PHOTO BY KEN MARCINKOSKI
HAND HILLS 100TH! Canadian bronc rider Ivan Daines rides Calgary Stampede Rodeoâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s Hot Stuff at the 1977 Hand Hills Lake Stampede, page 38
RODEOCANADA.COM JUNE/JULY 2016
FROM THE DESK OF THE
ITH THE TOUGH ECONOMIC CLIMATE THIS
YEAR, THERE IS A LOT OF ADDED STRESS ON PROFESSIONAL RODEO ORGANIZATIONS IN NORTH AMERICA AND THEIR RESPECTIVE MEMBERSHIPS. HOWEVER, WHAT I’M SEEING THROUGH ALL OF THIS IS THE STRENGTH, RESILIENCE AND PERSEVERANCE THAT
PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; COURTESY DESIGNPICS.COM / COREY HOCHACHKA
PEOPLE WITHIN THE WESTERN HERITAGE ALL SHARE. The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association is continuing to take important strides by updating its not-for-profit structure, creating programs to assist our members in promoting themselves, and building strong sponsorship relationships that will outlast an economic downturn.
There is also a lot of excitement this season around the contract for the 2017 and beyond Canadian Finals Rodeo. The CFR has been in Edmonton for going on 43 years now and we have nothing but appreciation for the city standing behind the sport of rodeo. But in the interest of garnering the best possible contract for our fans, sponsors and our entire membership, the tough decision was made to give multiple cities the option to submit proposals to host the event in 2017. We are currently in the negotiation stage with interested cities to host a CFR event. The CPRA is enthusiastic about its opportunities and can’t wait to see what the future holds for the sport of rodeo in Canada. I look forward to seeing you on the rodeo trail this season as we continue to grow one of the most exciting and action-packed extreme sports on the planet — Canadian Professional Rodeo! – Dan Eddy General Manager, Canadian Professional Rodeo Association
2016 Canadian Professional Rodeo Schedule Dates are subject to change. Please visit rodeocanada.com for up-to-date information.
JUNE Leduc, AB ������������������������������������������������������� June 2-5 Wildwood, AB ��������������������������������������������� June 3-4 Hand Hills, AB ��������������������������������������������� June 4-5 Brooks, AB ������������������������������������������������ June 10-11 Lea Park, AB ��������������������������������������������� June 10-12 Innisfail, AB ����������������������������������������������� June 17-19 Wainwright, AB �������������������������������������� June 23-26 High River, AB ����������������������������������������� June 24-26 Sundre, AB ����������������������������������������������� June 24-26 Ponoka, AB ��������������������������������������� June 27 - July 3 Airdrie, AB ���������������������������������������� June 28 - July 2 Williams Lake, BC �������������������������� June 30 - July 3
JULY Coronation, AB ��������������������������������������������� July 8-9 Benalto, AB �������������������������������������������������� July 8-10 Taber, AB ������������������������������������������������������� July 9-10 Kinsella, AB ������������������������������������������������������� July 13 Teepee Creek, AB �������������������������������������� July 15-17 Bowden, AB ����������������������������������������������������� July 16 Oyen, AB ������������������������������������������������������������ July 20 Maple Creek, SK �������������������������������������� July 20-22 Bonnyville, AB ������������������������������������������� July 21-22 Morris, MB ������������������������������������������������� July 21-24 Kennedy, SK ��������������������������������������������� July 23-24 Medicine Hat, AB ������������������������������������ July 28-30 Camrose, AB ���������������������������������������������� July 28-31 Strathmore, AB �������������������������� July 29 - August 1 Bruce, AB ����������������������������������������������������������� July 31
AUGUST High Prairie, AB �������������������������������������� August 2-3 Cochrane, AB ����������������������������������������������� August 6 Grimshaw, AB ����������������������������������������� August 6-7 La Crete, AB ������������������������������������������ August 9-10 Dawson Creek, BC ���������������������������� August 12-14 Jasper, AB �������������������������������������������� August 17-20 Pincher Creek, AB ������������������������������ August 19-21 Cranbrook, BC ������������������������������������� August 19-21 Okotoks, AB ��������������������������������������� August 26-28 Armstrong, BC ������������ August 31 - September 4
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
THOMAS STEPS DOWN IN WILLIAMS LAKE As the Williams Lake Stampede Association prepares for its 90th anniversary, it will do so without its longtime leader at the helm. Fred Thomas, the longest-serving president in the association’s history is stepping down.
He’s been a volunteer and director for over 25 years (20 years as president). Thomas was named the 2006 CPRA Committee Person of the Year. He also served on the board of the CPRA. Thomas and his wife Paddy (also a longtime volunteer with the organization) have contributed thousands of hours to the Stampede and were Stampede Lifetime Pass honorees in 2012. Thomas was previously honoured as Williams Lake’s Citizen of the Year. “It’s time for me to step back,” he commented in making the announcement. “I’ve enjoyed it. The good times far outweigh those times when you’re kind of shaking your head.” Thomas went on to credit the organization’s volunteers with making the Stampede the longstanding success it has been. “I’ll still be part of it, but it’s time for the younger people to have the opportunity to run with it.” The good news is that he will continue to serve as a director and past-president. Tim Rolph, who has been the association’s rodeo director for the past several years, will move into the president’s chair for the upcoming Stampede, slated for June 30 to July 3. —D.P.
