Stampede Champions represented well at NFR

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There’s no doubt about it – Calgary Stampede 2014 Bareback Champion Kaycee Feiold is having a great year! He not only took the title and $100,000 cheque at our Stampede in July, but he finished the WNFR with his fourth consecutive world champion title. Last year’s third-in-a-row championship broke the record, but Kaycee seems nowhere near slowing down in his dominance of the sport.

The Stampede looks forward to seeing him back again in 2015 to test his winning streak.

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In the Ladies Barrel Racing, CS 2014 champ Kaley Bass rocketed to the top of the world standings post-Stampede going into the WNFR. She performed well yet dropped in the standings to third place by the end. She was under tremendous pressure from World Champion Fallon Taylor and second placed Lisa Lockhart, who finished third and fourth respectively in the Top Gun standings in their neck-and-neck battle throughout the NFR’s 10 rounds.

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Steer Wrestling Stampede 2014 Champion Trevor Knowles ended his NFR as number six in the world rankings. Trevor placed in the money in four of the 10 rounds, and posted times in nine of the ten rounds to finish in 10th place of the go-round average.

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Canadian-based Dustin Flundra, Stampede’s reigning saddle bronc champion, went into the NFR ranked 15th and had a decent run, placing in the money in four go-rounds to end his NFR and year ranked 12th in the world.

Looking forward to seeing these Stampede champions back in Calgary next July to defend their titles, and looking forward to providing a warm western welcome to some new faces that topped the standings after the NFR.

Half of Stampede Stock in the money at NFR

The dust has settled on another Wrangler NFR in Las Vegas, and the cowboys and their horses are all home-ward bound, turning their thoughts to the holiday season and coming year.

The Calgary Stampede travelled to Vegas with a pen of 14 top horse stars, and are riding home with their heads held high boasting a great performance record. Half of our horses – seven in all – had great go-round match-ups with top cowboys, bucking and boosting their riders into the nightly earnings.

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Mata Fact (seen in PRCA video recap HERE) teamed up with newly-crowned WNFR Saddle Bronc Champion Spencer Wright during the fourth round to take first place and the stock award. The ride was indicative of Spencer’s entire NFR experience – his first time qualifying. Spencer accumulated $145,000 in earnings throughout ten rides, placing him second in the overall Top Gun Award for NFR money.

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Here’s the break-down of finishes for Stampede horses throughout the 10 rounds:

#1  – SB – Mata Fact  with Spencer Wright, Round 4 – 84 points

#2 – BB – Turkish Whiskey  with  Bobby Mote,  Round 6 Reride – 83 points

#2 – SB – Lynx Mountain with Jacobs Crawley, Round 10 – 83 points

#3 – BB – Trail Dust with Justin McDaniel, Round 5 – 86 points

#4 – BB – Soap Bubbles with Tilden Hooper, Round 8 – 81.50 points

#5 -  BB – Simply Marvellous with Taos Muncy, Round 4 – 76.50 points

#6 – SB – Stampede Warrior with Jake Writer, Round 10 – 78 points

“Rocket Brothers” Barebacks place 2, 3 in rounds 5, 6

Two more exciting NFR performances down, two more Calgary Stampede bucking horses holding their heads high….

Following up on the heels of Mata Fact’s round-winning first placed finish in the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo paired up with saddle bronc rider Spencer Wright, round five kicked off with the bareback event Monday night.

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Justin McDaniel, a seven-time NFR qualifier from Oklahoma, matched up with the Stampede gelding Trail Dust (shown above during Stampede 2014). The two bucked out a strong ride for an 86-point score to place third. Justin was a great match for Trail Dust, since this seasoned cowboy has been on a roll all through the NFR, placing in the money in four of the six rounds to date.

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Round five on Tuesday night was even a step better for Stampede stock, again in the opening bareback event. Turkish Whiskey (above during CS 2014) stepped into the chutes full of fire to be paired up with Bobby Mote, a  four-time world champion, 14-time NFR qualifier, and known as one of the most consistent cowboys in the game.

When the dust settled, Turkish Whiskey and Mote scored a 83-point ride, good for second place behind 86-point Austin Floss.

Both Turkish Whiskey and Trail Dust are eight-year-old geldings, half-brothers born from one of Stampede’s prime studs, Majestic Rocket. Turkish Whiskey takes his name from his mother, mare Sour Whiskey, while Trail Dust’s name reflects his mother, mare Dairy Dust. Both of these talented young bucks have been to the Canadian Finals Rodeo before in their rising careers, but this is their first time qualifying for the NFR.

