8 buckles and a super-star bronc at the Canadian Finals Rodeo!

It would be a huge understatement to say that Calgary Stampede horses and bulls did well at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, which took place November 9-13. We know they’re superstars, and they proved it over and over again in Edmonton. Six horses and two bulls carried cowboys to top paychecks over the five days of action, earning an incredible 8 go-round buckles.

One of those round winners, Wild Cherry, wowed the crowd and the judges in the final performance of Saddle Bronc riding. Combining with cowboy Layton Green for an 86.5, he was spectacular, earning himself the title of Saddle Bronc Horse of the CFR.

 Night Moves tosses Sage Kimzey into the mud at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Night Moves tosses Sage Kimzey into the mud at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

Another notable performance came on Night Moves, a bull that put PRCA World Champion Sage Kimzey into the mud during the 2016 Calgary Stampede. Previously unridden until the CFR, the big black bull met his match in Tim Lipsett. Lipsett rode his way to a win and a big payday, with an 86 point score.

John Rule, Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee Chair, with Canadian Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie - Courtesy CFR

John Rule, Calgary Stampede Rodeo Committee Chair, with Canadian Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie – Courtesy CFR

The Calgary Stampede would like to congratulate all of the newly-crowned Canadian Champions, including those who battled their way to the very top of the novice events. Committed to the future of rodeo, the Stampede works hard to support and grow the up-and-coming generation of superstars through our Novice tour and as a proud partner of the Canadian Finals Rodeo. We were thrilled to have Rodeo committee chair John Rule on hand to congratulate the winners at the Canadian Finals and we look forward to seeing the skills of Steer Riding Champion Dixon Tattrie, Novice Bareback Champion Tanner Young and Novice Saddlebronc Champion Kolby Wanchuk in the Calgary Stampede arena in years to come!

 

Stampede bucking stock selected for the Canadian Finals Rodeo

It’s post-season time for rodeo competitors in Canada and the US, and the Calgary Stampede Ranch is busy getting a large roster of our four-legged athletes ready for the championships to come.

The first of two major rodeo championships this winter is the Canadian Finals Rodeo in Edmonton, November 9-13. This is where the top rodeo competitors will face off against the top stock in North America for a chance to be crowned Canada’s National Champion in rodeo. Not only will competitors have an opportunity to win a national title, but their placement at the CFR could secure them a much-coveted invitation to compete at next year’s Calgary Stampede.

Photo Credit: Bill Marsh

Ranch Manager Tyler Kraft and his team work tirelessly to ensure rodeos from Ponoka, Alberta to San Antonio, Texas have the best bucking stock that the Calgary Stampede has to offer. And this year, that hard work and the quality of our horses and bulls were recognized in a couple of very special ways by the competitors of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. First, the Calgary Stampede was selected as the CPRA’s 2016 Stock Contractor of the year. Then the competitors selected 41 Calgary Stampede animals to compete at the Canadian Finals Rodeo.

Stampede bucking horse, Special Delivery

Stampede bucking horse, Special Delivery

Leading the pack into Edmonton this November will be some true Stampede greats like reserve world champion bareback horse Special Delivery; two-time horse of the Calgary Stampede, Tiger Warrior; multi-NFR and CFR qualifier Stampede Warrior; and perennial favourite Mad Money. The veteran squad is also taking along a few rookies, including You See Me who is only in his first full year of professional competition and has already put up some impressive numbers. Along with the horses five Stampede bucking bulls have also been selected.

Make sure you get your tickets to the CFR because it`s next week and the Stampede’s stars will be rolling into Edmonton to put on a show! Perhaps you’ll see some of these bucking stars at the Calgary Stampede next July. You can get your tickets now!

