Ed Melville- Final Night

Well, the 2008 Calgary Stampede has come to a close and it was quite a week.  It was a week full of ups and downs, but all in all, I have nothing to complain about.  For myself, it was the first time in quite a few years that I didn’t have a wagon in the final heat, which is what you hope for when they blow the horn on opening night.  The teams that I was a part of just couldn’t get there for a variety of reasons.  I was proud to say that I was riding in an era where Joe Carbury was the voice of the Stampede, and equally proud to be there for his last call.  It brought a tear to my eye when it finally hit home that Joe won’t be back.  I am still holding out hope that he changes his mind and makes a cameo or two next year.  I was lucky enough to outride for my grandfather Orville Strandquist in 1991 for his last race at Calgary after more than 50 years of racing at the Stampede, and last night felt similar to that.  It was the end of an era, a legend, icon, and hero retiring.  Good luck Joe, thanks for the memories my friend.  Congratulations to Sean Debolt for winning the Orville Strandquist Rookie Award, it felt great to ride for him and he also used my horse this week.  Also, congratulations to Jason Glass for winning the Richard Cosgrave Memorial Award and dedicating it to “Gram”, Iris Glass.  Gram may not be in the best of health right now, but you can bet she is proud beyond proud.  Huey Sinclair is quietly carving out a legendary career, to win the Stampede 4 times is amazing, and he has surpassed some of the greatest drivers in history.  Thank you, and God Bless.

Ed Melville- Night 9

Well the wait is over.  Congratulations to Jason Glass and his outriders Jim Nevada, Chad Cosgrave, Chance Vigen and Jason Lemieux for winning the Richard Cosgrave Memorial.  All of those guys are good friends of mine and it was well earned.  For the first time in quite a few years, I don’t have a wagon in the final heat.  We gave it a good shot with Neal Walgenbach last night, but we fell short.  Oh well, thats just they way it goes.  I am as excited as any fan would be to watch the final heat tonight, it will come down to a barrel draw I think.  All in all, its been a good week, the Stampede sure puts on a first class event and it is always good to be a part of it.  Can’t wait until tonight.

Half Mile Of Hell

Well today the day we have all been waiting for.  The one hundred thousand dash for cash.  This race has to be one of the most exciting moment in sports.  When the wagons are driving in and all you can hear is the chains in the harness and then the horn goes and it gets so loud you can hardly hear yourself think.  Then you get on the back stretch and it is so quiet and then you round the fourth and it keeps getting louder until the race is over.  Tonight I will be riding for Kirk Sutherland, it will be my fourth time in the dash, hopefully kirk can bring me my second Calgary championship.  Today is the longest day in the world waiting for the ninth heat tonight but lets hope it ends right.  Good luck to all four drivers.

Dustin Gorst 

Well its the last day for rodeo tomorrow! I hate to see it go by so fast but the Sunday finals are definitely the best. The big money is given away on stage and I am so excited to have the chance to compete at it. I doesn’t come along very often that we have the chance make a run at this kind of money and it is awesome.

My knee is feeling better every day, I had an MRI this mourning and got the results read at the rodeo by the sports medicine trainers and doctors on hand. I guess it is a lateral meniscus tear and bone bruise on the end of my femur. obviously that’s not 100 percent conclusive but they are pretty sure that is the gist of it. I have lost a lot of the swelling and gained a lot of flexibility over the past three days , which is great. I taped it today to get an idea of how its going to feel, and i am very confident in riding with it.

Like i said earlier I’m not looking forward to leaving tomorrow. We have enjoyed all the hospitality of this town and the rodeo committee. We have had a room over here at the Coast Plaza Hotel and they have been great. We tried all last week to get a room in town here and they were either so high or they didn’t have any availability, The Coast Plaza was great and the rooms were reasonable and very nice, if you need a place to stay i recommend them.  

I am already looking forward to next year and I hope to be back, until then its back to the grindstone of rodeo. Thanks for letting me be a part of it.

Ryan

Two Days Left, Naps Needed

It is hard to believe that we are already starting to wrap up this year’s Calgary Stampede. already this morning I sent seven horses home to farm. It is such a short tunrover time between here and Bonnyville, so the more rest the horses can get at home, the better.

Although the days have gone by fast, the gruelling demands and extra work that is involved with racing at Calgary has taken its tole on both the horses and the barn crew. The horses, are ready to be turned outside and have some time to themselves. The barn crew has taken full advantage of the Calgary party scene, as well as, working extra hard to keep the horses looking their best. This combination has called for a few extra long afternoon naps.  I have suggested on many occasions that maybe they should go to bed, instead of going out, but they don’t seem to be taking my advice. Oh well! That’s what Calgary is all about.