Looking for more great things from these Rocket babies in the years to come!

It’s a fact! Mata Fact wins WNFR buckle

Even amongst the world’s elite bucking horses, Calgary Stampede Ranch’s bucking horses stand hoof to hoof with the best of the best.

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Mata Fact proved that last night during the fourth performance at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Sunday night in Las Vegas. This 12-year-old mare was matched up with 24-year-old Spencer Wright from Utah, the youngest of a trio of three Wright brothers at the NFR in the saddle bronc competition.

This marks Spencer’s first trip to the NFR, and he’s shown incredible consistency in the opening rounds – placing in the money each night, including the 2/3 split in round three.

But there’s nothing like a cowboy’s first go-round buckle at the NFR, and Mata Fact delivered that Sunday night.

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Rearing up out of the chutes off the start (check it out on the PRCA’s Youtube Highlights Reel) Mata Fact drew cheers from the audience, and she just grew more and  more powerful from there. Her heels high up over her head, she shifted into a strong bucking pattern with a bit of a side-step, then looped around to the left without missing a beat.

When the dust settled, the judges awarded the pair of Spencer and Mata Fact a total of 84 points - the top score of the night - earning Spencer his first go-round buckle and the saddle bronc buckle for the Calgary Stampede.

Mata Fact has more in common with Spencer than just a great score. She also has a lot of star siblings at the NFR, too, since her sire is the legendary Stampede bareback 6-time world champion Grated Coconut, from a pairing with mare Rattled Mata. Most other champion buckers at the NFR from the Stampede are also offspring of “The Grate One.”

The Stampede is looking for more impressive rides tonight, when four more star horses are on the roster, including one of the top anticipated match-ups of the NFR to date:

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

All eyes will be on the saddle bronc pairing of Cody DeMoss with Stampede Warrior – a match-up that scored a record 94-point ride in Houston earlier this spring, (read more HERE). Spencer’s brother Jake Wright will climb aboard Stampede Warrior’s half-brother, stallion Timely Delivery, to offer up some strong competition in the saddle bronc event as well.

The world’s number three-ranked bareback horse, Stampede stallion Special Delivery  is expected to draw a lot of attention in the bareback event and give cowboy Will Lowe a good shot at the go-round buckle, while another Stampede star, Trail Dust, is paired up in a great match-up with Justin McDaniel.

Yahoo to more great Stampede rides lighting up the arena in Vegas!

Stampede horses to rock and roll Vegas

As the continent’s rodeo community and the world’s best cowboys converge on Las Vegas for the National Finals Rodeo, the Calgary Stampede’s top horses are ready and waiting to give them the ride of their life. A total of 14 Stampede rough stock horses have been selected to compete at the biggest indoor rodeo in the world. They have been camped out nearby for more than a week, acclimatizing and resting up for their moment to shine under the big city lights.

Six Stampede horses have made it in the Bareback event:

  • S-83 Special Delivery
  • S-77 Soap Bubbles
  • T-25 Turkish Whisky
  • T-19 Tootsie Roll
  • T-25 Trail Dust
  • T-17 Twin Cherry

Eight Stampede horses were selected for the Saddle Bronc competition:

  • S-66 Stampede Warrior
  • T-65 Tiger Warrior
  • L-40 Lynx Mountain
  • M-64 Mata Fact
  • T-38 Timely Delivery
  • S-3 Simply Marvellous
  • U-1 Until Kamloops
  • S-91 Shoshone Mountain

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The National Finals Rodeo is where world champions are made, and where horses are also crowned world champions. Most of the Stampede horses showcased at this year’s NFR are the offspring of the world’s most successful bucking horse ever – the legendary Grated Coconut (picture above), who was a six-time world champion and six-time Canadian champion bareback horse, plus winning virtually all major rodeo titles in the course of his 10-year career.

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Special Delivery  (above) is following closely in his famous daddy’s hoofmarks, being named the number three bareback horse of the year by the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) this year. This spirited stallion, mothered by many-time CFR and NFR qualifier Zippy Delivery, has already been named the champion Bareback Horse of Canada in 2012, and the runner-up as Bareback Horses of the CFR this year after a great pair of performances at CFR earlier in November. Special Delivery was also named Bareback Horse of the San Antonio Rodeo this spring, winning Steven Peebles the championship title. His full brother, gelding Timely Delivery, will also serve up some challenging rides in the saddle bronc event at the CFR.