HIGH RIVER PRO RODEO RETURNS TO FOLD Professional rodeo will return to High River, Alta., in June of this year. Guy Weadick Days, combining rodeo and four nights of World Pro chuckwagon racing, is slated for June 23 to 26 and marks the end of pro rodeo’s three-year hiatus from the event. High River is a community that has battled back from the ravages of the 2013 flood and the high-profile rodeo and wagon races will be a welcome entertainment package for a town that has a long and storied association with
both sports — as evidenced by the name. Guy Weadick was the founder, along with the Big Four businessmen, of the Calgary Stampede. The rodeo will be produced by the C5 Rodeo Company and coordinated by 2015 Committee Person of the Year, Gillian Shields. “C5 Rodeo is excited to bring professional rodeo back to High River,” says 2013 Miss Rodeo Canada. “We intend to provide an authentic and captivating rodeo production while bringing an opportunity for
the community to prosper and come together in celebrating High River’s roots.” CPRA Rodeo Administrator Mark Roy agrees. “A rodeo like High River, the Guy Weadick Memorial, it’s a natural to be a pro rodeo because of its name and because of the area around there being so full of knowledgeable rodeo fans; that was one of the reasons why I personally wanted to see High River back,” says Roy. —D.P.
By BARB POULSEN and DAVE POULSEN
THE CANADIAN PRO RODEO HALL OF FAME ANNOUNCES 2016 INDUCTEES Three contestants, a builder, and two animals comprise this year’s list of those being inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame. The 1975 Canadian All-Around champion Bob Hartell, 1988 Canadian Champion Bull Rider Dan Lowry and 1978 Steer Wrestling champion Dave MacDonald are the three contestants being honoured. They are joined by Vic Stuckey, a founding member of the Cowboy’s Protective Association, the body that would eventually become today’s Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. From the livestock side, Harvey Northcott’s amazing bull, Confusion, which carried Cody Snyder to a CFR record score of 95 points and was ridden only six times in more than 150 trips and Painted Smile, the wonderful Kesler Rodeo paint mare that was a three-time Canadian and World Champion Saddle bronc, round out this year’s impressive group of inductees. —CPRHF
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
PHOTO BY LIZ TWAN
The Short Round
A proud sponsor of the great sport of Rodeo since 1954
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider THE SHORT ROUND
WORLD CHAMPION JOINS THE STAFF OF THE CPRA Mark Roy was recently named the new CPRA Rodeo Administrator. He grew up just a mile from the Fir Mountain, Sask., home of 1947 World Champion saddle bronc rider, Carl Olson, so he came by his interest in rodeo early and enthusiastically. “My family wasn’t involved in the sport other than to take in the annual rodeo as spectators, but I grew up in an area where there were a lot of amateur cowboys and lots of opportunities to learn and try my hand at different aspects of rodeo.” Roy actually started out as a bull rider — getting on bulls at the ranch of Don and Brenda Peterson — but soon grew too big to continue. So when pro steer wrestler Richard Todd suggested he try bull dogging, it seemed to Roy to be the perfect fit.
And it was. Roy attended a Tom Bews steer wrestling school and Roy’s career was underway. And what a career it was as back-to-back Canadian titles (1991 and ’92) and a World title, also in 1992 proved. Next year will mark the 25th anniversary of Roy’s World title, a moment that he remembers “like it was yesterday”. It’s his lengthy background in the sport that Roy feels has prepared him for the challenges ahead. “I’ve spent 20
years talking about what needs to happen in rodeo,” Roy says, chuckling. “Now I get a chance to do something about it.” The likable cowboy is clear about what he sees as the challenges ahead: “I’ll be working with CPRA committees and overseeing the judging program and enforcement of the rules of the sport. But the biggest thing to me is the need to create more rodeos. “I was reading a copy of the Canadian Rodeo News from 1986,” Roy adds. “There were 73 rodeos back then. Now we have 45. That’s something we really have to work on.” Roy is justifiably proud of the family that travelled many of those rodeo miles with him. His wife Audi is a successful entrepreneur and business woman, his son Denver recently filled his pro card in rodeo (no surprise — he’s a bulldogger), and his son Bryn will soon be attending the training camp of the CFL’s Toronto Argonauts after four seasons as a linebacker with the Montreal Alouettes. —D.P.
FROM BARRELS TO BOATS—IT’S ALL ABOUT SPEED! Valleyview’s Jodi Hollingworth has four CFR barrel-racing qualifications to her credit. But in recent years, Jodi and her husband, Rick, have turned to a new extreme speed sport.