The full roster selected for the Canadian Finals Rodeo:

Saddle Bronc
L-2 Labeled Money
M-2 Mad Money
S-3 Simply Marvellous
S-66 Stampede Warrior
S-91 Shoshone Mountain
T-38 Timely Delivery
T-65 Tiger Warrior
U-7 Umber Bubbles
U-8 Uvid Bubbles
W-1 Weekend Departure
W-16 Wild Cherry
W-46 Waning Moon
W-7 Wiggle Lizard
W-74 Weary Joke

Bareback
Y-5 You See Me
X-9 Xplosive Skies
X-89 Xavier Joan
X-40 Xceptional Margarita
X-2 Xrated Dancer
W-84 Waskasoo Soot
W-34 Wanaka Rocket
W-32 Walleye Rocket
T-29 Trail Dust
T-19 Tootsie Roll
T-17 Twin Cherry
S-83 Special Delivery
S-77 Soap Bubbles
S-65 Shadow Warrior
R-82 Reckless Margie
P-65 Princess Warrior

Novice Saddle Bronc and Bareback
L-112 Labyrinth
N-57 Needs Ajax
R-62 Redon Acres
S-15 Sargeant Whitney
U-96 Unit Doctor
Y-55 Youngstown Rocket

Bull Riding
003 Wranglers Extreme
105 Uptown Funk
126 Jukebox Hero
193 Compton Bound
201 Night Moves

 

The Legendary Lynx Mountain

It was everything a final ride should be.

On August 6, 2016, Zeke Thurston climbed into the chutes at the Home on the Range Champions Ride Saddle Bronc Match. Surrounded by the rustic beauty of western North Dakota, the crowd seated around the natural amphitheatre cheered him on. Thurston settled into his saddle, nodded his head, and exploded out into the arena on the back of the Calgary Stampede’s Lynx Mountain.

“She reared out of there, she was just up and down and had a few moves up in the air,” said Thurston. “She’s just the epitome of a bucking horse.”
At 22 years old, and already a two-time Calgary Stampede Champion, Thurston has many more years ahead of him in the sport. Lynx Mountain, on the other hand, made her final ride that day.

Lynx Mountain carries Zeke Thurston to the win – photo courtesy Robin Blankenship

Lynx Mountain carries Zeke Thurston to the win – photo courtesy Robin Blankenship

 

“She’s 15 now, and has done as much as she’s needed to do,” said Stampede Ranch Manager Tyler Kraft, reflecting on her career. “She went to the CFR, Vegas, Texas. To go out on top winning Home on the Range, I felt like it was a nice place to call it quits.”

Lynx Mountain carried Thurston to the win in North Dakota, and earned herself a bronze in the process as the top Saddle Bronc Horse of the event. Finishing in top spot has been a familiar spot for her from the very beginning. Over the span of her career, cowboys who drew Lynx Mountain had a 25 per cent chance of taking first place.

“She’s the horse you wanted. Big rodeo, small rodeo, it didn’t matter” said Thurston Adding, “She’s just been so good for so long.”

Lynx Mountain with Wade Sundell at the 2014 Calgary Stampede

Lynx Mountain with Wade Sundell at the 2014 Calgary Stampede

As a five year old Lynx Mountain made it to the Canadian Finals Rodeo for the first time, and has been selected to compete every year since then. Her style and ability to allow riders to showcase their skills also earned her yearly trips to the National Finals Rodeo from 2007 – 2016. But through all the years of competition, it wasn’t just Lynx Mountain’s abilities in the arena that endeared her to those closest to her.

“She’s pretty calm, just one of those horses that’s an easy keeper,” says Kraft. Adding with a laugh, “She gets along well with the other horses as long as they remember who’s at the top of the pecking order!” Affectionately describing her as the ‘Queen Bee’, Kraft says Lynx Mountain is definitely a leader, with lots of followers and friends. He points to Fearless Warrior and Gross Beetle as the two horses she most prefers to spend time with both on the road and at home on the Stampede Ranch.

