About Keith Marrington, director of Rodeo and Chuckwagons

Director, Rodeo and Chuckwagon

Trail dust and accolades at fall rodeos

The Calgary Stampede’s roughstock are enjoying the fall colours back at 22,000 acre Stampede Ranch, enjoying well-earned downtime after another successful rodeo road trip along the west coast.

The Stampede’s bucking bulls performed well at an Extreme Bull Riding event in Ellensburg, Washington a few weeks back. When the dust settled on the night, it was Calgary Stampede Bulls – 7, Cowboys – 0. A few days later during the Ellensburg Pro Rodeo short round finals, a couple of Stampede bulls again took centre stage, especially Low Life, the well-respected bull that carried Parker Breding to a second-place finish with a ride that scored at 85 points.

Low Life stepped it up again at the Washington State Fair in Puyallup, winning the championship title ride for Texas cowboy Cody Teel with a score of 83 points.

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(Low Life, pictured above, performing during the 2014 Calgary Stampede)

Not to be outdone by their bovine travelling mates, the Stampede’s Born to Buck horses picked up the pace in their performances. Star horse Special Delivery teamed up with reigning Calgary Stampede bareback champion Kaycee Field of Utah to buck out an 87-point ride for the title. The spirited stallion and son of legendary Grated Coconut has enjoyed a stellar year (see past rodeo blog posts) and continues a strong run that’s expected to take him right to the top of the CFR and NFR.

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(Special Delivery, pictured above during the Calgary Stampede 2014)

For the first time, the Calgary Stampede was the prime stock contractor for this year’s Pendleton RoundUp in Oregon. The stock didn’t disappoint, with a number of great performances, including newcomer mare Unfortunate Carma winning the halter for the Best Bareback Horse of the rodeo. Her fellow travel-mates made tracks as well in the saddle bronc event, with Lynx Mountain kicking out an 86-point ride with Tyrell Smith, Stampede Warrior scoring 87 with Cole Ellsere and even Timely Delivery surprising the crowd by besting cowboy Cody DeMoss in a rare buck-off for the top bronc rider. Bull rider Rosco Jarboe got into the money aboard Stampede bull Classic Kit for an 85-point ride in the bull riding event finals.

With a successful tour behind them, the Stampede stock retraced their steps back from the coast to their home on the open ranges near Hanna, Alberta. They’re hanging out there for weeks, enjoying the open pastures and the company of the full 600-head herd.

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Soon, the select stars will gear up for the big performances of the year, at both the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton in mid-November and to Las Vegas sunshine in December for the National Finals Rodeo. At both events, they’ll give the continents best cowboys a ride for their money as the cowboys battle for championship titles, prize money, and the chance to quality for the Calgary Stampede in 2015.

Stay tuned for word on which horses to watch for when the final stock choices are made, later this fall.

Stampede horse shatters arena record in Houston

The Calgary Stampede’s star horses are stamping out their brand all over Texas this season, and none more so than Stampede Warrior. After a string of championship-winning rides already, Stampede Warrior set a new arena record of an astounding 94 points at Rodeo Houston this past Saturday.

Paired with veteran saddle bronc rider Cody DeMoss of Louisiana, Stampede Warrior kicked out a fierce and powerful performance with her signature change-up moves. This sharp mare knows how to put on a show, and her kicks and performances grow stronger and stronger with each time out of the chutes since swapping from the bareback to the saddle bronc event this season. DeMoss was up to the challenge, meeting her moves with expert form. Together, the pairing scored an unbelievable 94 points, shattering the previous Houston arena record believed to be 91. Click HERE to view this historic ride on the Rodeo Houston website.

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(Above) Stampede Warrior and Cody DeMoss shatter the arena record at Rodeo Houston this past weekend. Photo courtesy Rodeo Houston.