The talented pair captured the 2015 World Jet Boat Championship with their boat Little Smokey. The circuit event included races in Grovedale, Peace River and Whitecourt,
Alta., and in Fort St. John, B.C. The Hollingworths finished first overall, through 12 legs, with a time of 4:06:43. The duo were 2015 Union Internationale Motonautique (UIM) champions
in Class River Marathon Jet Boat Overall and Unlimited Class River Marathon. The Hollingworths (with Rick as driver and Jodi as navigator) travelled to the Principality of Monaco on March 5, 2016, where they received their award at the UIM awards gala. —B.P.
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN; MAURICE TRUDEAU, MT ACTIONS PHOTOGRAPHY/MTACTIONS.COM
Driver Rick Hollingworth and Navigator Jodi Hollingworth in Little Smokey at the 2015 World Jet Boat Championship
MONTANA RODEO CONSIDERS SALUTE
TO GREG KESLER
As a way to tip their hats to longtime pro rodeo stock contractor Greg Kesler, members of the Lewis and Clark County Fairgrounds board (Helena, Mont.) voted March 30 to request the county commission name the outdoor rodeo arena the Greg Kesler Arena. Kesler, stock contractor for the Last Chance Stampede rodeo for the last 18 years, passed away in February of this year. The Kesler family has a strong connection to the area, as they keep some of their livestock in Lewis and Clark County. Kesler Championship Rodeo will continue to work with the Lewis and Clark Fairground committee on the production of the 2016 pro rodeo. —B.P.
FRI, JULY 15: TEAM ROPING JACKPOT - 6pm SAT, JULY 16: C.A.R.A. RODEO - 1pm BAREBACK CHALLENGE - 7pm CABARET - 10pm SUN, JULY 17: C.A.R.A. RODEO - 1pm SAT/SUN: INTERMISSION: TEAM PENNING
• FREE CAMPING • BALL TOURNAMENT • BEER GARDENS CABARET WITH ROOSTER IN THE HEN HOUSE
rodeo 2016 Aug 31 - sept 4 Wrangler Canadian Pro Rodeo Tour Each evening starting at 8pm WCPR Tour Finals on Sunday • CPRA & PRCA Approved • Awesome Crowds & Unique Experience at the Nightly Rodeo • Camping Available • All Seats are Reserved Seating
PHOTO BY MIKE COPEMAN
RODEO MIDWAY SHOWS EXHIBITION
250.546.9406 | firstname.lastname@example.org | armstrongipe.com cowboycountrymagazine.com
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
THE GLORY BOYS FOUR YOUNG CANADIANS RIDE ONTO THE WORLD STAGE By DAVE POULSEN
ANADA HAS AN ENVIABLE INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION WHEN IT COMES TO PRODUCING WORLD-CLASS HOCKEY PLAYERS, MAPLE SYRUP, CURLERS, WHEAT, PEACEKEEPERS, AND RYE WHISKEY. IT’S TIME TO ADD ONE MORE
TO THAT IMPRESSIVE LIST: YOUNG BRONC RIDERS. of Dustin Flundra, Sam Kelts and Tyrel Larsen. “It’s cool, for sure,” commented Meeting Creek, Alberta’s Layton Green, the second oldest of the foursome at 22 years and four months. “To have four of us Layton Green riding Wayne Vold’s Easy to Love doing good at the highest level is to split the fourth round with an 84.5 at the 2015 pretty exciting.” Canadian Finals Rodeo “It’s special,” agreed Nanton’s Clay Elliott, coming off his $50,000-plus win focus on my riding and have fun. The at the Houston Livestock Show more I enjoy it, the more I win.” and Rodeo. “It kind of takes you The final day, which came just ten days back to the Rod Hay days.” after his 22nd birthday, was filled with Hay is regarded by many drama. First was the round of ten, folas the greatest Canadian bronc lowed by a final four round to decide the rider ever, qualifying for his first Houston champion. Except that it didn’t. Canadian and National Finals Elliott and Rusty Wright were tied, necesrodeos as a 20-year-old rookie. sitating a rideoff. But while Hay had plenty of qual“I was really nervous for the fourity company on this side of the round,” Elliott admitted. “I’d had a couple 49th parallel — brother Denny, of hours to think about things. But the Guy Shapka, Rod Warren and rideoff happened right away so there was Duane Daines among them — it’s no time to think about anything but makfair to say there has never been a ing a good ride.” crop of Canadian kids enjoy this And he did, spurring out an 85 score on much success this early. the Harry Vold mare, Dancing Girl, to edge Elliott burst on the scene the Utah cowboy for the title. in 2015 when he captured the It marked the second year in a row that National Intercollegiate Rodeo a Canadian has topped the bronc riding Association (NIRA) bronc riding field at the (non-PRCA) event. Big Valley’s title. And he employed the same Zeke Thurston won it a year ago, part game plan at Houston that had of a spectacular breakout season for the worked to perfection at the colsecond-generation talent. lege finals. While there’s no hint of arrogance The 2015 Pro Series Finals “I try to keep outside influin any of the four, there is a recurring matched Jake Watson with John ences out of it,” he noted. “I just theme — none of them are surprised at Duffy’s bronc, Stix, for 79 points want to spur ’em every jump, their success. “I’ve always expected it of
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN
Layton Green, Clay Elliott, Zeke Thurston and Jake Watson are the young lions of Canadian bronc riding or as Thurston recently referred to them — the “new next group.” All four are between 21 and 23 years old (Watson turned 23 in April), and all are big-time players on the world stage, joining a more veteran international presence that includes the likes
saturday august 27 2016
You are invited to meet our Dream Horse PERFORMANCE HORSE SALE, BOZEMAN, MONTANA
A SMOOTH GUY
CopperSpringRanch.com | FrenchmansGuy.com For information on Myers sale horses: email@example.com 605/641-4283 (Bill) or 605/641-4282 (Deb) For information on CSR sale horses: LisaA@copperspringranch.com 406/579-1540 Email LisaA@copperspringranch.com or firstname.lastname@example.org to be included in our catalog mailing list
GET BETTER HEALTH & PERFORMANCE
when electrolytes work properly.
