL/MAY 2016

INSIDER


C.P.R.A.

FROM THE DESK OF THE

GENERAL MANAGER

A

S THE GENERAL MANAGER OF THE CPRA, I WOULD LIKE TO OFFICIALLY

WELCOME YOU TO THE PRO RODEO CANADA INSIDER! THE CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION COULDN’T BE MORE EXCITED TO PARTNER WITH CANADIAN COWBOY COUNTRY MAGAZINE TO BRING RODEO FANS MORE NEWS ON THE SPORT OF RODEO IN

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; COURTESY DESIGNPICS.COM / COREY HOCHACHKA

CANADA. I’m still fairly new to the sport, with just a year under my belt, but what I’ve come to learn is that rodeo, and the western lifestyle in general, can be very fragmented by nature. We can so easily isolate ourselves on separate islands with no bridges between us. With an

enhanced focus on communication through the CPRA, we’re building those bridges between rodeo, its competitors, committees, contractors and definitely our fans. You will have a chance to get a closer-than-ever look at our athletes, both human and animal, as well as the great rodeos that take place in a wide range of communities throughout Western Canada! With this focus, we’re dedicated to being your source for Canadian Professional Rodeo news and we hope to grow the relationship with our fans this year. The heritage of rodeo is steeped in tradition, family values and an unrelenting thirst for adrenaline, and we invite you to come along for the ride. Rodeo season is underway and we encourage fans to come out and support our amazing and extreme professional rodeo athletes at approximately 50 rodeo events across Western Canada. We’re working very hard to ensure that the 2016 season is bigger and better than ever and we hope you’ll join us. See you down the rodeo trail! Until next time, – Dan Eddy General Manager, Canadian Professional Rodeo Association

2016 Canadian Professional Rodeo Schedule Dates are subject to change. Please visit rodeocanada.com for up-todate information.

APRIL Medicine Hat, Alta.......... April 8–10 Camrose, Alta................... April 22–24 Coleman, Alta................... April 22–24 Drayton Valley, Alta........ April 29–May 1

MAY Stavely, Alta...................... May 5–7 Falkland, B.C...................... May 21–23 Grande Prairie, Alta. ...... May 25–29

JUNE Leduc, Alta......................... June 2–5 Wildwood, Alta................. June 3–4 Hand Hills, Alta................. June 4–5 Brooks, Alta....................... June 10–11 Lea Park, Alta. .................. June 10–12 Rocky Mountain House, Alta........................ June 10–12 Innisfail, Alta..................... June 16–19 Wainwright, Alta. ........... June 22–26 Sundre, Alta....................... June 24–26 Ponoka, Alta. .................... June 27–July 3 Williams Lake, B.C. ......... June 30–July 3 Airdrie, Alta. ...................... June 29–July 3

On the Cover (page 27) Orin Larsen scoring 90.75 pts on Wayne Vold’s Mucho Dinero at the 2015 Strathmore Stampede

cowboycountrymagazine.com

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

The Short Round

By BARB POULSEN and DAVE POULSEN

CPRA WELCOMES NEW COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR

KATY LUCAS The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association welcomed 2015 Miss Rodeo Canada, Katy Lucas, to the organization as Director of Marketing, Communications and Public Relations earlier this spring. An active team roping jackpot competitor, Katy comes from a rodeo background (Dad, Joe, is a four-time Canadian Champion tie-down roper and brother, Kyle, is a two-time CFR tie-down roping qualifier). Katy earned her Communication Arts diploma (with a specialty in Broadcast Journalism) at Lethbridge College and worked as a freelance writer, video editor and television commentator. “Because I’ve grown up in rodeo, I know its current limitations, but I can’t wait to use this position to push past those limitations to advance our athletes, rodeos, and the sport as a whole.” Katy commented. CPRA General Manager Dan Eddy is happy to have Katy Lucas on board. “We are extremely excited to have Katy join our CPRA team. We believe the move to a full time Communications Director is long overdue in the CPRA and reflects our membership’s need for more internal and external (media) communications.” —B.P.