Chad Harden

 

Ed Melville- Night 8

Last night, Luke Tournier showed everyone why he is the defending champion by winning his first day money of the week.  Luke has been working a few new horses into the lineup and they are really coming along, but they took some time.  We got hit with that 10 second penalty on night 4 to kill our chances this week, but, to Luke’s credit, he fought back and never quit.  The same could be said for Buddy Bensmiller as well.  The weather was great and the track was perfect last night.  They hand out the truck tonight and see who gets to run for the roses tomorrow.  I have one outside chance to sneak in there, so we will just go for broke and let lady luck take over.  I can’t believe how fast this week has went, it always flies by here at Calgary.  Anyway, win, lose, or draw, it is always fun here at Calgary.  Talk at ya tomorrow.

What I Do When i Am Not Riding A Horse

The outriding career is going great and i will never complain about the money but outriding alone can not carry me all year.  So for a job i am a horse shoer, I shoe for four drivers around the barn.  Most of these drivers horses are done before the stampede even starts.  But this year i did alot of work for Norm C. and Brian L. just cleaning up for them because their horse shoer could not make it.  I some times can fix problem horses like two of Luke T. one had a broken coffin bone and we put a bar shoe on and it looks like he might make a full recovery and another has brittle back feet and i think i got him so the shoes will stay on.  A couple days ago I put a shoe on for the Cassidy’s and yesterday i helped Jill moody barn crew put in mud nails for extra grip.  For me to help them was very exciting i never thought my shoeing that that many big name cowboys and cowgirl would come looking for me to help them.  I like shoeing but a night of outriding is hell of a lot better than a day of shoeing.

Dustin Gorst   

Chet Johnson Saddle Bronc Day 4

Well today we woke up to a sunny Calgary after a night of pouring rain which led to a fairly muddy Stampede Park.  During the grand entry you could see that the mud was pretty deep when the Flag Girls and Rodeo Queens opened up the show riding around in the arena with their horses sinking down quite a ways.  But the grounds crew kept working it in-between events and by the time the bronc riding rolled around the bucking horses had some good ground to perform on.

Today also marked the end of pool B competition and decided which four cowboys would skip the wild card round tomorrow and have a bye into Sunday’s final round.  The guys from our pool will be Cody Wright, Cody Demoss, Rusty Allen, and myself.  I was blessed again by a great draw with Calgary’s Alabama Acre.  She’s an older brood mare that only gets bucked a few times a year so she was good and rested up when I climbed on her today.   She’s had a real nice day, and was quite a bit of fun to ride.  I was 84.5 and ended up 3rd for the day.  Rusty Allen won the round with and 85.5 followed by Jesse Bail scoring an even 85.  Now I have a day off to watch the Wild Card round and see which to bronc riders will advance to Sunday.  The broncs will be pretty rank tomorrow so there should be some high scores and probably a few of the guys will be hitting the dirt! 

Ed Melville- Night 6-7

The stampede is in the homestretch now and all in all it has been a good week.  Its tough to complain when you are at the Calgary Stampede, we get treated great.  My drivers have had some tough luck this week, and right now it is going to be tough to get any of them in the top four for a chance at the title.  This sport will humble you, when things are going right, you think its easy.  Last year we had a dream Stampede with Luke Tournier and I remember telling myself to enjoy the moment because it may not happen again this year.  So far it hasn’t.  We haven’t given up and you never know what might happen so we will just buckle down and hope for the best.  I have enjoyed some of the functions that the Stampede has us attend, sign a few autographs and meet some new friends.  The kids that come up, to me, that is what it is all about.  Who knows, maybe in a few years we will have some new recruits as outirders.  Also I went to the Tom Baker Cancer Clinic yesterday to see my good friend Dallas Dorchester.  I thought I knew what tough is, but they should stick his picture next to the word tough because he sure hasn’t lost his sense of humor after all he has been through.  He even told me that I never paid my golf debt when we played in Grand Prarie last summer, but I think he never paid me.  I told him we will have a re-match when he gets healed up.  I used to outride quite a bit for Dallas, and his son Quinn and me both started outriding the same year in 1991.  My heart is with Shirley and Dallas, Quinn, and Tyler right now and I would ask that we all say a prayer for everybody in there that is sick.  Reality sure hits home and our blessings sometimes need to be counted.  God Bless.

Running in the Mud

Running in the mud is not much fun.  It seems like ten times the work when the day is all done.  For a outrider it seems like it take a hour to get dressed for the mud.  Every outrider is different most of us where slush pants, some where cut off jeans and slush pants, and one guy puts a new pair of pants every race.  A couple guys just say forget it with all the work and ride like they normally do.  But everyone uses a lot more tape to seal off there boots or shoes so there feet stay dry.  During the races there is two garden hoses to wash some of the mud between races.  For muddy days I use a pair of goggles and safety glasses.  The goggles go over the glasses till i can not see no more, then I pull them down under my chin.  From there the safety glasses make it till the fourth corner and then you just take the dirt in the eyes.  But if I was a fan I would want to go watch on muddy days they are the most entertaining race days.