Equiwinner™ Making Electrolytes Smart
10-day treatment can last for months and even up to a year. Guaranteed success with: ● EIPH Bleeding ● Tying-up ● Hydration ● Headshaking ● Performance ● Non-Sweating Recommended by Nancy Csabay 2015 CFR Champion, Top Gun Award ● Skin & Coat
Proof positive. Test negative.
Signal-Health.com 877-378-4946 cowboycountrymagazine.com
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
myself,” Elliott conceded, “and I thought I was on the verge with some positive hints last year.” That sentiment was echoed by Green who admitted that after qualifying for last year’s CFR, there’s “a fire burning in my gut. I just want to get better every horse I get on.” For Thurston, success seemed slow in coming. “It felt like it took forever. When you care about it so much, you wonder if the good stuff is ever going to happen.” The ‘good stuff’ happened in 2015, much of it before his 21st birthday. After setting an arena record with his 91 score at Tucson, he didn’t need a rideoff for his Houston title, marking a spectacular 89 for the win. Thurston then added the $100,000 payday at the Calgary Stampede (there he did need a rideoff), and capped off the year with trips to the CFR and the WNFR. The fourth member of this talented — and exclusive — club is Hudson Hope, BC’s Jake Watson, featured in the last issue of Canadian Cowboy Country. Watson hasn’t taken his foot off the gas pedal, and in early May was still in the top five in the world standings. “I think all of us coming up at the same time and pretty much the same age has made us better,” Watson pointed out. “We all want to win and we all expect to win.”
The question then is what has made the rise to stardom for these four so rapid and dramatic. Thurston offered one suggestion. “There are so many good horses now and so many good guys as well, it makes you push yourself that much harder every time you nod.” The second-generation talent credited his dad, (six-time WNFR qualifier, Skeeter) with playing a major role in his
development. “I still go to him with any problem, bronc-riding related or not — he’s great.” The others agreed on the importance of those early mentors. “My dad (Dave) made sure I was getting on practice horses back when I was 16 or 17,” noted Green. Clay Elliott concurred. “The two people who have been really important to me are my dad (Vern) and Winston Bruce. I still call up Winston (the 1961 World Champion) and he’s great to talk to.” Watson added another element. “When we were starting out there were really good bronc riding schools put on by Rod Hay and Skeeter Thurston,” he recalled. “That was huge.” All four, not surprisingly, have set lofty goals for the 2016 season. There’s just one problem — to reach them they likely have to beat each other. “We’ve been butting heads for a long time,” Watson smiled. “I think that’s the way it’s supposed to be.” “You’re always cheering your buddies on,” Green added. “Right up until you have to beat them.” Thurston nodded agreement. “Canada can expect some big highlights for the next decade. Bottom line, we’re all Canadians and we’re all bronc riders.” And like Canadian maple syrup, wheat and rye whiskey, these four young bronc riders are very, very good. c Clay Elliott winning the 2012 Novice Saddle Bronc Championship at the Calgary Stampede
PHOTOS BY DEANNA KRISTENSEN; MIKE COPEMAN
Zeke Thurston at the 2015 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo on Smith’s Resistols Top Hat
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
2016 DAWSON CREEK EXHIBITION & STAMPEDE | AUGUST 9–14 • Wrangler Canadian Pro Tour Rodeo with stock contractor Kessler Rodeo • World Professional Chuckwagon Racing • Western Chuckwagon Racing • Agricultural Fair & Nightly Entertainment at the Waterin’ Hole • Nightly Fireworks Display • Midway… and much, much more!! Featuring High Valley on Aug 9th at the Fair Grounds Grandstand at 7pm
Left: Luke Tournier winner of the Dawson Creek 2015 “Battle of the North” Above: Joe Loomis Dash for Cash
Photo credits: Chuckwagon - Fred Vidiuk Photography; Bronc - Mike Copeman Photography
Advance Tickets: High Valley Concert and 5 Days of Exhibition are on sale now. Check our website for more information.