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Stampede brings the Big Bucks to inaugural All-American

When it comes to big bucks in rodeo, a $1.1 million payday to a single cowboy is pretty much as big as it gets. When it comes to big bucks from the rough-stock, Calgary Stampede’s horses, particularly its mares, brought a lot of exciting horsepower to the party.

March 2 was an exciting day for the pro rodeo world with the launch of the inaugural All-American Rodeo, a unique event that drew 60,000 people to the football stadium in Arlington, Texas for a one-day showdown rodeo. The Calgary Stampede was invited to bring its best bucking horses, with 14 horses giving strong performances to help cowboys earn a lot of cash.

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(Above) Stampede Warrior makes headlines carrying Wade Sundell to the saddle bronc championship at the inaugural All-American Rodeo in Texas.

Cowboys vying for $100,000 purses in each event were invited by either being the top 10 in the world, or through lead-up qualifying events. The cowboys who got there the hard way were eligible for a $1 million bonus should they defy the odds to win.

And that’s just what bareback rider Richard Champion did, with the help of Stampede horse T-17 Twin Cherry. Richie drew Twin Cherry in the opening round, and this powerful young Calgary mare gave him a ride to the money round, scoring a strong 85 to get him to the final four shoot-out round. One more strong ride won the day, and Richie left Arlington with $1.1 million more green in his jeans.

Another $100,000 was won on the backs of a pair of Stampede mares in the saddle bronc event. One of the world’s top cowboys, Wade Sundell, drew Stampede’s Lynx Mountain in the long round, topping the round with a 90-point ride to earn his way in to the final four shoot-out round. There, he drew Stampede Warrior, another Stampede mare who just swapped from bareback event into the saddle bronc pen a few weeks ago. The pairing topped the board with an outstanding 92-point ride to win Wade the $100,000 purse.

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(Above) Stampede Warrior and Wade Sundell score a 92-point ride to win the saddle bronc championship at the All-American.

Another Stampede rising star launched her name into fame in the saddle bronc event. Texas Cherry was selected as one of four horses to compete in the final round alongside Stampede Warrior, a huge nod of confidence given the calibre of rough stock from across North America at the event. Two jumps and one of the world’s top cowboys hit the dirt, making 60,000 folks in the stands sit up and take note that this young buck is one to watch. Texas Cherry carries high expectations in the rodeo world to begin with, as the daughter of Flavoured Cherry and Grated Coconut, two legendary bucking horses that are now retired into its Born to Buck breeding program on Stampede Ranch by Hanna, Alberta. She will be one to watch as the 2014 season unfolds.

Looking forward to more great performances from Stampede’s champion horses as they shift their focus to Houston later this month.

 

 

Texas-sized Stampede stars dominate in San Antonio

After 14 nights of exciting rodeo action at the San Antonio Pro Rodeo, only 20 bareback and saddle bronc cowboys and roughstock horses qualified for the final championship round for Saturday, Feb 22. Of those 20 horses, 11 were selected from the Calgary Stampede’s herd, an outstanding feat considering how many stock contractors showcased their best stock during the two-week rodeo.

Of the Stampede stars, none shone so brightly as champion stallion S-83 Special Delivery, who was voted the Bareback Horse of the San Antonio Rodeo, adding to his already impressive list of championships.The son of the most decorated bareback horse of all time, Grated Coconut,  and many-time CFR and NFR qualifier mare Zippy Delivery, Special Delivery has already been named the Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year in 2012 and the Calgary Stampede Bareback Horse of the Year in 2013. His performance in San Antonio continues to build his own legend, outlined in this 2013 feature video.

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(Above) Special Delivery delivered a championship-winning 88-point ride for Steven Peebles in the bareback event at San Antonio

Special Delivery paired up with Oregon cowboy Steven Peebles, who arrived at the championship round in first place but needed  a strong ride to secure that. Stampede Delivery more than delivered the goods, offering a challenging powerful ride with his signature switch-up moves. Steven stuck it out, scoring 88 points to secure his championship.