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The “Delivery” brothers’ half-siblings Tiger Warrior (picture above) and Stampede Warrior – also sired by Grated Coconut but by famous bucking horse Fearless Warrior – are two more strong contenders to watch during the NFR. Tiger Warrior’s star is rising after two incredible round-winning performances at CFR 2014 that earned him the Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR runner-up spot.

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His full sister and fellow saddle bronc – Stampede Warrior (above) –captured the attention and fascination of the American rodeo world earlier this season, earning herself a reputation as a champion-maker. Stampede Warrior set an astound 94-point arena record in Houston early in the season with Cody DeMoss, then helped Wade Sundell earned a $100,000 pay day during the inaugural All American Rodeo in Arlington, Texas. Read more HERE on Stampede Warrior’s record-setting rides.

For more information on which NFR performances will featured Stampede horses, check out the Stock Roster.

 

Lucky 7 at Agrium Centre this fall

This coming weekend marks the seventh major new event drawn to the heart of Calgary by the newly-opened Agrium Western Event Centre during the fall season alone. The World Professional Bull-riding’s championship finals event wraps up the fall season with a huge bang this Friday and Saturday evening.

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Top bull riders and bucking bulls will converge on the Agrium Centre November 21 and 22, with riders coming from Paraguay, Mexico, Australia, USA and across Canada, vying for the title of 2014 WPB champion. It’s sure to be a fun ride. Check out details and links to tickets HERE.

Since mid-September, the Stampede’s new customized livestock-centric facility has seen a steady round of an estimated 4,000 horses, bulls, cattle and even show-jumpers flow through Stampede Park for a series of client events. This fall’s new events at the Agrium Centre included an international horsemanship conference, a pro rodeo finals competition, team roping championship, team penning finals, showjumping and the bullriding championships.

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Two of the events are all-new – the Jonathan Field and Friends international Horsemanship Conference and the Royal West showjumping competition - made possible by this unique building. The other five have been held in other cities, but relocated to Calgary for the Agrium Centre. These have all drawn thousands of visitors to Calgary. For example, the 10-day elite Royal West showjumping event continued over two weekends (image from Royal West Facebook, above) and drew international competitors, plus thousands more viewers online to see the building in action.

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The Calgary Stampede’s own annual Cutting Horse Futurity competition (pictured above) was a five-day event earlier in October, shifting from its traditional home in the Stampede’s Corral to the new Agrium Centre. The new venue and some added commemorative prizing helped attract a large spike in entry numbers of horses and riders from across Western Canada and through the western United States.

All riders, horsemen, cowboys and livestock owners have been thoroughly impressed by the facility’s tailored features designed for the comfort, safety and top performance of their animals. Riders from across Canada and the USA have commented it’s among the top facilities they have visited of its kind in North America. Word is spreading, enticing ever-more horse and livestock events to consider Calgary for their coming events.

Whether groups are interested in hosting corporate rodeos to accompany big conferences, riding workshops, horse competitions or even special performances showcasing animals, the Agrium Centre is ready to ride for 2015. For more information on bookings, contact Stampede Sales and Events.

Stampede horses dominate CFR

Three dozen Calgary Stampede bucking horses are happily frolicking in the snow-covered pastures near Hanna, celebrating a triumphant series of performances in the horse roughstock events at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

In the six CFR performances, ending Sunday, Stampede horses captured six buckles for round-winning scores. That’s half the available buckles to be won by horses. When the dust settled at Rexall Place and the rough stock awards were handed out, three of the top four horses of the CFR went to Stampede Stock.

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Unfortunate Carma won the 2014 Bareback Horse of the CFR after two astounding performances. This six-year-old mare won the second round with Matt Lait (pictured above, photo by Mike Copeman), teaming up to score an 87-point ride. She returned Saturday night with another strong performance that earned her great points with rider Colin Adams.

Unfortunate Carma is the grand-daughter of the legendary bareback horse, Grated Coconut. Born 2008, she is the daughter of mare Carma by sire Royal Wake, who is the son of six-time World Champion Grated Coconut by mare French Wake. All those great genetic qualities combined in Unfortunate Carma, a feisty filly that ranks as an “eliminator” bronc.