A peaceful morning at the Stampede Ranch

A peaceful morning at the Stampede Ranch

Lynx Mountain will be enjoying ranch life full-time now that she’s retired. The mare is the daughter of a horse named Turtle Mountain and was sired by Stampede stud Walleye Roan. As part of the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program, it’s now hoped she can carry on that valuable blood line.

“Her being a mare, that’s special,” said Thurston, clearly passionate about the animals that carry him to victory in the sport he loves. “You can keep that horse’s blood lines with Calgary for many more generations and keep that greatness going. Hopefully we get a bunch of baby Lynx Mountains!”
We hope so too!

Watch a special tribute video here 

Calgary Stampede named Stock Contractor of the Year

It’s no secret we love our animals, and are always proud to celebrate their success. So being named the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s 2016 Stock Contractor of the Year is a pretty big deal for the Calgary Stampede. Voted on by members of the CPRA, these annual awards recognize the best-of-the-best in the rodeo industry.

“The hard work and dedication of the rodeo committees make it possible for us to showcase the animals that come from the Stampede Ranch,” says Calgary Stampede Ranch manager, Tyler Kraft. “We are extremely appreciative of them, as well as the competitors who trust us to provide great horses and bulls for their sport.”

Tyler Kraft with some of the horses at the Stampede  Ranch

Tyler Kraft with some of the horses at the Stampede Ranch

The Calgary Stampede is the primary stock contractor for eight rodeos in Canada and the United States including the Strathmore Stampede, Armstrong Stampede, Pendleton Round Up, and the Calgary Stampede itself. Stampede horses and bulls also compete year round at many other rodeos throughout North America.

Shadow Warrior carries Caleb Bennett at the Calgary Stampede

Shadow Warrior carries Caleb Bennett at the Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede would like to congratulate all of the other award winners this year, and encourage those looking for the full list of winners to visit the Pro Rodeo Canada website.

Championship Fall For Stampede Stock

Another rodeo season has come to an end for the Calgary Stampede stock. If this were hockey, we would say the team is heading into the post-season with only the major championships left to go. For the horses and bulls of the Calgary Stampede rodeo string, this past couple of months has been a road swing with multiple wins.

 

Stampede Rodeo Stock

Jake Vold Rides Xplosive Skies to the win in Hermiston

Continue reading

Why this year’s Stampede Doors Open will be the best ever

The Calgary Stampede is once again participating in Doors Open YYC. We are excited to give you a behind-the-scenes look at little-seen places in the Stampede Grandstand, Rodeo chutes and chuckwagon barns, with some new twists this year! You will learn about the inner-workings of our biggest events: the Stampede Rodeo, GMC Rangeland Derby and the TransAlta Grandstand Show. Here are a few reasons why a (free!) visit to Stampede Park will be a great way to spend your Saturday on September 24.

Doors Open - Grandstand plans

This rendering and write up is from the 1972 Stampede annual report. The Grandstand opened two years later.

Continue reading

Top rodeo competitors earn invitations to the 2017 Calgary Stampede

With the end of the 2016 Canadian Pro Rodeo Wrangler Tour, comes the beginning of great things at the 2017 Calgary Stampede. The tour wrapped up this past weekend in Armstrong, BC with five of the top competitors earning themselves an invitation to next year’s rodeo in Calgary. Each year at the end of the Wrangler tour, we invite the winners in Bareback, Saddle Bronc, Steer Wrestling, Tie Down and Bull Riding to join us at the Stampede the following season.

Jake Vold riding L-36 Licorice Baby

Jake Vold riding L-36 Licorice Baby

Continue reading

Stampede committees work together to host event that proves anyone can be a rodeo star

The Calgary Stampede Queens’ Alumni committee, in partnership with the 4-H committee, and sponsored by Maxim Power Corp., hosted Giddy-Up Rodeo this past weekend, an event for special needs children to come have some fun and try their skills in mock-rodeo events.