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The north-of-the-border gang made seriClayton Moore and team ropers Levi ous noise at the U.S. winter rodeos with Simpson and Jeremy Buhler; along with Inglis, Manitoba’s Orin Larsen and British Kolton Schmidt who headed for Tommy Columbia cowboy Jake Watson leading the Zuniga of Centerville, Texas, moved into way. At the big-paying San Antonio Stock the top 15 in the world standings in their Show and Rodeo, bareback rider Orin, the respective events while several Canadians younger of the Inglis, Manitoba Larsens, who were just outside the top 15 looked matched up with the Calgary Stampede’s poised to make dramatic moves at some of seven-year-old sensation, Walleye Rocket, the later winter/spring rodeo stops. for 87 points in the championship final At the uber-rich RFD-TV American en route to the title and a tidy $22,745 Rodeo that wrapped up on February 28 at payday. That result coupled with a win Arlington, Texas, Cody Cassidy of Donalda, at Tucson took him to #1 in the bareback Alberta was the best of the Canadians, standings. And, not to be outdone, Hudson finishing second in the steer wrestling to Hope, B.C.’s bronc rider Jake Watson (see win $25,000. Cassidy, who was the only our Rising Star feature) climbed on the Canadian to qualify for a final four berth, Kesler Championship Rodeo bucker, Breakaway and spurred out an 87.5 score to take home a whopping $25,160 cheque for his San Antonio effort. The talented young duo headed up a Canadian assault on the world standings that saw one of the best collective showings at this point of the season in recent memory. Kyle Bowers, Ty Taypotat, Colin Adams and Jake Vold joined Larsen in the bareback standings (although Vold was scheduled for knee surgery the week after the American for a torn meniscus). And, over in the bronc riding, Watson was one of a group of bronc riders who found spots on the winter rodeo leaderboard Jake Vold en route to his including Clay Elliott, second consecutive Canadian bareback championship Layton Green and the aboard Outlaw Buckers’ second Larsen brother, American Thumper Tyrel. Steer wrestler

Canadian Cowboy Country April/May 2016

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN

KEEP YOUR EYE ON THE CANADIANS


PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; COURTESY DAINES FAMILY

C.P.R.A.

had the fastest time of the long go with a 4.10 seconds; then in the final he was 7.75 to finish second to Montana bulldogger Ty Erickson who claimed $100,000 with the win. Six Canadians had battled their way into the final, taking a number of different routes to complete the journey. Canadian champions Cassidy and Jake Vold (bareback riding) of Airdrie parlayed their title exemptions to the semi-finals into trips to AT & T Stadium for a run at the big money. Nanton’s Clay Elliott had also advanced directly to the semifinals but did so by virtue of his being the College National Finals (CNFR) champ. And two former world titleists - Lindsay Sears of Nanton and Lee Graves of Calgary - emerged victorious in one on one Gold Buckle Matches to qualify for the Final. Sears out-ran two-time world champ, Kelly Kaminsky of Bellville, Texas to move on to the final, while Graves, also a two-time title-holder, topped 2001 steer wrestling champ, Rope Myers, to punch his ticket to Super Sunday. And the Prince Albert PBR bull rider, Tanner Byrne, qualified as a top PBR competitor. —D.P.

cowboycountrymagazine.com

GLEN DAINES 1945–2016 Lindsay Sears and her gelding, Moe, heading home from a 2012 CFR round win

Cody Cassidy, four-time (’08, ’09, ’11 and 2015) Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion

The Daines family is synonymous with the sport of rodeo, and in particular, with the Innisfail, Alberta-based Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo. Glen Daines, one of seven brothers, passed away Feb. 4 in Kamloops, B.C. Glen is survived by his wife, Donna and children Dana DainesSmith (Greg) of Calgary, Alta., and Cody Daines (Shannon) of Prince George, B.C., and five granddaughters. Glen attended the University of Alberta and received his Bachelor of Commerce degree. He worked for IBM Canada in Alberta and B.C., before establishing Daines Western Shops with his brothers Ivan and Franklin. Glen was a long-time resident of Kamloops but always thought of Innisfail as home. He maintained strong ties with the rodeo community and several generations of cowboys. Glen leaves behind many strong friendships from his love of the western way of life. —B.P.