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Her travelling mate and uncle, Special Delivery (pictured above at the Stampede) - currently ranked as the number three bareback horse in the world – was named the runner-up in the Bareback Horse category. His first go-round was explosive, scoring him great points but up-ending top rider RC Landingham in a buck-off. The second time this spunky stallion took the arena, he carried Matt Lait to the top of the round and the championship title, winning with a score of 87.75. Special Delivery is a powerful and talented animal athlete, sired by Grated Coconut by many-time CFR and NFR Qualifier Zippy Delivery. Watch for him to solidify his world-class reputation at the NFR in December.

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Tiger Warrior  (pictured above waiting for his performance at CFR) took runner-up in the category of Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR, scoring 85.5 points to win the opening round with Cort Scheer. His second time out, in the fourth round, Tiger Warrior carried Rylan Geiger to a top-placed finish with a score of 86.5. Two rounds, two top-placed finishes for Tiger Warrior. He was edged out for the Horse of the CFR title by Lunatic Party from Outlaw Buckers, a horse that was the Saddle Bronc Horse of Canada for this year.

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Considering there are 11 stock contractors with horses in the running, the Stampede’s capture of six of the 12 go-round buckles and three of the four Horse of the Year honours represents an impressive ratio that speaks volumes of the quality of the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program.

Go-Round Buckles:

Performance 1: Saddle Bronc – Cort Scheer and Tiger Warrior – 85.5 points

Performance 2: Bareback – Matt Lait and Unfortunate Carma – 87 points

Performance 3: Saddle Bronc – Cort Scheer and Lynx Mountain – 88.75 points

Performance 4: Saddle Bronc – Cort Scheer and Warped Logic – 85.25 points

Performance 5: Saddle Bronc – Rylan Geiger and Tiger Warrior – 86.50 points

Performance 6: Bareback – Matt Lait and Special Delivery – 87.75 points

CS+CS = Champion performances

Add to that a unique phenomenon –  the combination of the initials worn by our CS horses and a certain “C.S.” cowboy added up to the CFR’s Top Gun award.

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Cort Scheer (pictured above with Stampede’s Keith Marrington), the Calgary Stampede 2013 Saddle Bronc Champion, was on fire all through the CFR, taking home three go-round buckles all on the backs of CS-marked Stampede bucking horses. Cort kicked off the CFR with an opening-round win teamed up with Tiger Warrior, followed up a go-round ride with on Lynx Mountain on night 3 and another winning ride with Warped Logic in the fourth go-round, plus a fourth-placed finish on Until Kamloops in the final round.

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In all, Cort bucked out almost $63,000 worth of performances, teamed up with Stampede stock in four of his six go-rounds, earning himself the Top Gun award for the most money earned by any cowboy at the CFR. This huge run on great rides lifted Scheer from 10th place standing coming into CFR from season’s earnings, to a second-place finish, a mere $238 behind Tyler Corrington’s championship-winning tally.

 

Two nights, Two Buckles for Stampede Stock

Two days down, two stock buckles in hand! The Calgary Stampede Ranch horses are making their mark at Canada’s championship rodeo with a matching pair of go-round buckles from the opening two nights of competition.

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On opening night, Stampede’s Tiger Warrior  (above) tore up the saddle bronc event with 2013 Calgary Stampede saddle bronc champion Cort Scheer aboard. This seven-year-old stallion offers up the powerful, high bucks and a solid rhythm that makes for a good show, but ups the ante of difficulty with his tricky fishtailing – randomly swinging his hind quarters to the side in moves that can dislodge any cowboy if he loses his centre. Scheer stayed on point and the pairing kicked out a 85.5 ride – the top score for the roughstock horse events for the night, winning Scheer a big boost in his bid to the top of the bronc standings, and earning Stampede and Tiger Warrior for the go-round buckle.

Tiger Warrior has been making his mark this season, including winning the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Ponoka Stampede in early July, then two great showings at the Calgary Stampede, including a great ride with Cody Wright during the Final Round Sunday.

Tiger Warrior is the son of many-time CFR and NFR qualifier Fearless Warrior by legendary Stampede bareback horse Grated Coconut. Watch for Tiger Warrior again Saturday afternoon for another great performance.