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(Above) Lynx Mountain carries Jacobs Crawley to an 88-point ride in saddle bronc championship event at San Antonio

Not to overshadowed by her Stampede teammate, L-40 Lynx Mountain scored her own 88-point ride in the saddle bronc championship event in a pairing with Texas cowboy Jacobs Crawley. The powerful mare thrilled the crowd with her signature move, rearing up just as the chutes opened to give Jacobs a run for his money. This 13-year-old mare was named Canadian Saddle Bronc Horse of the Year in 2009 and is a favorite of cowboys because of her consistently powerful performances and docile nature before the chutes open.  See her in action in this 2013 feature video.

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(Above) Lynx Mountain thrills the crowd with her signature move, rearing up to explode out of the chutes in San Antonio.

Close behind in the Saddle Bronc championship round was Stampede’s newest switch-hitter, S-66 Stampede Warrior, who scored 87 points with Troy Crowser of South Dakota. Half-sister of Special Delivery, this emerging star mare and progeny of Grated Coconut has earned accolades in the bareback event for the past few years, including getting the nod for both the CFR and NFR in 2013. Stampede Warrior switched into the saddle bronc event where her strength, wily moves and competitive nature are proving just as high-scoring, opening up new avenues for this talented switch-hitter to shine. Check out her bareback reputation in this feature video.

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(Above) Former bareback  star Stampede Warrior shows her versatility, carrying Troy Crowser to an 87-point saddle bronc ride in San Antonio’s championship round.

After dominating the San Antonio Pro Rodeo’s championship roughstock events,  Calgary Stampede bucking horses are now shifting to new pastures and new challenges in San Angelo, Houston and Dallas over the coming weeks. Stay tuned for more great news soon of Stampede stars stamping their brand on more Texas rodeos.

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 (Above) Stampede star roughstock relaxing in the pastures during their two-month-long snowbird stay in Texas for a series of pro rodeos.

 

 

 

New year, new arena record for Stampede’s Princess Warrior

Nothing like starting the new year off with a big bang. Even better when it is THREE big bangs.

With 2014 only 11 days old, Stampede Ranch’s bareback bucking horse, Princess Warrior set her mark in rodeo history with a record-breaking 92-point ride in Denver on Saturday night. The ride happened during the finals of the Colorado versus The World, a unique rodeo showdown format that pits cowboys representing top rodeos like the Calgary Stampede against cowboys representing top rodeos within Colorado.

The 11-year-old mare put on a great performance and tough ride for 20-year-old Richie Champion, a Texan. Richie had two other great rides on Stampede horses to advance into the playoff rounds. Richie paired up with R20 Risque Elsie to score a great 88-point ride, then scored another 88 points on S3 Simply Marvellous, and finally won the championship round on Stampede Princess.

“I was a little behind at the beginning of the ride, but when I caught up with her (Stampede Princess), it felt awesome,” Richie commented to officials later. “That’s the highest score I’ve ever gotten.” Not only his highest score – the highest score ever awarded in Denver.

High scores are nothing new to Princess Warrior. In her seven years on the pro rodeo circuit, she has been a Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier four times and to the National Finals Rodeo twice. She is living up to her top-notch bucking stock lineage as the daughter of F-51 Fearless Warrior, who qualified many times for the CFR and NFR, and sired by six-time world champion stallion Grated Coconut.

Three horses, three great scores. One arena record.

Pretty great way to start 2014 for Stampede Ranch horses flying the flag south of the border. Looking forward to even more titles and great performances from the 48 snowbird horses who will spending the next two months on the Texas circuit.

Canadian Rodeo Finals wrap-up

If they could hang on long enough, it was a good bet that cowboys on Stampede rough stock would end up in the money at the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR).

The Stampede Ranch trucked 31 horses and seven bulls – it’s AA Team – to the CFR in Edmonton, November 6-10, eager to match up the best of our best with the top cowboys in Canada for championship titles.