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider THE SHORT ROUND

LEGAL WRANGLING SUSPENDED The dispute between the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) and the newlyformed ERA (Elite Rodeo Association) took a couple of dramatic turns in February, the first when United States District Judge Barbara Lynn issued a ruling that denied the ERA its antitrust lawsuit that sought to prevent the PRCA from denying ERA athletes

the right to compete at PRCA sanctioned rodeos while being a stakeholder in the ERA. The court’s analysis stated in part that, “The court concludes that Plaintiffs have not made a clear showing that they will suffer irreparable harm absent a preliminary injunction, nor that they are likely to succeed on the merits [of] their claims…”

The PRCA responded to the February 5th ruling with a news release announcing that its Bylaws would be immediately enforced. To that end the PRCA kept several ERA member/ competitors out of the Fort Worth Rodeo Finals. Many of the ERA’s top cowboys had been competing at Fort Worth, as Judge Lynn had earlier ruled they could compete in PRCA rodeos in January and early February while she was studying the lawsuit. The ERA responded with its own statement saying “While we disagree with the court’s preliminary injunction ruling, the ERA will continue to present the best collection of professional rodeo athletes during its inaugural 2016 season, starting with the first ERA rodeo next month in Redmond, Oregon,” said Tony Garritano, CEO and President of the ERA. “ERA athletes have responded to the recent court ruling with an overwhelming

commitment to the ERA and its Premier Tour.” The second critical development in the dispute was on February 23rd when the ERA dismissed (without prejudice) its lawsuit against the PRCA concluding ‘that it is better for them, the ERA Tour, and the sport of rodeo to avoid the distraction of an expensive and long legal battle with PRCA for now’. As for the impact of both of these developments on Canadian professional rodeo, General Manager Dan Eddy had this to say, “The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is currently seeking council to determine what effect, if any, this ruling will have on CPRA rodeos. At present, it is not clear if this ruling will extend to CPRA events that are co-sanctioned by the PRCA or if it will be business as usual for our Canadian rodeos.” —D.P.

More than 1,000 people gathered at Exhibition Park in Lethbridge on Feb. 8 to commemorate the life of Greg Kesler. The second of four generations of the stock contracting Kesler family passed away of an apparent heart attack at the family ranch near Magrath, Alta., on Feb. 1, just three days after the death of his mother, Beth. Greg, son of ProRodeo and Canadian Hall of Famer, Reg Kesler, was a champion cowboy and outstanding pickup man and inherited his father’s passion for developing great bucking horses, working in the family business until he branched out on his own at age 29 to found Kesler Rodeo in 1974. In 1994, Greg and his son, Duane, bought Reg’s card and continued running Kesler Championship Rodeo with Duane at the helm while Greg remained as the owner/operator of Kesler Rodeo.

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Kesler-produced rodeos are known for their professionalism and crowd appeal. And Kesler horses and bulls have been honoured many times over with rodeo’s top awards including two Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year honorees (Alley Cat, 1988 and Painted Smile, 2001–2003). Dan Erickson’s 92-point ride on Painted Smile in 2001 is still the RAM National Circuit Finals Rodeo record. And there was the remarkable run from the year 2000 to 2008 when Kesler horses won nine consecutive Canadian Saddle Bronc awards. Greg is survived by his wife Judy, son Duane (Margo) and daughter Berva Dawn (Roy) and grandsons Kurtis and Chase. The family has made it clear that despite the loss, the Kesler tradition of producing top quality rodeo for fans across North America will survive and grow in the years ahead. ­—D.P.

Canadian Cowboy Country April/May 2016

PHOTOS COURTESY DOLLARPHOTOCLUB.COM / LUCADP; BY MIKE COPEMAN

SAYING GOODBYE TO A GIANT OF THE SPORT


Clint Black

Mon, June 27

Dallas Smith

Photo by Mike Copeman

Thurs, June 30

7 Days of Pro

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6 Nights of Pro

CHUCKWAGoNS

2 Nights Featuring

MAjor CoUNtry MUSiC ArtiStS To order tickets or more information go to:

www.ponokastampede.com

Free Camping • Midway • Parade • Live Entertainment • Infield Acts • Beer Gardens • Fireworks


