Another rodeo season has come to an end for the Calgary Stampede stock. If this were hockey, we would say the team is heading into the post-season with only the major championships left to go. For the horses and bulls of the Calgary Stampede rodeo string, this past couple of months has been a road swing with multiple wins.
In the months of August and September the rodeo team packs up and heads out on a road trip taking them all across the Pacific Northwest. The first stop is the Farm City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston, OR. It’s a fun rodeo full of country charm with the surrounding community being one of the largest farming communities in the entire USA. The rodeo is under the lights every night and the animals seem to like that with Stampede stock carrying both the saddle bronc and bareback riders to a victory.
From there they loaded up and headed west to Canby, OR, for the Clackamas County Fair. The event celebrated 110 years this year and the Stampede is always happy to be a part of this amazing rodeo. The horses showed up to celebrate as well, taking Justin Miller to the pay window in first place in the Bareback riding.
After a short stay in Canby, our livestock coordinator Ken ‘Goose’ Rehill shifted the team up the coast to Bremerton, WA where the views of the ocean and Seattle are spectacular. The rodeo was also pretty amazing, with reigning Calgary Stampede Saddle Bronc Champion Zeke Thurston claiming victory thanks to his ride on the Stampede’s Umber Bubbles.
These road trips may seem long, but you can be rest assured the horses get plenty of down time and green grass to lounge around on while they are travelling. Goose has coordinated a very specific schedule which entails many days of rest and plenty of food for the horses. Most of the horses may only work a few days while they are away so this is more like a travelling holiday for most of our four legged stars.
As Goose loaded up his team of equine champions to hit the road for Ellensberg, WA, Calgary Stampede Ranch manager Tyler Kraft and his Canadian crew headed west to Armstrong, BC for one of our favorite stops of the year. The Interior Provincial Exhibition is the largest rodeo in British Columbia and one of the most electric events you will ever see. The 8 p.m. start each night along with the rock concert atmosphere seems to get our team going and they come to compete. Once again, Stampede horses won the bareback and saddle bronc events and this time the bulls even chipped in for a win in the Bull Riding event.
From Armstrong, some of the bulls headed south of the 49th to add to the team already competing in Ellensburg, WA. Ellensburg Rodeo is steeped in tradition and history and if you want to see a rodeo that depicts the western way of life and our western heritage this is one to put in your calendars. Our horses carried both the first round and championship round winners to the pay window in Ellensburg, adding to the winning streak of 5 for 5 on the road swing for our horses.
It was back to the coast from Ellensburg and into a heated competition at the Justin Boots Playoffs in Puyallup, WA. Puyallup is a sleepy little town just south of Seattle and one of the nicest places you could ever visit. But the town comes alive for the Washington State Fair and the rodeo action is second to none. The best cowboys from all across North America have to qualify to compete at this limited entry rodeo, so the stakes are high and the cowboys come to win. The cowboys once again took home a first place on the backs of Stampede stock in all three of the rough stock events.
By this point the Professional Rodeo Circuit is coming into its final few weekends and every dollar is needed to secure one of the 15 spots at the National Finals Rodeo. With the three wins in Puyallup, our four legged competitors helped the cowboys win over $30,000 in championship points towards the National and Canadian Finals rodeos and that does not include the money won beyond first place at each rodeo.
The last stop on the way home was in Pendleton, OR, for the world famous Round-Up. This is a cowboy’s rodeo and the bucking horse is king of the arena. Our team is always proud to be a part of this one-of-a-kind event. A special shout-out needs to go to our horse Shadow Warrior for being named top Bareback Horse of the Pendleton Round-Up. Another trophy halter will soon be hanging in our rodeo office!
With the road trip ending in Pendleton, our stock is now on its way home and ready for a well-deserved rest before the post-season begins. This is always an exciting time of the year as we wait to find out which of our animals will be voted to compete at the championships of our sport, the Canadian Finals Rodeo and the National Finals Rodeo.
When the animals are selected it is not just a huge pat on the back for all of the hard work that goes into the stock contracting business, but also because these animals feel more like part of the family and it’s an honour and proud moment when they make the list to go to Las Vegas or Edmonton. Until we hear, Tyler Kraft and his team will be busy preparing for the winter to come as the animals enjoy some R ‘n R after carrying cowboys to 13 championships in the past two months. A list of the winners from each rodeo is included below.
Bareback- Jake Vold, 87 points on Calgary Stampede’s Xplosive Skies, $5,732
Saddle Bronc- Sterling Crawley, on Calgary Stampede’s Weary Joke $4,758 each
Bareback- Justin Miller, 86 points on Calgary Stampede’s Shadow Warrior, $2,851
Saddle Bronc – Zeke Thurston, 87.5 points on Calgary Stampede’s Umber Bubbles, $1,997
Bareback- Orin Larsen, 85.5 points on Calgary Stampede’s You See Me, $3,892
Saddle Bronc- Jim Berry, 84.5 points on Calgary Stampede’s Wiggle Lizzard, $3,486
Bull Riding- Tim Lipsett, 88 points on Calgary Stampede’s Uptown Funk, $3,587
Bareback- Shane O’Connell, 83.5 points on Calgary Stampede’s Xavier Joan, $3,480
Bareback- Teddy Athan, 87 points on Calgary Stampede’s Xplosive Skies, $1,650
Bareback- Jake Vold, on Calgary Stampede’s Soap Bubbles , 87.5 points, $2,112
Bareback- Jessy Davis, 86 points on Calgary Stampede’s Saturn Rocket, $1,650
Saddle Bronc- Cody DeMoss, 85 points on Calgary Stampede’s Weekend Departure, $2,400
Bull Riding- Jordan Spears, 86.5 points on Calgary Stampede’s Creepin, $2,400