TICKETS ON SALE WWW.RANCHMANS.COM
Cowboy Hospitality Nightly During the Calgary Stampede RANCHMANSCALGARY @RANCHMANS RANCHMANS@RANCHMANS.COM 9615 MACLEOD TRAIL SOUTH | 403.253.1100 | WWW.RANCHMANS.COM
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider Big Rig
86 points – (Brock Radford, long round, Chad Besplug Invitational) BO X 2 – (Lonnie West, Round 2, & Jared Parsonage, Round 6 - 2015 CFR) Outlaw Buckers Rodeo Corp, Wainwright, Alta. @outlawbuckers By DIANNE FINSTAD
Badger and Moon Kolton Schmidt, Barrhead, Alta.
By TIM ELLIS
olton Schmidt has his bases covered. Whether he’s roping indoors in the fall and winter, or outside in the large pens in nicer weather, the Barrhead, Alta., cowboy has the horsepower to catch sizeable cheques in either environment. “I’ve won about the same amount on each horse this winter,” confides Schmidt, who, by late March, sat atop the world team roping heading standings. “I’ve just got to keep them sound and happy which is near impossible.” Badger is the mount the 21-year-old prefers in the small spaces. “What he’s known for is being really good in Rexall Place,” says Schmidt, who won the 2013 Canadian championship, was runner-up in 2014 and won a round last year at the CFR. “He’s a great indoor horse and he’s getting better outside.” Schmidt purchased the 12-year-old black gelding as a heeling horse after seeing him perform at a jackpot in Arizona. “He was just so pretty,” recalls the four-time CFR
qualifier. “He was athletic and broke. I wanted him on my team but I didn’t know he’d turn out to be this good.” Good enough to be named the 2014 Canadian Heading Horse of the Year. “He’s such a high-powered horse with huge momentum. His feet move so fast that he can make anything happen. Sometimes that makes it difficult because he’s not simple or easy.” Complementing Badger is 17-year-old, Moon, bought from veteran team roper, Murray Linthicum. “He’s been amazing,” offers Schmidt, who won the 2015 Ponoka Stampede and the National College Finals championship with the dark brown mount. “He’s a great outside horse.” Having two talented fourlegged partners means that the third-generation roper is ready to win in any environment and that versatility is, in part, what took Kolton Schmidt to the top of the PRCA standings this spring.
“He gives one big kick, turns left and stays there. He’s done that every time he’s bucked.” While a pattern that consistent might eliminate the ‘fooled ya’ factor, it hasn’t made the six-year-old titan any easier to ride. “He’s up and down, and kicks hard. He’s just so strong. Cowboys like drawing him, because they know they can win if they ride him.” He also bears watching after the cowboy has departed, having run down a bullfighter or two. Sawyer insists the bull’s not mean at home at their Lacombe ranch, but he does keep to himself. Big Rig is one of the A-string performers for Outlaw Buckers. Last summer he had an 88-point performance at the Calgary Stampede. He’s been to the CFR twice, bucking off Lonnie West and Jared Parsonage last November. This spring he helped Brock Radford (86.5 in the long round) win the Chad Besplug Invitational Bull Riding in Claresholm. There can be great rewards for drawing Big Rig, but bull riders know they’ve got their work cut out Lonnie West on Outlaw Buckers’ Big Rig at the 2015 Canadian Finals Rodeo for them first!
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN
Kolton Schmidt on Badger making a 4.7-second round winning run at the 2013 Canadian Finals Rodeo
ou’ve got a sizeable task ahead if you find your name beside Big Rig on the rodeo draw! The red and white paintcoloured Brahma with the wide rack of horns is imposing to look at. But he’s even more daunting when you’re about to crawl on his back, since he fills the chute, and then some! “He’s a Quams Bomb son,” explained Curtis Sawyer, the man in charge of Outlaw Buckers’ bull division. “He’s about 1,800 or 1,900 pounds — big like his dad was. “He’s close to six feet tall at the hump and his horns are out about a foot and a half each side. He’s definitely got the intimidation factor.” And when the rider nods, Big Rig knows his job.