RISING STAR

The 22-year-old ranch-raised cowboy is handy with a rope, but he’s concentrating his efforts these days on saddle bronc riding. Early success on the U.S. winter run had him in the top 10 of the world standings. As he travels the trail with Call Marr, Watson is hoping his early success is just a twinkle heralding what is to come. The youngest in a family of six is used to long road trips. His mom, whose family is from around Strathmore, and his dad, a team roper, packed the kids to high school rodeos in B.C. until Jake was about 12. Then with the rest of the family graduated, he opted for the rink, playing hockey until he was ‘sick of it’, before returning to rodeo. “I rode all the time and roped a little bit, but I never continued rodeoing until my junior Jake Watson on Calgary year of high school. I Stampede’s N-7 Nutty Champagne at the 2015 Strathmore Stampede was team roping, calf roping and bulldogging, and then just started riding broncs that next spring,” said Watson. He credits his neighbour, Gene Maynard, for getting him on the right track in that event. Maynard, an eight-time IPRA World Champion bronc rider, dominated that circuit By DIANNE FINSTAD from 1967– 80. “I started out in his saddle, and HEN IT COMES TO RISING he really got me started right.” STARS IN RODEO, THERE’S A Watson also attended several of NORTHERN LIGHT TO KEEP eight-time Canadian Champion Rod YOUR EYES ON. JAKE WATSON Hay’s bronc riding schools, as well as one of Skeeter Thurston’s. He earned KNOWS WHAT IT’S LIKE TO TRAVEL COUNTLESS a college rodeo scholarship, spending MILES FROM HIS HOME BASE IN HUDSON’S just over three years on Oklahoma’s HOPE, B.C. TO RODEO, BUT BOTH HIS SKILLS AND Panhandle State University team. He CONFIDENCE HAVE BEEN BUILDING, RESULTING finished as high as third at the 2013 College National Finals Rodeo in the IN HIS BEST SEASON START EVER.

bronc riding, also competing in team roping and calf roping for his college team. 2013 was the same year he qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo in the novice bronc riding. He knew he’d have to head south to play in his chosen game. Watson spent most of the next season in the U.S. riding on his permit. In 2015, he made the move to pro, finishing his rookie season inside Canada’s top 20, earning $9,300. “Things didn’t go really good until June, when I got a new saddle. From then on everything really clicked.” Highlights include tying for first at the Teepee Creek Stampede in July, as well as making the Finals at both the Wainwright and Strathmore Stampedes and the Montana Circuit Finals. Watson kicked off his 2016 in style at Billings, MT last fall, winning first and $3,040. A third place finish followed in Odessa, Tex., ($2,371) along with a go-round payout ($1,643) from Denver in January. Then came his huge win at San Antonio worth $25,160. Experience is already leading to some significant improvements in Watson’s bronc riding. “For a long time, I’d get out of time within the first couple jumps after my mark-out,” he admits. “It feels like now I’m a little more rounded, and I can pick up that timing a lot easier.” Along with technique, Watson has been working on the mental aspect of the sport. “In rodeo you have to be ready before you nod your head. Once that gate opens, if you’re doing the basics, your reaction time will kick in. I have to keep myself calm and focus on one thing at a time. If you overthink it, you can try too hard, and end up walking back, listening to the whistle. “The CFR is one of my main goals, because I came pretty close last year. This year, I don’t want to repeat my mistakes, and I want to capitalize on everything I can.” c

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Canadian Cowboy Country April/May 2016

JAKE WATSON HUDSON’S BIG HOPE

W

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider


C.P.R.A.

Reckless Margie

STOCK PROFILES

91 points (Kaycee Field, Round 5 – 2015) Calgary Exhibition and Stampede Ranch, Hanna, Alta. | @calgarystampede By TIM ELLIS

F Shane Hanchey partners with TJ on his way to winning a second Canadian Championship