“We love participating in the amazing events you hold for the special needs community,” Giddy-Up attendee, Katy Lowe, said. “My son has autism and cannot usually participate in community events and as a result neither can his two sisters.” Giddy-Up Rodeo, and all of the Queen’s Alumni Giddy-Up events, are specially designed so that children can participate in community events at their pace and in a comfortable setting that isn’t over-stimulating and overwhelming. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming and it’s an event where everyone can feel accepted.

As soon as you walked through the doors of the beautiful Agrium Western Event Centre guests were immediately greeted by enthusiastic members of the Stampede board of directors, members of the Promotion committee (who were giving out CS branded stamps and showing off their roping skills) and an 11-year-old fiddler to set the tone.

Giddy Up Rodeo 2016 - Agrium

 

Giddy Up Rodeo - Promotion committee

Giddy Up Rodeo - welcome Continue reading

Calgary Stampede Novice Tour names 2016 Champions

It has been a long hard season for the veterans of rodeo, and with only a month left in regular season action the push is on for their weary bodies to get to the Canadian and hopefully the National Finals Rodeo. But for some on the Canadian Pro Rodeo Tour this is a brand new experience. Traveling thousands of miles to rodeos all across the country is an exciting prospect and a grand adventure. The young men on the Calgary Stampede Novice Pro Tour have been put through their paces all summer and their hard work and commitment is paying off in these dog days of summer.

Novice rodeo_`
Tanner Young – competing at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

This past weekend, Strathmore saw the conclusion of the Calgary Stampede sponsored Novice tour, which consists of seven rodeos across Alberta including the Calgary Stampede itself. Young competitors in the Novice Bareback, Saddle Bronc and Junior Steer Riding earn points through those rodeos towards a tour championship. The Calgary Stampede pays the entry fees for all of the young competitors at each rodeo and sponsors a bronze trophy and gold and silver championship buckle for each of the tour champions.
The goal is to promote the sport to young competitors in hopes that they will learn the ropes at a professional level and advance into the top ranks of rodeo as our future super stars. At the very least the Calgary Stampede loves to see young competitors being able to be a part of the sport and get to spend time with some of the greatest rodeo athletes on the circuit. The Stampede ranch also supplies young horses for most of the rodeos on the tour giving the young animals and young riders a chance to hone their skills.

Novice rodeo_2
Kolby Wanchuck – competing at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

This past weekend saw some great competition with a few young but familiar faces taking home the bronze trophies. Kolby Wanchuck was the top Novice Saddle Bronc rider on the Tour and is looking great for advancing on to the Canadian Finals Rodeo. In the Bareback it was Tanner Young, who is looking to make a return trip to Edmonton in the fall. In the Steer Riding it was Carter Sahli who claimed the Tour Championship and by the expression on his face during his ride at the Stampede, you can tell he is a fierce competitor.

Novice_3
Carter Sahli – competing at the 2016 Calgary Stampede

The Calgary Stampede could not be happier for these young cowboys and is proud to be a part of building rodeo athletes for the next generation. The Stampede loves nothing more than to celebrate youth achievement – so to this year’s Calgary Stampede Novice Tour Champions goes a big tip of the hat!

 

A Wet and Great Stampede!

Yes, it was the wettest ten days I can remember in my 30+ years of volunteering (and in fact I now hear it was the rainiest 10 days since 1927), but definitely a lot of bright spots and great memories from the 2016 Stampede:

1. Pre-Stampede, on Wednesday, July 6 and Thursday, July 7, I was very busy with large and in some cases record crowds at the CBC Breakfast, the Alberta Children’s Hospital Parade, Tourism Calgary First Flip, the Field Law and Miles Davison LLP parties and Parade committee kick off BBQ. No question from those events that the city was very much looking forward to celebrating Stampede this year.