Stampede’s second buckle of the CFR came on the second night in the bareback event. Matt Lait paired up with Stampede mare Unfortunate Carma for some very fortunate action. Their 87-point ride topped the event and brought this emerging star to the attention of the rodeo crowd. Only six years old, Unfortunate Carma made her mark throughout the entire season, highlighted with a title as the Bareback Horse of the Pendleton Roundup Rodeo in Oregon in August. She’ll be out again full-force at Saturday night’s CFR Round Five.

Another Stampede great – Mad Money (seen in video above) – put on a great show during round 2 in the saddle bronc event. Tyler Corrington matched up with Mad Money for an impressive 84.75 score, narrowly missing the go-round win, which went to reigning Stampede champion Dustin Flundra on a horse called Awesome. Mad Money rang the right bells on her run, with her signature stutter-style kick throwing her hind hooves well overhead, reaching for the rafters. She’ll be out again Saturday night for another match-up and a run at the title of Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR.

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She’ll have some tough competition tonight, though, from emerging legend Stampede Warrior (pictured above), a full sister to Tiger Warrior. During his go-round victory interview last night, Dustin Flundra told reporters there’s a horse he’s really hoping to draw tonight – and that’s Stampede Warrior. That’s because he knows this eight-year-old mare is a champion-maker. This year alone, she set an arena and circuit record score of 94 points in Houston with Cody DeMoss, paired with Wade Sundell for a 92-point win at the inaugural All-American $100,000 rodeo in Arlington, and helped earn Flundra an 89-point score en route to his Calgary Stampede title on Final Sunday this year. All eyes will be on Stampede Warrior and her recognizable one-blue eye tonight and final round 6 on Sunday afternoon in the hunt for cowboy and roughstock titles at the CFR.

In the Bareback event, Special Delivery (featured in video, above) is the one to watch tonight and final Sunday at the CFR. Ranked as the #3 bareback in the world, Special Delivery has consistently delivered cowboys championship titles and wins for the past few years. The 2012 Bareback Horse of the Year in Canada, this stallion won the Hermiston Rodeo in Washington with Steven Peebles, and Canadian fans would have seen him winning the Lea Park Rodeo by Marwayne with Russ Hallaby. He’s in the hunt for titles at both CFR this weekend, and at the NFR in Las Vegas later in December.

See y’all at the CFR tonight and through the weekend!

Horse magic with Jonathan Field and Friends

Jonathan Field – Tapping into an ancient approach to the human-horse relationship, Jonathan works to spread his message of observance, patience and understanding…

So begins this beautiful excerpt from his half hour documentary “Harmony with Horses”.

This weekend, you can experience Jonathan’s extraordinary horsemanship at the Jonathan Field and Friends International Horsemanship Conference in the Agrium Western Event Centre.

Jonathan Fields_1Today, Jonathan gave a special presentation to 28 Grade 5 Stampede School students. “I want to show the kids that if we can learn to communicate with horses, we can do incredible things,” he said.

Jonathan and the children went through the differences between humans and horses: the position of our eyes and ears. Humans communicate verbally, horses through body language. The fact that horses are a prey species and therefore care deeply about being safe. All of these things, he explained, are important to fully understanding a horse.

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He explained horse herd mentality and how every herd has a natural hierarchy. “This will be a herd of six–five horses and me.” Jonathan, in his demonstration, would get the herd to work together, with himself as the leader. So that free wheeling horses, Jonathan Fields_3would become one. Jonathan Fields_4Watching Jonathan with the horses is nothing short of enchanting and the conference this weekend is the first of its kind. You can still get tickets here.

Special Delivery: Canuck bucks hit the coast

When cowboys know the Calgary Stampede’s legendary bucking stock is coming to the party, they come prepared to walk away with a pocketful of cash.

Even amongst the Stampede’s strong stable of stars, Special Delivery stands a head above the herd. This powerful and spirited stallion is renowned amongst the bareback cowboys for his consistency and reliability to bring the buck when it matters. Son of many-time CFR and NFR qualifier mare Z-38 Zippy Delivery, sired by six-time world champion Grated Coconut, Special Delivery was named the 2012 Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year and has been a CFR and NFR qualifier of note.

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Special Delivery (pictured above CS2014)  has been proving this again on the rodeo trails that lead through Oregon, Washington and into B.C.’s interior. He paired up with Steven Peebles to rock out an 87-point ride to win the bareback championship at the Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston Oregon on August 9th. After resting up, Special Delivery did a rare switch-hit into the saddle bronc event at Canby, Oregon, scoring an 84-point ride with Joaquin Rael.

