The Calgary Stampede has been a part of the Ellensburg Rodeo for the past 30 years, bringing our world-class bucking horses to their rodeo and developing partnerships that have deepened into friendships.
We were humbled to receive not one, but three Calgary Stampede-related inductions into the Ellensburg Hall of Fame this year.
Gary Rempel, the Stampede’s long-time arena pick-up man, got the nod with a well-deserved hall of fame induction for three decades of outstanding work saving cowboys and keeping the shows running smoothly and safely.
The second went to our all-time greatest star, Grated Coconut. A six-time world champion and six-time Canadian champion, Grated Coconut is revered within the rodeo world as the most successful bareback horse ever – the Great One of the rodeo. He is legendary for being a smart, strong, athletic horse who was always a challenge to ride, bucked hard and carried cowboys to the cash window almost every time out of the chutes.
Grated Coconut is now retired and enjoying his job as our top stud at the Calgary Stampede Ranch. As fierce as he is in the arena, he’s a big powder puff in the pens and pastures, and will follow you around like a puppy wanting to be petted.
And last, but certainly not least, the Stampede Ranch and their Born to Buck breeding program. This induction represents five decades of horse breeding and training programs at the Stampede Ranch. Each year, careful decisions are made on the best pairings to match up the best traits from the mare and stallion. We look for size, strength, agility, athleticism, a great competitive spirit and strong bucking patterns.
Mares like the legendary Coconut Roll and her mother, Rolly Polly, Flavoured Cherry and Zippy Delivery were world and Canadian champions and qualifiers of years past. Past champion stallion Wild Strawberry injected a lot of wild blood into the mix when he was the Stampede Ranch’s top stud in the 1980s and 1990s. Their names and star qualities live on in the Stampede’s current stars of the rodeo circuit.
My hat is off to all those involved in 50 years of the Stampede Ranch’s Born to Buck program, to the greatest of our stars, Grated Coconut, and to our long-time pick-up man Gary Rempel.