Dustin Gorst 

Ryan Gray

Hello Calgary, I have been looking forward to this rodeo since last year. I have to be honest this is literally the best rodeo that we go to all year long besides the national finals in December and I am not just saying that because I’m here, I’m saying it because it’s the truth. We have the opportunity to get on great horses and ride against great guys everyday, that’s what its all about. This is the busiest time of year for us right now and its nice to come here and relax for a week and have a chance to win a lot of money doing what we love to do. Not only do we get to compete and ride at the best rodeo but we also get to ride in front of the best fans of rodeo. It amazes me the different culture and backrounds that come to enjoy the Calgary Stampede.

Some of you might be wondering why i did not compete today. Yesterday while i was getting off on the pickup man I stepped in a hole or something and bent my knee backward in the wrong direction. I think i tore some miniscus tissue and stretched out a few things. I planned on riding today but it was pretty lose and sore today. I was not very confident in its stability. I’ll sit out tomorrow and be back either saturday or sunday. Untill then i will be in theropy and resting.

Thanks for letting me sare a little of my time, untill next time

God Bless, Ryan

Chet Johnson Saddle Bronc Day 3

Hey there!  Things cooled off in Calgary today, in fact you could say it was down right cold by the time the rodeo was over.  You couldn’t tell by looking at the stands though, the rodeo fans came out in force and made the performance exciting to ride in.  I ended up 5th today with an 80 point ride on Calgary’s Brownies Delight, a horse that I’ve had at Strathmore, and EllensburgWA.  He was real nice and I could of rode him better but I was still happy to place and get a check.  Cody Wright stole the show again with an 88.5 on Peter’s Classic Angel, the big black mare that has been outstanding the last few years. 

 Last night I did something new, I was a pick-up man for Jim Kelts at a bronc riding practice in Millarville just outside of Calgary.  I had a blast but the experience has made me realize just how much talent it takes to be a great pick-up man.   And the two pick-up men here, Gary and Wade Remple, are two of the greats in the rodeo world.  Next time you get a chance just pay close attention to them and it’s obvious that they are some of the handiest cowboy’s involved in the rodeo.  They are a huge reason the Calgary Stampede is one of the smoothest run shows in North America.  Well hopefully tomorrow brings more sunshine and another good draw to finish out the pool B competition.    

Day 2 and 3 of group b steerwrestling

Day 2 was a little better not for me but for jason miller. He won first with a 3.5 with sumpter right behind him winning second. Day 3 was the same Miller first and Sumpter second. Looks like Miller, Sumpter,and Clayton Moore are already in to sunday so the fourth spot will be a knife fight tomarrow. Its good that way makes for some exciting watching. Still haven’t bought dinner yet for the boys but thanks to Miller and Sumpter we are eating well….off to the Keg again. Looking forward to tomorrow!

Thanks,

Stockton Graves

Horse Power

The Rangeland Derby is a long ten days for everyone human and horses.  For the drivers and outriders it is all mental if you think you are tired you will perform like you are tired.  But for the horses they can not tell if they are tired we just have to read it.  By reading it I mean on how they act in the barn and in there stalls.  By day seven is when we find out how much horse power is in every one’s barn because everyone definitely has one nice outfit or they would not be here.  This is when we find out who has two or even three outfits.  If a driver only has one outfit that this is when they start to taper off but if they have more than one then this is when they start to get stronger.  All drivers have lots of horses, it just find the superstars between all of them is the challenging part of the business. 

Dustin Gorst

Chet Johnson Saddle Bronc Day 2

Well today in the Saddle Bronc riding there was another set of great bucking horses.  Stan Weatherly, Kelsers, and Flying 5 brought some of the best horses they own and it made for some great watching.  I drew a horse called Cash Machine of Weatherly’s and was 83.5, which landed me in the number two spot for the day.  I have never seen the horse but called a few guys who had been on him and they had pretty good news for me.  He used to be a saddle horse that turned into a bronc, and he ended up having a really good day for me.  He kept me busy but was alot of fun to ride.  I’ve really been blessed with the two broncs I’ve had and hope it continues the rest of the week.  Cody Wright continued with his winning ways on Spring Planting of Flying 5′s.  He was 86 points with another great ride. 

So far its been a fun week, bareback rider Jess Davis and I took in a few of the sites on the mid-way last night.  We wandered around for a couple of hours and still didn’t get to see everything, there sure is a lot going on around here.  Hopefully I’ll get another chance to head over and see a little more before the week is up.  Well untill next time I hope everyone has a great day!