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As strong as Special Delivery was, another Stampede horse took the top ride in Canby’s saddle bronc event. Lynx Mountain (pictured above CS2014) had her way with Isaac Diaz to score 88 points to win the championship.

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Simply Marvellous was also utterly that this past weekend at the Kitsap Stampede in Bremerton, Washington, with virtually vertical bucks that cowboy Dusty Hausauer just couldn’t keep up with, as seen in this picture (above).

Special Delivery and his fellow stars are now bouncing between Armstrong BC and Ellensberg. Special Delivery bucks Wednesday night in Armstrong, then takes a short jaunt up the highway for a starring role in the Ellensburg final round on Monday. He’ll have some bovine company for the trip, since 10 of the Stampede’s top bulls are scheduled to amp up the excitement at Ellensberg’s PRCA Extreme Bull event this coming Saturday night and the rodeo’s final round on the Monday. Amongst the toughest will be I’m a Gangsta and Low Life, two of the Stampede’s bucking stock that instill the most respect and fear amongst bull riders.

More to come on how those showdowns play out in the coming days and weeks, as the Stampede stock continues to stamp their brand across the northwest part of the continent.

 

The Summer of the Wild Warriors that Deliver

This may be the Chinese Year of the Horse, but so far it’s been a summer of the “wild warrior delivery” from the Calgary Stampede’s bucking stock at various Canadian rodeos throughout the summer.

Two horses from the famed “Warrior” lineage took the top prizes early in the season. Born from mare Fearless Warrior by legendary sire Grated Coconut, full brother and sister Tiger Warrior and Stampede Warrior have been tearing up the circuit.

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Fiery stallion Tiger Warrior (pictured above at CS2014)led the charge at Ponoka on the July long weekend, taking the halter for the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Ponoka Stampede. He followed it up with strong performances during the Calgary Stampede, winning a first-place split with Heath Moss in Pool A then later teaming up with Cody Wright in the final 10 on Showdown Sunday.

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Tiger Warrior’s full sister Stampede Warrior (pictured above at CS2014) wowed the crowd and won the Saddle Bronc Horse of the Calgary Stampede. The mare showed her power on the Showdown Sunday’s Final Four performance, paired up with Canadian cowboy Dustin Flundra to score an 89 point ride that helped lift Dustin to his first-ever Calgary Stampede Championship win. Stampede Warrior has been astounding throughout the 2014 season, shattering the Rodeo Houston record with a virtually perfect 94-point ride with Cody DeMoss earlier in the spring.

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Wild Cherry (pictured above CS2013) brought the “wild” to the Curtis Glencross Invitation Rodeo event at the Daines Ranch near Innsifail this past weekend. Created by the Calgary Flames’ star forward, the event raised almost $200,000 for Ronald McDonald House and Hockey Alberta last year. This year, the Calgary Stampede bucking stock did their part to make the event a success for the cowboys and spectators alike. Wild Cherry, born from mare Flavoured Cherry and six-time world champion Grated Coconut, lived up to his championship lineage by carrying saddle bronc rider Sam Kelts to an 88-point ride, winning Kelts the rodeo and a new truck in the process. This is one of Wild Cherry’s first appearances on the rodeo circuit in 2014, sitting out for recovery from a foot surgery earlier in the spring. Now fully healed, this gelding showed he’s back on top of his game once again.

As the prairie rodeos wind down a bit, the Stampede’s best broncs and bulls hit the road for the coast, with a series of top-ranked pro rodeos throughout Washington, Oregon and B.C.’s interior.

4H Rodeo teaches the ropes to youngsters

Almost 70 young aspiring cowboys and cowgirls learned the ropes of their industry at the 17th annual Calgary Stampede Invitational 4H Rodeo this past weekend.

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The Stampede hosted the 4H students, aged nine to 20 years old, at the Agrium Western Event Centre on August 23 and 24, making this the first rodeo to be held in the new tailored livestock facility. The Stampede hosts the 4H Rodeo annually to give the youngsters a solid grounding in their sport, in rodeo production, livestock handling and animal care. Alongside the competition, the young rodeo competitors take part in educational sessions aimed at stepping up their game in all these topics and more.

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While rodeo is familiar, many of the events are not generally well-known in non-rodeo circles. Time events like thread-the-needle, pole-bending and goat-tying are the training grounds for younger athletes and their horses before graduating to tie-down roping and barrel racing.