FRANKLIN RODEO STOCK, BAR C5 AND CALGARY STAMPEDE STOCK MUTTON BUSTING RODEO CLOWN DENNIS HALSTEAD
OTHER ENTERTAINMENT INCLUDES: • Warm Up BBQ • BS Bingo • Fireworks Display • Pancake Breakfast • Parade • Cowboy Cabaret featuring T.C. & Company • Beer Gardens • Free RV Camping Voted by PEOPLES CHOICE AWARDS Mountain View County Areas Best Fair and Rodeo in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013, 2014 and 2015
! y in everyonet yle! S For the cowbo rn te es W t, Entertainmen
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
HAND HILLS LAKE STAMPEDE A LONG-STANDING TRADITION By BARB POULSEN
HE YEAR WAS 1917. JACK MILLER — WHO HAD TRAVELLED WEST FROM ONTARIO IN 1901 TO STAKE
A LAND CLAIM IN ALBERTA’S HAND HILLS—DECIDED TO STAGE A ‘WILD WEST RODEO’ ON HIS RANCH THAT JULY, WITH THE PROCEEDS ($3,200, AN IMPRESSIVE AMOUNT IN 1917) GOING TO THE RED CROSS WAR EFFORT. AT A TIME WHEN DISTANCE AND SPARSE POPULATION MADE SOCIALIZING DIFFICULT, MILLER’S RODEO WAS A HUGE SUCCESS, SO MUCH SO HE RAN IT FOR A SECOND YEAR.
The formation of the Hand Hills Lake Club — an organization still going strong today — and a land donation of 80 acres saw community members, Miller among them, establish a rodeo grounds beside Hand Hills Lake, located between Drumheller and Hanna. That same grounds, with a few improvements through the years, remains home to the Hand Hills Lake Stampede as the organization celebrates 100 consecutive years this June. So what makes this isolated event with signs advising attendees that there is NO FUEL close (fuel up your vehicles in Drumheller or Hanna) so special that it’s managed to stay afloat all these years? According to Stampede club member Marilyn Vredegoor, who married into the Hand Hills Lake community over 40 years ago, there are several reasons. “I believe that having an event like the Stampede out in the middle of nowhere
Lane Cust on Calgary Stampede’s Y6, 2015 Hand Hills Lake Stampede
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
PHOTOS BY MARCINKOSKI; COURTESY HAND HILLS STAMPEDE
TOP: Early cowboys at the Miller Ranch; 1917 RIGHT: Mr. and Mrs. Jack Miller and Willine, taken outside the Miller ranch house on the south end of Hand Hills Lake in 1917. Mrs. Miller is holding “the money bag” containing $3,200, proceeds from the day’s Stampede.
for 100 years makes us unique,” says Marilyn. “We are 25 miles from the nearest town and people have to drive on dreaded gravel roads to get to us, but people come,” she notes. “For 79 years (give or take), the Stampede was held on the second Wednesday of June. For years, the schools and the stores in the area would close for that day. Unheard of. We changed to a weekend for the 80th in 1991 and we have grown since. The Stampede was originally formed out of a need to socialize and that still holds true today. It’s more about a reunion of families, friends and neighbours than it is about the rodeo. The rodeo is the bonus.” While the rodeo is only one of the attractions, it’s become a compelling one over the years. As well, the Hand Hills Lake Stampede has been on the roster of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association since the founding group of cowboys was formalized, and the roster of champions is a ‘Who’s Who’ of professional rodeo. Early champions include such notables as Pete Knight, Herman Linder, Dick Cosgrave, Reg Kesler, Winston Bruce and Mel Hyland, with most of the ‘greats’ from over the years finding their way to the Stampede’s winner’s circle. The event holds special memories for many in the area and is still a part of their community commitment. Merle Morton, who was born and raised a mile from the rodeo grounds
and has lived in the Hand Hills Lake area all of his 75 years, has been involved with the event since he was 15 years old and has “done just about everything”. “I’ve been president, vice-president, treasurer and director. We spend about two weeks before Stampede every year fixing. Everything used to be made out of wood so we had to fix a lot of stuff,” he comments. “But we’re lucky; we’re never short of help, especially on Stampede Day. The whole community pretty much gets involved.” Morton adds that two of the biggest improvements, which have reduced the yearly preparation at the grounds, were the addition of steel chutes and corrals a few years back, and a new community hall. The Calgary Stampede, an integral part of the Hand Hills Lake Stampede as the event stock contractor and nearby neighbour, provided the Hand Hills Lake Club with some of their old chutes when they upgraded the set up in Calgary a few years ago. “The Calgary Stampede helps us a lot,” confirms Larry Rosin — another long-time Hand Hills area resident. “Having their old chutes has made a big difference. Keith Marrington (Calgary Stampede Western Event Specialist) has been really good to us.”