TJ Logan Bird Nanton, Alta. |

@LoganBird4

By TIM ELLIS

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN

I

t should be considered high praise when a world champion asks to ride your horse at the biggest rodeos in the country — even higher when the request comes prior to the richest rodeo in the world. “Shane Hanchey, Ryan Jarrett and Clint Robinson all rode him throughout the year,” reveals Logan Bird, owner of 13 year-old, TJ. “Shane and Ryan both rode him at the CFR, Shane rode him for all ten rounds of the NFR and Ryan rode him in round ten [of the NFR].” The Birds bought the grey as a prospect when he was three. Originally from Oklahoma, the horse has not disappointed. “He’s one of the best horses in the world,” suggests Bird. “It is cool that the best guys want to ride him and then want to keep riding him. “He’s consistent, never does anything that is going to affect you negatively. You can go rope and not worry about what your horse is going to do. But what

cowboycountrymagazine.com

I think really sets him apart from other horses is his ability to stop and pull perfect every time. It’s really hard to get most horses to pull consistently.” Hanchey, the reigning Canadian champion and 2013 world champ, first jumped aboard TJ in Grande Prairie last season. Outside of that first rodeo, where Hanchey blames ‘a little mishap on tying’ for not placing in the money, the pair collected cheques at the next five Canadian rodeos over two weekends to win $8,011. “He’s just a solid winner,” offers the 6-time NFR qualifier. “I think he’s one of, if not the best in Canada.” Together, Bird estimates he and the trio of Hanchey, Robinson and Jarrett won a combined $230,000 while mounted on TJ in 2015. And the relationship has continued this season with Robinson and Jarrett using the horse during the U.S. winter run.

orgive rodeo fans if they had forgotten about a potential Calgary Stampede superstar. It won’t happen again. Not after a nearrecord setting performance for Reckless Margie (R82) at the Wrangler NFR . “She’s been steadily improving,” offers Keith Marrington, the contractor in charge of the Calgary Stampede stock. “She had a couple of good trips at the NFR and had another two great trips in Denver this year.” The best trip in Vegas was round five when four-time world champion, Kaycee Feild posted a 91-point score, just a half point off the NFR bareback record. “I actually think she was better at Denver (National Western Stock Show & Rodeo) with Jake Brown,” suggests Marrington, who watched the number two man in the world bareback standings earn a 90-point score. “I think she stayed stronger through the ride. She came back in the short round and Tim O’Connell was 88 points.”

So, why isn’t she mentioned in the same breath as the other Calgary Stampede superstars like Special Delivery or Shadow Warrior? Maybe it’s because she was tending to some other business between 2010 and 2013. “We first bucked her in 2009 as a four-year-old,” explains Marrington. “She had a handful of trips before we gave her time off to raise a pair of colts. We brought her back at Dawson Creek in 2014.” Since then, the sister of Rapper Margie (R81), both flush colts from Erotic Margie and Grated Coconut, has been climbing the ladder in the hierarchy of the Stampede Ranch’s bareback horse pen. “Both buck hard,” says Marrington about the 10-yearold mares. “But Reckless is more user friendly. She’s got the swoops and dives but she kicks through it and guys can get a rhythm going.”

Clint Laye scoring 85.5 pts on Reckless Margie at 2015 Calgary Stampede

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

RODEO DYNASTIES MILANS MAKE THEIR MARK By DAVE POULSEN

R

ODEO HAS LONG ATTRACTED SUCCESSIVE GENERATIONS OF Milan boys, early days on the ranch

FAMILIES TO ITS RANKS.

SEVERAL ARE AMONG THE MOST SUCCESSFUL RODEO ATHLETES IN

We admire the Butterfields who dominated timed events back in the ‘50s and ‘60s and were followed by a second, then third generation that still makes its presence felt. There was the Bruce family — Hall of Fame cowboy/stock contractor Lawrence and his sons —bronc riding brothers Winston and Duane; the Hay and Hays families, the Daines dynasty, three generations of the Girletz clan, the Cassidys — the list is long. It’s time to add the Milan family to that illustrious group — two generations of excellence who have become one of the most successful and influential families in rodeo today. It was patriarch Murry who started the whole thing while growing up on his parents’ (Stan and Lucille) Three Hills, Alta., farm. “Like a lot of farm and ranch-raised kids, I got my start riding steers,” the current CPRA president recalls. “I got on a few at home, then went to a school in 1972 that was run by Winston Bruce. In 1974 I won a round at the Calgary Stampede and I was hooked.” There was a short-lived fling at bronc riding where he admits to giving “zero