As the cowboys racked up money towards championships tallies, it was often Stampede stock carrying them to the pay window. Of the 53 bucking performances by Stampede stock, 32 of those were solid qualified rides. A full 75 per cent of those rides – 24 rides in total – Stampede horses and bulls carried the cowboys to a top-five finish to hit the pay window. In total, almost $142,000 was won by cowboys riding Stampede bucking stock, and the Stampede Ranch was presented with six nightly go-round buckles for five horses and one bull.

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The statistics paint a great overall picture of the strength, consistency and high quality of each of the Stampede’s qualified CFR stock. Beyond the stats, each ride had its own story to tell. Here are a few highlight tales:

Bracken, Saskatchewan, cowboy Rylan Geiger is the new 2013 Canadian Saddle Bronc Champion, earned mostly on the back of Stampede horses. The Saskatchewan cowboy scored two consecutive first-placed go-round finishes – aboard stallion T-38 Timely Delivery on the Friday night with 88 points, and again the following day with an 85.25-point ride on K-52 Knife Money.

Knife Money’s sister, M-2 Mad Money and fellow Stampede mare R-19 Roll Over both earned go-round wins for New Mexico cowboy Taos Muncy. Roll Over scored 83.75 with Muncy in the second day of competition, while Mad Money earned him a tie for first place on the final Sunday go-round.

Bareback star Jake Vold from Ponoka had been out of commission since an injury at the Calgary Stampede in July, yet climbed aboard Stampede’s M-75 Muffled  Cries on opening night for an amazing performance that scored 87.25 points. It was a ride to remember, and the top-scoring ride in all events for the night.

The Calgary Stampede is proud of the incredible performances of our 37 horses and bulls. We congratulate all of the cowboy competitors and stock contractors and especially our new 2013 CFR Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Champions. Looking forward to more great rides together in 2014!

Stampede Star Horses bring the buck to CFR

The Calgary Stampede Ranch is bringing the buck to Canadian Finals Rodeo’s 40th anniversary edition at Northlands in Edmonton this week. A total of three dozen of the Stampede’s bucking stock stars are making the trip to Edmonton to give Canada’s top cowboys a ride for their Canadian championships money.

Half of a cowboy’s points in the rough-stock events are based on how strong the horse or bull bucks and how difficult they make it for the cowboy to hang on for the full eight seconds. Stampede bucking horses and bulls are renowned  for being the best of the best for rodeo stock, with a long string of Canadian Championship and World Championship titles awarded to the Stampede Ranch over its 50-year history. Be sure to cheer on the Stampede bucking horses and bulls as they buck for points in a bid to add more championships titles to our record. The Canadian Finals Rodeo runs November 6-10 at Rexall Place in Edmonton.

To share more about our horses, the Stampede caught up with some of the world’s top cowboys earlier this fall, and had them describe what makes some of our top horses so unique and hard to ride. Check out these videos profiling a number of our top Stampede Star horses.

More about the horses in the videos above:

Stampede Warrior has a legitimate shot at being named the World Bareback Champion Horse for 2013. She is having a stellar year in 2013, including bucking Caleb Bennett to a 92-point ride to win the Calgary Stampede, and Jake Vold scored a 92 on Stampede Warrior to win the Ponoka Stampede just two weeks earlier. She is known for her great disposition and being quiet in the chutes, just waiting for her chance to explode into action the moment the chute gates open. She bucks consistently hard and cowboys know they can win money consistently. Stampede Warrior is looking to notch up more great performances this fall through B.C., Oregon and Washington in a bid to secure herself a trip to the NFR.

Twin Cherry exploded onto the pro rodeo circuit as a novice, including being chosen for the CFR last year at the young age of five years old. Now tearing up the circuit as a talented six-year-old with a bright future, Twin Cherry was named the Bareback Horse of the Stampede for her outstanding performance scores in her two trips to the arena. She started out the year as one of only three horses picked to go to the final shoot-out round at the Denver Rodeo in January of 2013. Cowboys approach Twin Cherry with extra respect, as her manners in the chutes have earned her a reputation as a smart, spirited and unpredictable mare, following in her spirited mother’s footsteps.