Rosin’s involvement — also varied over time — currently involves running the timed event chute. But he too enjoys some special memories of Stampede preparation. “When I was 16, for the 50th anniversary of the Hand Hills Lake Stampede, we (Rosin, Jack MacDonald and Bob Anderson) trailed 130 head of bucking horses along road allowances and cross country from the Calgary Stampede Ranch 25-plus miles to the Hand Hills rodeo grounds.” Not without incident either. Rosin recalls one of lead horses getting hung up in a gate and two-thirds of the herd running off four miles in the wrong direction at one point. But it all worked out in the end. As with any long-standing community organization, the Hand Hills group has had its share of ups and downs. “The attendance at the Stampede was dying in the late 80s,” Marilyn Vregegoor recalls, “due to the fact that not as many people could take off a Wednesday to go rodeoing. Once we made the tough decision to move to a weekend, we saw an increase in
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
This line drawing of a bronc rider in action, was a symbol of the Hand Hills Stampede for many years. Originally drawn by the late Harold W. McCrea in 1917 when he was on the staff of the Hanna Herald, this replica was used in the first advertisement for the 1917 show. Henceforth year after year the same bucking bronc and rider appeared on posters for the stampede, and its design was once used for hand painted “cowboy neckerchiefs” which were made out of silk, brightly coloured and sold as stampede souvenirs.
has volunteered for since 1983,” says Vredegoor. “He is an amazing community person who we cannot say enough about. Day also organizes all of the catering that is done for the Club. Last year we did $60,000 worth of catering all headed by Day. He does all the food buying, planning of the items to be sold and the Lenfestys donate and make all of the pies that are sold at the Stampede. Last year they made 250 pies; this year it could be doubled so we’re planning a work bee. “Day will make sure that everything is there for us. There’s very little canned pie filling; it’s mostly fresh apples and rhubarb that Day has frozen. Saskatoon pie is the all-time favourite. All the workers in the booth are volunteers and do it from year to year, some in the same time slot year after year. There is a constant buzz of people… young kids start early to learn to volunteer in the booth.” An interesting side note: Day Lenfesty’s grandfather (of the same name) won the 1917 Hand Hills Lake Stampede saddle bronc title.
There are special plans afoot to celebrate the 100th. Descendants of event founder, Jack Miller, will open the event. Event champions will receive trophy buckles with a version of the buckle available for sale as a souvenir. A custom metal sign with the signature bucking bronc (used at the first Stampede) has been erected at the grounds and a 100th Anniversary Celebration book was published earlier this year and is currently on sale to the public. A parade is planned at the grounds and a ‘Heritage Tent’ that will feature historical displays, refreshments and the opportunity to visit and catch up with old friends. The Calgary Stampede Show Riders will be in attendance June 4 – 5, and a special presentation will be made to the Red Cross — reminiscent of the funds raised 100 years ago at the very first Hand Hills Lake Stampede. Additional activities and attractions are noted on the handhills.ab.ca website. The Hand Hills Lake crew invites contestants and fans to celebrate the past, enjoy the present and look to the future of the 100th Hand Hills Lake Stampede. As they say, “See you in the Hills!” c
Hall of Fame pick up man, Gary Rempel, waits out the alkali dust storm at the Hand Hills Stampede, 2004. This photo by Sarah Timmons was selected as one of the Top Rodeo Photographs of the Year. “The dust was awful salty and it took a lot of beer that night to wash it down,” says Gary.
PHOTOS COURTESY HAND HILLS LAKE CLUB; BY SARAH TIMMONS-LOWRY
HAND HILLS SYMBOL
people coming and it has grown ever since.” The rising cost of stock and insurance (and sometimes uncooperative weather) have also been factors, but not enough to dampen the enthusiasm of area residents when it comes to carrying on the Hand Hills Lake tradition. Merle Morton noted, “I remember one year, it was so dusty with the alkali blowing off the (Hand Hills) Lake, we had to hold up the rodeo for awhile. You couldn’t see across the arena.” While the grounds boast a newer arena set-up, camping area and community hall (the old Elmer School was moved onto the rodeo grounds in 1983 and has benefited from a recent addition — the old school gym), it’s still a venue that’s a bit more primitive when compared to some of the more urban rodeo settings. But that doesn’t stop the Hand Hills Lake Club from offering a weekend of diverse and dynamic entertainment, and an on-site concession that is revered by fans and contestants alike. “We are fortunate here in the Hills to have Day Lenfesty at the helm of the food concession, a job that he
! t n e v e w e N
CRANBROOK PRO RODEO HELD AT WYCLIFFE EXHIBITION GROUNDS WYCLIFFE PARK ROAD, HALFWAY BETWEEN CRANBROOK & KIMBERLEY August 19, 20 and 21 Performances at 6:30, Friday & Saturday, 2:00pm Sunday. Dance Saturday evening after the performance. Refreshment Garden all three days. Free camping at the grounds. Wayne Vold Stock
Another Cutting Edge Product from the Danamay Supplement Company
Turmericle This unique golden powder blend combines all the natural benefits of turmeric, powdered coconut oil (PowerStance), ground black pepper, and an Equitec Performance Products’ exclusive ingredient, Resveratrol, in an easy to use powdered supplement form. It is suitable for use in a variety of animals including horses, cattle, dogs and cats! TURMERIC Known as the vibrant, golden ingredient used liberally in Indian curries, turmeric has a long history of use in both Indian and Chinese traditional medicine. The inherent therapeutic properties are attributed to the vivid yellow-orange pigments (curcuminoids) that are present in turmeric. They are believed to have powerful antioxidant properties (significantly more so than vitamin E or C) and may increase the body’s ability to neutralize free radicals before they damage healthy cells and cell membranes. In combination with its perceived anti-inflammatory effects, turmeric has also been known for its role in the prevention or alleviation of an impressive array conditions. Turmeric may also be useful in reducing inflammation particularly for animals with arthritis and itchy skin. GROUND BLACK PEPPER The inclusion of ground black pepper to this mix may increase the bioavailability and absorption rate of turmeric and Resveratrol.