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Learn more in this video interview from Global TV Morning News.

http://globalnews.ca/video/1523378/calgary-stampede-4h-rodeo

Post-Stampede Chill-out at the Ranch

With the Stampede done for another year, employees and volunteers are enjoying  much-needed downtime and quiet days.

So, too, do the bucking star horses that brought the Stampede rodeo to life. Five days after Final Sunday, I visited Stampede Ranch by Hanna. I was accompanying Gabriele, a photojournalist from Germany on a round-the-world tour to capture images and stories of horses in their most natural elements. An experienced rider and horse breeder, she marveled at the Stampede Ranch herd’s health, pride, natural herd social dynamics, and healthy curiousity about the people who came to visit them.

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Bucking horses from the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program enjoy  the most natural herd setting of any domesticated animals – with natural mixed ages herds raised on open pasture with minimal human contact beyond being halter-broken to receive regular medical treatment. Ranch-hands keep an eye on them, watching for injuries or illness and ensuring they get grain to supplement their grazing as needed. But otherwise, the herds generally roam unencumbered and freely across the ranch’s vast 23,000 acres and open skies.

When we arrived at Stampede Ranch, we hopped in the truck with ranch hand Trevor and drove to the expansive pasture where one part of the herd was relaxing – a mere 150 horses or so. There are another 450 in other pastures father afield, including the stallions, breeding mares and colts and bucking bulls that are kept separate from the general population.

In the distance you could see clumps of horses grazing. A few honks of the truck horn and the herd perked up and headed our way, lured by the promise of grain trailing from the truck with the push of a button. Soon the herd was strung out in a long looping line, munching contentedly.

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This herd included current bucking stars, up and comers, retired bucking horses, and horses that never made it on the rodeo circuit, but contribute as members of a healthy herd mixture of ages and temperaments.

We hopped out of the truck and snapped photos. At first the horses sidestepped around us. But as the grain was eaten and they began grazing, they all edged closer and closer, their curiousity about the newcomers in their midst overcoming their natural shyness. Soon we were surrounded by the curious gentle giants, nudging in closer to get a look at us, and in some cases, get a pet from us.

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Trevor rolled off the names of bucking stars – past and present, pointing out which horses had a bit more thoroughbred, quarter horse or heavy horse blood in the mix. There was the semi-retired Gin Neat, a name well-recognized in rodeo circles. I spoke a soft word and current bucking star Nightmare Rocket strode straight up to me for a cuddle. We’ve met before several times and he’s always eager to have his nose and cheeks petted, whether in the pasture or in the pens prepping for his performance. He was equally happy for a scratch and pat from Gabriele.

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There was Lynx Mountain and Loadstone Jade, two long-time stars who are still bucking strong and kicking cowboys into the dirt. Suddenly Loadstone Jade was right up close, curious and looking for a bit of a pet from Trevor, who was happy to oblige.

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With reluctance, we shook off the 100’s of horses and headed back to the pens to visit the bucking bulls, stallions and some of the new baby colts with their mares. Here, we opted to stay in the truck to avoid raising any maternal defensiveness, and simply marveled at the baby buckers from afar.

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Wistfully, we thanked Trevor for his time and headed back to town, pausing at the ranch gates to share stories of late greats such as Coconut Roll and Cindy Rocket, legendary Stampede bucking stars buried in this place of honour when age and declining health claimed them at last.

But they live on within the ever-increasing power, strength and pride we see in their offspring. What a rare treat to enjoy this peaceful day, photographing just a small slice of the wonderful, natural quality of life these incredible horses enjoy all year-round at the Stampede Ranch.

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Country’s new home in the City

Horses, cowboys and rural residents now have a custom-built, year-round home right in the heart of Calgary on Stampede Park.

The Calgary Stampede has officially opened the Agrium Western Event Centre – Canada’s premiere western event and agriculture education showcase. The building opened on Saturday, June 21, amid much fanfare of a community open house and a grand ribbon-cutting ceremony that featured federal Minister of State for Western Economic Diversification Michelle Rempel and Alberta’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Verlyn Olson.

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The ultra-modern 150,000 sq. ft. building features an extra-large 2,500-seat specialized arena for equine and western events, a multi-purpose exhibit hall, and a grand rotunda entry that double as a week-day classroom for a unique educational program on sustainable agriculture. The Agrium Centre becomes the new focal point of horse and agriculture-related activities at Stampede Park. Visitors will experience it first during the Stampede July 4 to 13, and with more experiences this year when a series of new horse shows and competitions fill the building throughout the fall season.