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effort” and finally he tried his hand at steer wrestling which felt like home to the elder Milan — mostly because of his love of horses. “I always loved being on the back of the horse, and dogging was the right fit for me.” A successful amateur career followed and a second place finish in the FCA in 1982 earned him the right to take out both his Canadian pro card and eventually his PRCA card. That’s when things changed. Murry and his wife Roxanne (they were married in 1980) started a family. “I never really rodeoed full-time,” Milan noted. “You start having kids and reality sets in. I would have liked to get to the Canadian Finals but going part-time like I was, that just wasn’t going to happen.” It wasn’t long before those kids were wanting to try sheep riding, steer riding and even roping. “I’d had my turn. It was time to support the kids and help them chase their dreams.” The first of the three boys was Baillee. “Even when I was little, I didn’t have a favourite toy or play a lot of sports,” he admits. “I didn’t want to do anything but rope. My hero was Cliff Williamson and I

didn’t want to be like him — I wanted to be him.” At ten years-old, Baillee convinced his parents to send him to Larry Robinson’s roping school. Baillee, who was half the age of the second youngest student, won the jackpot roping that wrapped up the school. “I still have that trophy.” Baillee added steer wrestling and team roping to his repertoire but candidly admits that his greatest regret is not going harder at his first love — the tie-down roping event. Although steer wrestling wasn’t a top priority, Baillee recalls being in grade nine when he stopped by cousin Craig Hannah’s place to watch Craig and several friends bulldog some steers. “When they missed I’d kind of tell them what I thought they were doing wrong. Finally Craig said, ‘If you think you can do better go ahead and get on a horse.’ I did and I caught a few that day and really liked it; later that year, I won the Alberta High School championship.” Amateur rodeo followed and Baillee turned pro in 2002. He was the PRCA Steer Wrestling Rookie of the year in 2003 and has made five CFR appearances in

Canadian Cowboy Country April/May 2016

PHOTO COURTESY MILAN FAMILY

THE HISTORY OF THE SPORT.


PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; DEANNA KRISTENSEN

C.P.R.A.

steer wrestling and even added a team roping qualification in 2005. Further evidence of the Milan versatility came that same year when Baillee teamed with brother Tanner to win the Calgary Stampede Wild Cow Milking title. In recent years, Baillee has added another feather to his well-decorated cap. He has become one of rodeo’s most respected hazers. But it’s a mantle the veteran dogger wears grudgingly. “I’ve never said no to guys who want me to haze for them but it’s not what I want to be known for. I’m a steer wrestler. That’s what I do; that’s who I am and when people think about me, that’s what I want them to remember.” The middle Milan brother, Tanner, was next off the mark but like his older brother, the middle kid didn’t set out to be a steer wrestler either — at least not at first. “I loved riding steers and I wanted to be a bull rider,” Tanner relates. “In high school I did pretty much every event but there was no doubt in my mind that I would be a bull rider.” Two things altered the course Tanner would follow. One was accompanying Baillee and neighbor, Steve Turner, to Blaine Pederson’s steer wrestling school. “There was room for one more. I got in and loved every minute of it. I knew right then I was a bulldogger.” The second factor was that at about the same time, Tanner went through a growth spurt and simply got too big to ride bulls. Besides, steer wrestling wins were piling up. There was the Alberta and Canadian high school titles while in grade ten, followed by a Chinook Rodeo association championship and the Lammle’s All-Star Challenge that featured the top two from all of the amateur associations in a head to head battle. And any doubt in his mind was erased when he competed at the Mark Roy Challenge against the top pros of the day — and beat them all. The successes have continued to accumulate at the pro level with eleven CFR appearances, two Canadian titles (2012 and 2014) and a very successful 2015 that saw him qualify for his first Wrangler NFR and finish up fifth in the world standings. And he’s not done. “I still want to win a world title, maybe two.” There’s nothing arrogant or boastful in the statement. It’s simply a reflection of the Milan determination and a cowboy with a goal and a dream. The youngest of the three brothers came late to the party and almost didn’t come at all. Unlike his older brothers, Straws Milan did not grow up craving the rodeo life. His passion was hockey. “By the time I was ten, I was pretty much playing hockey year-round and I honestly thought that’s where I’d be going with my life,” he offers. “When I was playing Bantam AAA and Midget AAA, I was