POWERSTANCE Stance Equine’s powdered coconut oil supplement is a unique coconut delivery system that gives the benefits of this wonderful, tropical oil
and may also help to increase the absorption of turmeric in the digestive system. Coconut oil contains high levels of medium chain triglycerides (MCT’s) which provide the body with a readily available energy source, and Lauric Acid which converts to monolaurin, and may provide anti-bacterial, anti-microbial, and anti-fungal properties. The benefits of supplementing animals with coconut oil may include improved digestive health, enhanced coat, and skin condition. RESVERATROL Resveratrol is a unique and exclusive element of Equitec’s Turmericle powder. This polyphenolic stilbenoid is a natural product found in cocoa powder and red grape skins, and is better known as the health promoting component of red wine. The inclusion of Resveratrol may help to boost the antioxidant properties and therefore may amplify the benefits of combining turmeric, coconut oil, and ground black pepper. For more information on Turmericle and where to purchase, please contact Danamay Supplement Company. 1-877-648-9451 www.Powerhorse.ca For more information on the benefits of Turmeric, search for "Turmeric users group" on Facebook.
Pro Rodeo Canada Insider
ALL I WANT FOR CHRISTMAS Bobby Peters
T Cole Goodine’s money ride on Big Stone Rodeo’s W14 Bubbles at the 2015 Canadian Finals Rodeo
ACCOMPLISHING GOALS Cole Goodine
here was no question Cole Goodine had championship pedigree when he entered the ranks of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association two years ago. He was coming off a 2013 season in which he won bareback titles in the Foothills Cowboys Association, Lakeland Rodeo Association and the Wildrose Rodeo Association on the semi-pro circuit. Now it’s become apparent he also has the perseverance necessary to win a championship buckle on the pro rodeo trail. “I actually accomplished all of my goals last season,” reveals the 26-year-old. “I won my first CPRA rodeo, made it back to the CFR and won the Kenton Randle Series.” Those accomplishments came despite constant trips to the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine trailer throughout the summer. “I was going in before and after each ride,” says Goodine, who has qualified for the CFR in each of his first two seasons.
BY TIM ELLIS “Back in the winter, I stretched all of the muscles that hold the shoulder in its socket of my free arm, then the left side of my back would go numb after each ride later in the season and my hands gave me a lot of grief.” The 2016 pro rodeo season began no differently. “I was healing up until I was hit with a lung infection about two weeks before the start of the season,” offers Goodine, who won the season-opening, Broncs and Honky Tonks Rodeo in Medicine Hat, Alta., for the second straight year. “I lost about ten pounds of muscle and my entire lung capacity. I was just trying to battle it out and was still really weak. It took a while to get that lung capacity back. I was running and working out every morning.” “Getting back to the CFR is an obvious goal. But I want to be more consistent and have this be my best year yet.” Staying healthy would be an important first step in that process. c
BY TIM ELLIS
he goal for fellow bareback rider, Bobby Peters this season is simple. “One year, I would like to have a good Cowboy Christmas,” yearns Peters, referencing the lucrative July 1st run of rodeos — Ponoka, Williams Lake and Airdrie — that can make a mediocre year good and a good year great. “I tore my MCL just before the big July 1st rodeos,” laments Peters who finished 14th in last year’s Canadian Pro Rodeo bareback standings. “I actually went to those rodeos that weekend and then took a ten-day medical which slowed me down. “My hand hung in my riggin’ when I was jumping off my horse instead of looking for the pickup man in Rocky Mountain House. I’ve changed my strategy now. I won’t be jumping off anymore.” Peters’ 2015 finish was his best since filling his semi-pro
card back in 2012. The season included a trip to the Pro Rodeo Canada Series Final and topping $10,000 in earnings. “I just have to keep putting myself in a position to qualify for the CFR,” suggests the 27-year-old, who qualified three times for the National College Finals Rodeo while on the rodeo team at Montana State University. “You can only ride one at a time and see where you end up.” Peters, no stranger to the winner’s circle — he was the 2002 Calgary Stampede Boys Steer Riding Champion — put his quest for the 2016 CFR in a holding pattern in order to help his dad with the spring calving chores. Happily for the Pincher Creek cowboy, calving will be wrapped up well in advance of Cowboy Christmas. c
Bobby Peters aboard Calgary Stampede’s J-31 Juvenile Quest at the 2015 Pro Rodeo Canada Final
Canadian Cowboy Country June/July 2016
PHOTOS BY MIKE COPEMAN
ROAD TO THE CFR