“The Calgary Stampede is a world-class event, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world,” Minister Olson said when addressing the crowd on Saturday. “As the largest facility of its kind in Canada, the new Agrium Western Event Centre will be an incredible venue for education, entertainment and to showcase our agriculture industry.”

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The Government of Canada and Government of Alberta each contributed $25 million towards the Agrium Centre as part of a series of recent agriculture infrastructure enhancements at Stampede Park that, together, cost $61.5 million. Agrium contributed as title sponsor of the building.

“We are thrilled that our partners shared in our vision of creating a world-class, year-round venue that connects urban and rural,” said Bob Thompson, President and Board chair of the Calgary Stampede. “This provides a gathering place for agriculture industries and associations, offers economic benefit to Calgary businesses, and ensures city residents have a regular connection to agriculture, horses and livestock all through the year.”

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Agrium’s President and CEO Chuck Magro also spoke at the Agrium Centre’s grand opening, underlining how the building houses a unique global education program created by the Stampede and Agrium. “We’re thrilled to be part of making the Agrium Western Event Centre a reality at the Calgary Stampede,” said Magro. “This is a place to celebrate agriculture and to learn about sustainable farming practices, through the Journey 2050 program, as we work to feed 9 billion people globally by 2050.”

Journey 2050 coaches grade seven students to explore how the world will feed itself sustainably in the year 2050. Up to 70 students will gather at the building’s rotunda each weekday to experience an interactive inquiry-based personal and computer program that shows the results and impacts of their virtual farming choices.

Guests of the grand opening event marveled at the building’s size and the great sight-lines from the open concourse and seating areas. The behind-the-scenes features of the building were a hit with horse-owners who recognize the animal-friendly features built into every aspect of the handling, warm-up and performance areas.

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“We are bringing the Arabian Horse Association’s Western Canadian show to Calgary because of this building,” Arabian Association representative Allison Mostowich told the crowd. “Our first priority is always our horses, and we can tell from the way this building was designed, animals are the Stampede’s top priority as well. We’re looking forward to being the first big event here after the Stampede (July 21-26).”

A current listing of the horse shows, competitions and championship events being hosted this year at the Agrium Centre can be found at www.calgarystampede.com/AgriumCentre. Many are new to Calgary, with several events created with this new facility’s capabilities in mind.

 

Spring fever for Stampede hotshot horses

After a blockbuster run through Texas earlier in the year, the Stampede Ranch bucking stock continues to make international headlines for their winning ways.

Last weekend in Lea Park, the horses enjoyed the show at one of Canada’s most beautiful rodeo settings – a lush green valley near Marwayne in Alberta’s east-central region. In the saddle bronc event, the highlight was the final round win by American cowboy Tyler Corrington, scoring 84 on the back of well-known Stampede star Sargeant Whitney. The Pro Rodeo website features Tyler and Sargeant Whitney in its weekly highlight. Read their story HERE.

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Sargeant Whitney is an eight-year-old gelding, out of a spirited mare named Frisky Whitney by Stampede stud Majestic Rocket. A seasoned roughstock star, Sargeant Whitney has been to the National Finals Rodeo (NFR) and the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR), where he was also paired up with Corrington for a great ride.

Not to be outdone by the broncs, the Stampede’s bareback athletes upped the score a couple of notches, taking first and second in the final round.

Airdrie cowboy Russ Hallaby took top billing, scoring an 87 on one of the Stampede’s top stars – the formidable Special Delivery. This eight-year stallion earns a lot of respect both in and out of the arena, and was named Canadian Bareback Horse of the Year for 2012. See him in action in the video, below:

Stampede Reckless Margie took second fiddle by a tight margin, bucking out a score of 85.5 with Clint Laye from Cadogan, Alberta. The nine-year-old mare, out of well-known mare Erotic Margie by legendary Grated Coconut, emerged as a strong star on the pro rodeo circuit early on. She took time off of her athletic career to foal some new colts for the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program. Reckless Margie is now back and showing motherhood hasn’t slowed her down in the arena.

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Reckless Margie, Special Delivery, Sargeant Whitney and the other Stampede champs are looking forward to the rest of the season, including putting on a show in their home turf at the Calgary Stampede in a few weeks’ time.