Calgary Stampede bucking stock on the road

The late, hazy days of summer are anything but lazy for the Calgary Stampede Ranch bucking stock and ranch staff. During a six-week period from the beginning of August to early September, the Stampede horses compete on the northwest rodeo run through Washington, Oregon and British Columbia.

The Calgary Stampede hits the road in the first few days of August with 48 horses and a handful of bulls for these late-season rodeos. Touring with so many animals enables the Stampede Ranch to provide enough stock for rodeo while scheduling plenty of rest days in pastures for each animal between competitions.

Top bucking stock is a big draw for the cowboys –  half of a cowboy’s score comes from how well the horse or bull performs.

Hermiston, Oregon

The first NW stop in Hermiston, Oregon, was a tremendous success for Stampede horses, which carried cowboys to the top spot in both bareback and saddle bronc events. Clint Lay scored an 86 mark to win the bareback event aboard T-5 Till I C U. Brad Harter rode L-40 Lynx Mountain to an 88 to win saddle bronc.

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Calgary Stampede inducted into the Ellensburg Rodeo Hall of Fame

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.

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photo courtesy of Barbara Landis

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The rodeo legend known as “Ma”

For years, the name Coconut Roll brought respect, excitement and a touch of fear into the hearts bareback cowboys across North America. Her motherly reassuring presence at the Stampede Ranch warmed the hearts of the younger horses and earned her the nickname “Ma” and the close affection of all our ranch hands. Earlier this week, we mourned the passing of this legendary bucking mare when she died of due to a chronic illness at the age of 20 years old.

Her final resting place? A spot of honour at the Calgary Stampede Ranch, where she was born and raised.

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She was a special, special mare. She had an incredible athletic ability in the arena, and you could just see her competitive spirit and natural pride each time she competed. Each time the cowboys drew her name, they’d get excited because they knew she was going to give them a tough ride but if they could hold on until the horn, they’d have a great shot at being on top of the board.

Coconut Roll was the pride of the Stampede Ranch for many years. She bucked her way to the Canadian Finals Rodeo on 11 occasions and to National Finals Rodeo a total of 10  times. She came by her talents naturally. The genesis of her “Roll” name was her mother Rolly Polly, and her father was famous bucking horse Wild Strawberry – themselves both selected many times for the U.S. and Canadian Finals. For those cowboys who hung on, she carried them to the pay window 114 times. A total of $550,000 has been earned the hard way from a ride around the arena aboard this bareback athlete. Many Stampede rodeo fans will remember the 2006 showdown when Davey Shields Jr rode Coconut Roll for an exceptional score of 91.5 to win the $100,000 jackpot.

Outside of the arena, she was an important part of the natural herd at the Stampede Ranch. She was a key mare in our Born to Buck program and is perhaps best known as the natural mother of the Stampede’s top champions bucking horses – Grated Coconut and Kauai Coconut. She was a really great mother hen to not only her own foals, but all the younger horses in the herd – such as wonderful, matronly presence among them.

Born in 1997, her foal Grated Coconut went on be the most successful bareback horse in the history of the sport – earning a world championship title for a record six times. Grated Coconut is now retired and siring the next generation of rising bucking stars. In 2000, Coconut Roll gave birth to Kauai Coconut, a Stampede Ranch bucking star who is currently tossing cowboys in the dirt and appeared at this year’s Stampede rodeo.

Coconut Roll was retired after the 2010 Canadian Finals Rodeo, and returned to the 22,000 acre Stampede Ranch to roam full-time with the herds she was raised with and that she herself raised. She has continued to be part of the breeding program through recipient mares.

A couple of years ago, she developed Cushing’s Disease – an overactive adrenal gland – and was being treated by Stampede veterinarians. Her health and quality of life declined rapidly in recent weeks, and she was humanely euthanized on Wednesday, July 10 at the age of 20.

