By Marcia Love
It’s no wonder the Cowtown Pro Rodeo has been named Committee of the Year and Grounds of the Year for three years running.
The wild rodeo in the Old Cowtown did not disappoint at its 13th year as a pro rodeo. A new record for attendance was set on the first and final nights of the rodeo, which ran July 15-17. Thursday was a cold night with fewer people, but the die-hard rodeo fans didn’t let that hold them back.
Although the weather wasn’t as co-operative on Friday evening either, over 900 people packed the stands for the chilly final night of performances.
“We were just blown away by the amount of people because it wasn’t exactly as beautiful out,” laughed Christa Needham, a member of the Cowtown Pro Rodeo Committee.
Due to the lack of rain this year, the committee was vigilant in getting the grounds ready.
“We put just as many loads (of water) on the ground before the rodeo started as we usually do by the time we get to Friday night,” Needham said. “We put a lot of water on that ground to make the track right for all the events.”
While this makes the ground better for every event, barrel racing is where it really shows.
“They ran a 17.1 on a standard pattern, and most of the time if you run (17.3 seconds) you’ve run a fast time,” Needham stated. “They were phoning Donna Beierbach, who marks the pattern for us… and asking if the pattern was smaller for this year because they couldn’t believe they ran that fast on it.”
Despite the rain on Friday, cheques were cut to riders from all three days.
“That’s a sign that our ground was even better than it’s ever been before,” Needham said.
For the second year, the Cowtown Pro Rodeo had a sports medicine team at the grounds to work with athletes – a service not every pro rodeo offers, but one that’s much appreciated by the cowboys and cowgirls.
“It’s a huge thing to have at our rodeo, especially this far into our season because people are starting to get really sore by now,” explained Needham.
Miss Rodeo Maple Creek Kristina Resch completed her duties as rodeo queen this year. She was joined by Miss Rodeo Canada Katy Lucas for all three days, with both cowgirls carrying the flags during the grand entry, helping with stock during team roping and steer wrestling, and signing autographs for young, aspiring rodeo queens. Needham noted it was a treat to have Miss Rodeo Canada there all three days.
“She’s outstanding at her job,” she said of the cowgirl with deep roots in rodeo.
Ash Cooper brought his antics to the arena, providing entertainment between rides. The Senlac rodeo clown’s hijinks had youngsters and adults laughing in the grand stands. As Dale Montgomery’s sheep took up-and-coming competitors for a wild ride in the kids’ rodeo, young cowboys and cowgirls’ tears dissolved into grins as “Crash” picked them up and dusted them off with a few wise cracks.
The crowd was laughing and cheering Friday night as Cooper pitted Clay Moorhead and Derek Robertson against each other in a dizzy race. The men each put their forehead on a rake handle and spun around it before running down the arena and around a barrel. Robertson was victorious, throwing in a cartwheel as he crossed the finish line.
As team roping wrapped up on Friday with several headers and heelers having difficulty, Miss Rodeo Maple Creek and Miss Rodeo Canada displayed their girl power and showed the men how it’s done.
With Bar C5’s stock bucking hard, bull riders’ skills were put to the test. In the end, it was Zane Lambert of Westbourne, Man. who earned the buckle for his 84.5-point ride on Sugar Bear on Friday. Lonnie West of Cadogan, Alta. also placed well after riding Sugar Bear on Wednesday, earning second with 83 points, and Jake Wilson of Claresholm, Alta. came in third with his 72.5-point ride on Aces Magic on Wednesday.
Opening the bareback riding on the first day, Jake Vold of Airdrie, Alta.’s 84.5-point ride on Fabio was a tough act to follow, giving him the win. Colin Adams of Deloraine, Man. placed second with 83 points, and Ky Marshall of Bowden, Alta. was third with 82 points.
In saddle bronc riding, Jake Brown of Ponoka, Alta. was the champion after his 81.5-point ride on War Cry. Piapot’s Casey Bertram was second with 80.5 points, and Jim Berry of Rocky Mountain House, Alta. was third with 78.5 points.
Rene Leclercq of Holden, Alta. was the winner in ladies’ barrel racing with a time of 17.18 seconds on Wednesday night. She was followed closely by Julie Leggett of Kamloops, B.C. with a time of 17.26 seconds, and Katie Garthwaite of Merritt, B.C. with a time of 17.31 seconds.
Steer wrestling was won by Morgan Grant of Granton, Ont. with a time of 4.3 seconds. Derek Frank of Stony Plain, Alta. as well as Travis Reay of Maythorpe, Alta. were close on his heels to split second, each with a time of 4.4 seconds.
Logan Hofer of Magrath, Alta. and Murray Pole of Erskine, Alta. were both the champion tie-down ropers, with a time of 9.7 seconds each. Wyatt Hayes of Val Marie and Tyler Johnson of Didsbury, Alta. earned second, each with a time of 10 seconds.
In team roping, Clint Buhler of Okotoks, Alta. and Trent Tunke of Medicine Hat were the winners with a time of 4.8 seconds. Tyler and Jesse Popescul of Gentworth as well as Cole Bevans of Magrath, Alta. and Clint Brower of Stettler, Alta. were second with a time of 5.6 seconds.
Novice saddle bronc riding was won by Keenan Reinhardt of Calgary with 71.5 points. Ricky Warren of Hudson Hope, B.C. was second with 69 point, and Cody Lane of Lloydminster was third with 65.5 points.
Novice bareback riding was won by Wyatt Gleason of Sundre, Alta. with 68 points. Local cowboy Wyatt Maines was second with 63 points, and Buck Moen of Elrose was third with 53.5 points.
Junior steer riding was won by Owen Berreth of Airdrie, Alta. with his 81-point ride, followed by Keaton Martz of Forestburg, Alta. with 76 points, and Luke Ferber of Irricana, Alta. with 75 points.