When you move into a new home, it always takes a little time to settle in. With the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) moving from Edmonton to Red Deer for the first time this November, fans, athletes and organizers experienced the 45 year old event in a whole new way.  But it didn’t take long for everyone involved to get comfortable in the ENMAX Centrium, with an electric atmosphere and energized crowd.

“I’m excited to be here. It’s pretty cool it’s in Red Deer,” three-time Canadian champion Jake Vold said after the first performance, adding he was just excited to qualify to compete for another chance at a championship. “When you nod your head, it doesn’t matter where it’s at, you’re trying to win first; that’s kind of how I treat it. But it is a bit different, it’s a neat experience. I hope to watch it grow.”

If you were in the audience, you likely heard the Calgary Stampede name mentioned a time or two (or three, or more!) and we were excited to be a part of this historic event. Many of our best bucking horses and bulls were invited to compete and put up some outstanding performances. Two special athletes were recognized on the third evening of competition. Stampede Warrior was honoured after being chosen the top Saddle Bronc Horse in Canada for 2018. The 12-year-old horse is a daughter of six time World Champion, Grated Coconut. Six year old Stampede bucking bull Night Moves was voted 2018 Bull of the Year.

Photo Courtesy CPRA – Will Osler, Mason Helmeczi and Miss Rodeo Canada 2018, Britteny Chomistek

The Calgary Stampede also proudly supports the Novice Championship as one of our many initiatives for youth in our community. As Director Liasion for the Calgary Stampede Rodeo committee, Will Osler was among those from the Stampede on hand for the final performance to help hand out the hardware to the champions. We would like to congratulate Mason Helmeczi in Bareback riding, Cooper Thatcher in Saddle Bronc, as well as Tristen Manning, the Steer Riding Champion!

Reckless Margie, Stampede Warrior and Tootsie Roll relax in their Las Vegas home-away-from-home in 2017

With the Canadian Finals wrapped up, it’s on the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas for a handful of Canadian competitors and a truckload of Calgary Stampede bucking horses. The Stampede has the most horses of any Canadian stock contractor chosen to compete, with a total of 15 athletes heading south. Seven of them will compete in Saddlebronc, eight in Bareback.  You will see some very familiar names on the list, as a number of veterans such as Special Delivery and Tiger Warrior will again make the trip. But a number of our younger next generation of horses are also being recognized.  With names like Yesterday’s Delivery, Zulu Warrior and Zig Zag Cherry, you know they have bucking in their blood and will make the Calgary Stampede proud in Las Vegas.

Louise Sprague and Brad Lorne volunteer at the Calgary Stampede booth in 2017 along Rodeo Way at Cowboy Christmas

As part of the NFR experience, the Calgary Stampede will be celebrating rodeo among our industry partners and friends at Cowboy Christmas in the Las Vegas Convention Center. Rodeo Way is designed to look like an old Western town, and the Stampede red and white will once again welcome rodeo fans to a special booth hosted by CS volunteers and employees eager to share details about the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth. Nearby is the Calgary Stampede sponsored Great Wall of Rodeo, featuring all of the extremely talented NFR contestants. If you’re in Las Vegas December 6-15, don’t be shy – stop by and say hi!