The moment Tilden Hooper hit the ground in the final round of the Pendleton Round-up, he was all smiles. His ride on Zulu Warrior, a young Calgary Stampede horse, had earned him 87.5 points. More importantly, it had earned him top spot in the popular rodeo’s Average—the best competitor on two horses—which is a pretty big deal.
“I can’t even speak right now—it’s awesome,” Hooper said to the cameras in the arena.
Tilden Hooper on Zulu Warrior (Photo- Ben Lonergan, East Oregonian)
Hooper wasn’t the only cowboy to feel awesome after catching a ride on Zulu Warrior this summer. Clayton Bigelow rode for 90.5 and the win at the Washington State Fair Rodeo in Puyallup, while Tim O’Connell’s winning ride on Zulu Warrior came in Ellensburg, Washington. Clearly life on the road appeals to the powerful horse and he isn’t alone. It was a sensational summer for Calgary broncs on the North American rodeo circuit. Following our annual festival in July, a total of 10 championships were won with Stampede horses from Armstrong, BC to Canby, Oregon.
Each summer following the Calgary Stampede, a specially selected group of Stampede bucking horses hit the road. While it’s a quick trip from the Stampede Ranch to the Strathmore Stampede, it’s a different story when it comes to traveling to rodeos in Washington and Oregon. The drive requires extensive and careful planning, including pre-arranged overnight lodging, feed and veterinary paperwork for all of the horses as they cross the border. The team that travels with the horses knows each one well and ensures the high-performance athletes are receiving everything they need to succeed and thrive.
Zulu Warrior carries Tim O’Connell to the win in Ellensburg (Photo – Jacob Ford, Ellensburg Daily Record)
While Zulu Warrior was putting up huge rides this summer, several other Stampede horses were also turning heads. No ride was more head turning than Stetson Wright’s trip on Yesterday’s Delivery. The excitement of the finals of the Saddle Bronc at the Washington State Fair Rodeo increased dramatically when the young man and horse teamed up for 93.5 points. The ride—which you can watch here—won Wright the Championship and set a new arena record.
A Calgary Stampede bucking horse will only compete 10 – 12 times per year. While that may not sound like much, it’s important to have the opportunity to rest and recharge between rides. The entire team is now back home at the Stampede Ranch, enjoying some much deserved downtime. But it won’t be long before a handful will be back on the rodeo trail.
Invitations to the Canadian Finals Rodeo are expected soon, and it’s anticipated a strong contingent of Calgary Stampede horses will be selected to compete. Following that, it’s off to the bright lights and excitement of Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo. Like the CFR, we’re waiting anxiously to see which Calgary horses will get the nod to participate at the NFR, one of the most prestigious rodeos in the world. Will Zulu Warrior or Yesterday’s Delivery get the invite? We’ll keep you posted!
In the meantime, if you looking for some 2020 Calgary Stampede Rodeo action, we have good news! Tickets for the 2020 Calgary Stampede Rodeo and Evening Show are on sale now. Save your spot to see these amazing animal athletes in action. For more information on 2020 tickets, please visit calgarystampede.com/tickets.