cowboycountrymagazine.com

Baillee Milan, 4.3 second money run, 2012 Canadian Finals Rodeo

Tanner Milan, 2015 WNFR highest Canadian money earner

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selected to go to Europe twice, playing in places like Prague, Czechoslovakia. Then in my final year of Midget AAA I was playing for the Strathmore UFA Bisons and we went to the Macs Midget Tournament in Calgary. After that tournament I had a lot of offers from junior teams.” But that’s when the rodeo gods stepped in. Straws had been helping his brothers in the practice pen and had been doing a little steer wrestling of his own. And he was pretty good from the outset. At 17, he entered the Mark Roy Challenge and (two years after his brother Tanner had done it) Straws won both the amateur division and the overall title and took home $5,500. “That really lit the fire,” he smiles. “I did okay in my first couple of years at the pro level and just missed the CFR in my third year. Then in 2010 I did get there. My goal was to win enough to qualify for Calgary. I placed three times, won $11,000 and I was headed for the Stampede the next year.” That turned out to be huge for the likable dogger because when the smoke cleared and the dust settled over Stampede Park, the kid from Cochrane thrilled the partisan crowd by winning the $100,000 cheque on championship Sunday. Many who were there that day have commented that the cheer that erupted from the grandstand might have been the loudest ever heard at the Stampede rodeo. “I’ve had quite a few people tell me that,” Straws grins. “I just remember it was a real good feeling that day.” With twenty CFR qualifications, a PRCA Rookie of the Year honour, a couple of Canadian titles, two NFR appearances and $100,000 cheque at the Calgary Stampede, there’s no doubting the resume the Milans have put together. But all three are quick to point to the support of their parents as the single biggest reason for their success.

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introduced her as “the woman who does my laundry when I’m in Canada.” But it’s as a ‘superfan’ that Roxanne is most noted. “I get pretty loud and I’ve been known to jump around a lot when the boys are competing.” But she laughs as she admits she draws the line at being caught on camera. “At Calgary when we’ve made it to the final four, Heather Weatherly comes around lining up family for camera shots during the rodeo. That’s when I hide. And I’m pretty good at it too.” It hasn’t been only in the arena that the Milan family has impacted the sport they love. Three years ago Murry successfully ran for CPRA President. “I think my desire to make a difference in rodeo came from watching other professional sports,” he notes, “and asking myself two questions — how did this sport get to the level it’s at and how can rodeo reach this level. “It’s sponsorship, it’s teleStraws Milan vision, it’s growing our sport during the so that it’s truly national in Grand Entry at scope and it’s having a memthe 2013 WNFR bership that can criticize, suggest and offer ideas and The fifth member of the Milan team know that someone is listening. We’re might never have stepped onto the stage not there yet in all these areas and I darn at the Calgary Stampede or won a round sure don’t have all the answers. But with at the CFR but her myriad contributions to time, effort and a bunch of people who the family’s success are quickly acknowlcare, I know we can make rodeo all it can edged. Roxanne Milan didn’t rodeo herself be — all that it should be.” but she quickly took to the role of “rodeo The contributions of the Milan famMom” and recalls the days when she ily — in and out of the arena — are hauled steer riders Tanner and Jody and undisputed. But Roxanne might have put Steven Turner to rodeos all over the counit best. try. And from that time to this, “there have “When it’s all said and done, I hope always been rodeo people around and rigs we’re remembered as good people. That’s in the yard.” what matters.” The Milan dinner table almost always And watching the Milans, talking with has visiting ropers and doggers from both them, sharing in their love of what they sides of the 49th parallel sitting down do — there’s a definite feeling that Mom is to Roxanne’s cooking. American steer going to get her way. c wrestler and three-time Calgary Stampede champion Trevor Knowles recently

Canadian Cowboy Country April/May 2016

PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider


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Ghostown Blu es www.ghostown blues.com 306-661-8481