This legendary bareback star and mother has more than earned her place of honour, buried at the entry gates to the Stampede Ranch with her own tombstone, alongside the Stampede’s other much-loved and celebrated bucking legends. She is celebrated in the rodeo community as “Coconut Roll”, but to our ranch hands, she’ll also be fondly remembered as “Ma”.

Wild Cherry

Wild Cherry. His name says it all.

He’s a truly wild ride, but the payoff if sweet if you can hold on.

Young Lane Watt, a novice saddle bronc rider from Hardisty Alberta, tested out the wild side at Saturday afternoon’s rodeo. As soon as the chutes opened, Wild Cherry bucked so high he was almost vertical, kicking the safety pads covers clear off of a 6’6” steel chute.

Three jumps and it was a no-contest. Wild Cherry easily dumped Lane in the dirt. Check out his dad’s reaction, seen in the blue shirt to his left.

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Stay tuned for future updates on this amazing young talented colt.

For a bit more detail on his lineage, his mother is F-16 Flavoured Cherry and his dad is six-time world champion G-65 Grated Coconut. Wild Cherry was born to a recipient mare while Flavoured Cherry was still on top of her game, making several trips to the Canadian Finals Rodeo and the Calgary Stampede. She’s now retired from performing and in her second career raising new stars for the Stampede, like Wild Cherry.

Rodeo Magic – dreams do come true

Picture this – Ponoka. July 1. Ponoka Stampede short round final four.

The magic of the night was Jake Vold, the hometown hero… Lined up in the Bareback event…. Last guy to go in the finals… The sun was setting on a beautiful hot night, the stands were full, not a seat to be found.

Jake is riding the Calgary Stampede’s S-66, Stampede Warrior. Her bloodlines run deep, with past champion blood of NFR, CFR champion mother F-51 Fearless Warrior and six-time world champion father, G-65 Grated Coconut.

The chutes open and Stampede Warrior fired out and did what she was bred to do – bucked hard and high. Jake, one of Canada’s top bareback riders, was up to the challenge. He marked a 92-point ride, decisively winning the Ponoka Stampede and scoring one of the best rides of the seasons so far in Canadian pro rodeo.

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The crowd went wild. The horn sounded and Jake slipped to the ground with the help of the pickup men. Stampede Warrior pranced around the arena with the air of pride and satisfaction in every stride.

Ironically enough, this was the dream night that Jake had already described on our website.

In Jake Vold’s biography for his upcoming Stampede appearance, he listed Stampede Warrior as his dream draw, with the Ponoka Stampede as his favorite event, since it’s his hometown.

His biography reads – “Jake is a three-time CFR qualifier and was the 2011 Reserve Canadian Bareback Champion. His favourite draw would have to be the Calgary Stampede’s own ‘Stampede Warrior’ and his favorite rodeo is his home town, Ponoka Stampede. Jake’s hobbies are training colts, hunting and fishing.”

What a perfect kick-off to the summer to see these two great athletes perform to their best. We’re looking forward to seeing great things from both Jake and Stampede Warrior at this year’s Calgary Stampede.

How to move 176 million pounds in a week

Looking over our site on Friday night, June 21, first day of summer. What were we feeling at that moment? Overwhelmed. A sense of crisis and doom. A lot of “holy crap”! And then an overwhelming sense of our community rallying behind us.

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As the water receded as we started to assess the damages. My focus was the infield and the track. The track had been badly compromised. To paint the picture, the river breached the southwest corner and diverted its strongest flow northeast right through the centre of our infield, breaching the track on the northeast corner. What was left was devastating.

There were five-foot deep holes on track where the water had breached. It was not repairable. So we had to rebuild it. That meant hiring contractors with the capabilities, the manpower, the equipment and the know-how to get the job done. As it happens, we had just finished doing this same job of building the track from the ground up, in May of this year. That’s because we shortened the track by 160 feet in order to accommodate access to the new Agrium Western Events Centre under construction. So as to not compromise the consistency of the race surface, we had decided to redo the entire track surface. That meant digging down three feet, 70 feet wide, 5/8 of a mile long.