Broken Spoke Fine Art Gallery & Gifts www.brokenspok eartgallery.com 306-661-8420

www.oldcowtown.ca

cowboycountrymagazine.com

June 25 - Fort Walsh Rotgut Run July 1 - Canada Day Celebrations July 2 - Ranch Rodeo July 9 - Fort Walsh Wild West Family Fest July 10 - Murraydale Stampede July 20-22 - Cowtown Pro Rodeo July 22 - Heritage Festival & Parade August 6 - Fort Walsh Annual Trades Day August 20 - Taste of Maple Creek August 20 - Creek Classics Show ‘n’ Shine August 20 - Art in the Tent August 20 - Senior Hawks Street Dance September 16-18 - Cowboy Poetry Gathering October 1 - Multicultural Mosaic October 1 - 90th Annual Oldtimers’ Banquet & Dance November 26 & 27 - Piapot Lions’ Gun & Hobby Show December 8 - Cowtown Christmas 2017 Events: January 28 & 29 - Piapot Lions’ Antique & Collectables Show February 18 - Battle of the Little Big Puck

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Pro Rodeo Canada Insider

FIGURING IT OUT

ROAD TO THE CFR

KIRK ROBINSON By TIM ELLIS

I

A FRESH APPROACH KENDRA EDEY By TIM ELLIS

B

ARREL RACER KENDRA EDEY RODE A WAVE OF NEW-

FOUND ADRENALINE BACK TO THE CFR LAST YEAR.

“I was so refreshed, it was unbelievable,” begins Edey in describing her return to the pro rodeo trail after taking virtually all of 2014 off. “I was always fresh no matter how much I ate or slept. One weekend, I drove all night from Strathmore [Alta.] to Abbotsford [B.C.] and then back the next night with no sleep and I was fine. I think I just needed to catch up on ten years of missed sleep from being on the road.” Edey competed at a handful of pro rodeos that year before swapping her CPRA membership for an amateur association card. The time away was also used to help

40

care for husband, Joel, who injured his knee while roping at an amateur rodeo and to help her season a new horse named Cat, the younger brother of Captain, her familiar mount from past Finals. “I just decided to take a step back from everything. Then I worked my butt off training horses that winter [2015] and saved all my money so that I had my season covered. I wanted to get back to the CFR and it worked out perfectly.” c

MOTTO. NOT SO ELOQUENT, BUT SIMPLE.

“Don’t do stupid stuff!” It’s something tie-down roper, Kirk Robinson hopes he can adhere to in his quest to one day win a Canadian championship. “If I don’t do stupid stuff, I’ll be alright,” says the son of Hall of Fame roper, Larry Robinson. “My dad says it better.” The younger Robinson is not one to ignore the advice of his father, who first qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo at the age of 17, won six Canadian tie-down roping championships, qualified for the National Finals Rodeos seven times and is not only a member of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame but the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame as well. “Him and my grandpa rope with us every night,” offers the

PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN

Kendra Edey competing at the 2015 CFR

T’S A SIMPLE

Innisfail, Alta., cowboy. “I talk to him all the time after I rope and a lot before, too. He calls to see how we’re doing and checks on the horses. We’re pretty lucky to have him.” (“Grandpa” is Edgar Robinson; who twice qualified for the CFR with his son, Larry.) The advice and help doesn’t stop with his dad. Robinson has also been given the chance to watch some of the world’s greats in his own backyard. “Some of the best guys have stayed with us,” says Robinson, who finished 21st in the 2015 Canadian tiedown roping standings with just under $11,000, three spots lower than brother, Ben. “Shane Hanchey, Tuf Cooper, Cody Ohl and Jake Hannum have all helped us. It’s hard to beat that. “I went down south and roped with Jake the last couple of years. I learned a lot of simple stuff I should have known but didn’t. I just need to get to the Canadian Finals. There’s so much money there; you just never know.” c

Kirk Robinson in action at the 2014 Ponoka Stampede

Canadian Cowboy Country April/May 2016


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Photo by Mike Copeman

cowboycountrymagazine.com

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Profile for Tanner Young Publishing Group

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider - 1604 - Apr/May 2016  

Inside every issue of Canadian Cowboy Country, the Pro Rodeo Canada Insider brings you the latest news from the world of professional Canadi...

Pro Rodeo Canada Insider - 1604 - Apr/May 2016  

Inside every issue of Canadian Cowboy Country, the Pro Rodeo Canada Insider brings you the latest news from the world of professional Canadi...