That translates into 88 million pounds of dirt. The first time around, it took Bluebird three weeks to do it, regular shifts. So here we were, needing to strip it all off again and replace it again.

That means moving more than 88 million pounds of dirt OUT, and 88 million pounds of dirt back IN. In between the out and the in, we had engineers do compaction tests looking for potential sinkholes.

That’s 176 million pounds moved within less than a week!

And we had one week to do it all. It truly was a feat of organization to get it all done. We worked 24-7, using 220 dump trucks, four backhoes, numerous bobcats, suck trucks and more. Major hiccup along the way when we lost 15 hours due to road closures from the CP train derailment.

But somehow, the community didn’t doubt that we could pull it off. And we didn’t either. We would not have embarked on this if we didn’t think we could do it. And we have the weather on our side for a change.

So here I am now, the morning of Friday, July 5, first morning of the Stampede, looking over our infield and track that’s as good as it’s ever been. And what am I feeling at this moment? Overwhelmed. A sense of pride and relief. And a lot of “holy crap!” And the overwhelming sense of the community rallying behind us. We didn’t let them down.

819-Man in Black is one to watch at Stampede

There’s one thing you can say about Calgary Stampede’s top bucking bull, Man in Black – he is the boss of the arena!

The five-year-old black muley bull has being dumping cowboys firmly in the dirt every time out of the chutes since January in Denver. Man in Black has been on a winning streak in the battle of the arena best! Top cowboys in the world are no match. At the Innsifail Rodeo last week, he bucked off Texan Chandler Bownds, currently ranked ninth in the world. It was a repeat performance in Airdrie this week when Wyoming’s Tyler Willis hit the dirt early despite his ranking of 16th in the world.

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The cowboys who do manage to stick it out eight seconds know they’re likely to be in the money. The last cowboy to stay aboard Man in Black was Corey Navarre of Louisiana, helping him win the National Western Stock Show Rodeo in Denver in January.

Rodeo judges are awarding higher scores as Man in Black strengthens in his performances every time he is bucked. He is big, strong, athletic and gets surprisingly high in the air for his size. He twists, turns, jumps and kicks, and the only thing predictable about him is that he’s predictably rank.

He’s confident and he’s just calmly waiting for his time to shine. As soon as the cowboy’s off and on the ground, he turns and gives the crew something to think about as he is looking for any movements to remind the arena who’s the boss. He’s becoming more famous every time he bucks and definitely a crowd-pleaser..

Man in Black is living up to his strong lineage, being raised by Bob Delong, a son of past bucking star Ramunnition, owned by TJ Baird. Man In Black’s full brother 719 Scuba Steve is keeping up the family tradition as well, having been named the 2012 Bull of the Ponoka Stampede.

The Stampede and cowboys are all looking forward to more great performances from Man in Black.  No doubt, Man in Black   will be in the running for Canadian Champion Bull of the Year.

Be sure to come see Man in Black at the Calgary Stampede for a personal view of this great superstar in action.

Final Sunday – GMC Rangeland Derby

People have been inquiring about the results of the Dash for Cash on Sunday evening’s GMC Rangeland Derby.

Troy Dorchester was the winner with a time of 1:18.40

Second place went to Doug Irvine, who had a time of 1:18.41

Third place went to Gary Gorst at 1:19.68

Fourth place to Jason Glass, whose running time of 1:18.29 was subject to a two second penalty for wagon interference at the start of the race. The penalty was imposed by the chuckwagon judges.

The Calgary Stampede supports the decision of the race judges.

*Update on July 19, 2012

We’ve had a lot of comments about the result of heat 9.

To recap, Jason Glass (Barrel #2) did cross the finish line ahead of Troy Dorchester (Barrel #4), but was not the winner of the race due to a two second interference penalty.

We’re going to provide three things that will help explain the ruling. This is out of the ordinary, but we acknowledge the level of interest from fans.

  • Firstly, some responses to the main questions fans are asking.
  • Secondly, some still photos from the track video feed that the judges would have referred to in their ruling (this is a different feed from the CBC feed). You should also know that earlier this week, I invited Jason Glass to review the track video and he declined.
  • Thirdly, chuckwagon commentator Billy Melville has offered his independent account of the race. It will appear as a comment to keep the length of this post manageable.

The Rangeland Derby has a review system in place unique to the sport of chuckwagon racing.  Unlike many sports (e.g. football, hockey, tennis) where referees make calls during the play, we are fortunate in that our judges have the benefit of studying the various camera angles and slow motion replays before assessing penalties.  They are also given the power to delay making a ruling until they are certain of their decision.  And just like other sports, not everyone will agree with every ruling.  The judges must have the complete authority to render a binding decision.

I trust this will put to rest to the claims of an unfair ruling.

Thanks – Keith

Why weren’t the final heat results (and championship) explained to the fans, sponsors and the drivers?

We agree that the communication surrounding heat 9 results could have been better.  Because we are trying to create anticipation and excitement for the championship presentation that goes live on stage, our normal practice is not to put heat 9 results up on the boards, or make verbal mention of the results. As soon as the winner is announced in front of the live audience, the onstage announcer cannot review penalties and placement of all the wagons in the heat as the production is moving too fast and we are focused on the winner of the Derby. A similar situation happened in 2009 with Chad Harden winning after another driver took a penalty but also crossed the finish line first. That penalty was probably more apparent to those watching, but no explanation was provided to the audience. We will review this process for future with an intent to better communicate to the audience so that they can better understand the race results.

It looked as though Gary Gorst’s wagon was out of lane. Did that force Jason Glass out of lane? Why was Glass penalized?

The Rangeland Derby does not have an out of lane rule.  Being out of lane is permissible, providing that it does not create interference with another wagon. The judges ruled that Gary Gorst’s lane position did not cause Jason Glass to go into lane 1 and determined that there was adequate room for Glass to be safely positioned between the Gorst and Irvine wagons. The judges ruled Glass’ wagon interfered with Irvine’s. You’ll see three still images below from footage used by the judges to render their decision.

Image 1 – as Glass turns into off his bottom barrel, onto track he’s clearly heading into lane 1 with no pressure on his outside. Irvine makes a tight turn into his lane at the bottom of his barrel.

Image 2 shows Irvine and Glass in the same lane. Irvine is where he is supposed to be. Glass is inside of lane marker, with no pressure outside.

And as you look at Image 3 you can see Glass’ right leader on top of the lane 1 marker.

So when the CBC commentator said “Doug Irvine comes a little wide….” referencing  Irvine’s turn on the bottom barrel, he was mistaken. Irvine made a tight turn into the middle of lane 1, his designated lane.  The video replay clearly shows it is Glass’ wagon that is in Irvine’s lane by a full wagon width and the chalk mark in question is in fact the number 1 lane marker. In the end, Irvine did not swing wide and Gorst’s wagon is permitted to be in lane 2 as long as it does not create interference with another wagon, which it did not.

What is the exact procedure for judging?

All judging is done in the video replay room located in the Eye in the Sky.  There are 8 judges (4 wagon and 4 barrel) reviewing each race for penalties and infractions.  Four ‘spotters’ are located around the track, providing information back to the judges. Four cameras provide unique angles and views of the races, not available to the live or at home audience. The judging coordinator leads the eight judges through a thorough review of every race, utilizing a variety of camera angles, slow motion replay and image freezing. The judge’s decision is usually determined by the start of the next race, but may take longer in certain circumstances in order to ensure a proper decision has been made.  The emphasis is upon making the right calls, even if more time is required.