David Gray, host of the Eyeopener on CBC Radio (L) interviewing Codey McCurrach, chuckwagon driver (R) at the CBC Breakfast

David Gray, host of the Eyeopener on CBC Radio (L) interviewing Codey McCurrach, chuckwagon driver, (R) at the CBC Breakfast

Pancakes being flipped at the First Flip breakfast hosted by Tourism Calgary

Pancakes being flipped at the First Flip breakfast hosted by Tourism Calgary

2. Parade Day is always special and I never take for granted the thrill of being on horseback riding along the downtown parade route in front of hundreds of thousands of cheering spectators. Parade Marshals PB&J (Paul Brandt and Jann Arden) were great ambassadors for Calgary and the walking entry of about 100 representatives from the various Fort McMurray agencies involved with the emergency first response, re-location and re-settlement of that city received a huge and well deserved show of appreciation.

parade 2016)

Waving hello atop of Pa – the horse I rode this year from the Stampede Ranch

3. The Stampede Rodeo was great all week (even during the downpour on Finals Sunday, which I would argue just made it that much more challenging and exciting). Barrel Racer Mary Burger became an instant Stampede hit during the first go around and then continued to win over hearts and fans by pulling in the big prize on Sunday. Getting to award announcer Ron MacLean his own bronze for his 25 years of involvement with the Stampede Rodeo was also a very special moment for me.

Ron and Bill

Ron with his bronze and me

4. More often than not, the GMC Rangeland Derby and Evening Show faced the wettest moments of each day. The track held up magnificently and kudos to all the drivers for night after night of exciting and safe racing. The TransAlta Grandstand Show was one of the best I can recall and was designed in such a manner that “the show could go on” each night notwithstanding the weather. Great job by Dave Pierce, the Grandstand committee and all others involved in producing and putting on this show.

Exciting finish to one of the chuckwagon races

Exciting finish to one of the chuckwagon races

The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede performing in the Grandstand Show incorporating water in the show

The Young Canadians of the Calgary Stampede performing in the 2016 Grandstand Show incorporating water in the show

5. The Stampede is a great place to see, meet and host people and that includes politicians from all levels of Government. His Worship Mayor Nenshi rode in the Parade and then to his credit attended every community event in the city, or so it seemed. Premier Notley also rode in the Parade and she and many of her cabinet and MLAs attended many Stampede events on Stampede Park. We even had Justin Trudeau and his daughter Ella-Grace on Stampede Park for a few hours on Friday, July 15 (though as you can see from the attached below, even our Prime Minister was not spared the rain). PM visit 6. Beautiful Enmax Park and the new home of Indian Village was a hit with our guests and one can only imagine how popular that area of Stampede Park will become in future years with better weather. Photo Credit: Bill Marsh / Calgary Stampede 7. The main Midway attractions (Dog Bowl, Peking Acrobats and Bell Adrenaline Ranch) all received deservedly rave reviews. The Agriculture programming was also outstanding and saw big crowds for Cowboy Up, Stock Dogs, Heavy Horse Pull, Steer Classic and all the exhibits in Agrium Western Event Centre, such as the Cattle Trail and many others.

The Canine Stars at the Dog Bowl

The Canine Stars performed incredible tricks at the Dog Bowl

Heavy Horse Show in the Scotiabank Saddledome

Big crowds came out to watch the Heavy Horse Show in the Scotiabank Saddledome

8. By far the most enjoyable moments for me throughout the ten days was hand out the President’s Certificate of Appreciation to surprised long term Stampede volunteers all over Stampede Park. Such a privilege to honour so many deserving people who have given so much to Stampede and to their respective committees. Many thanks to Jennifer Jenson and Shane Ellis for taking care of all the logistics and making this work with my crazy busy Stampede schedule.

One of the recipients of the awards - Jill Cross.

One of the recipients of the awards – Jill Cross.

Thanks to all of you for what you do for Stampede. Hope all the employees and volunteers of the Calgary Stampede have a great and relaxing (and warm and dry) rest of the summer. You all deserve that. Bill

2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 10

Showdown Sunday held true to the uncharacteristically wet year at the Calgary Stampede. But nothing could cloud the radiant grins from the latest crop of $100,000 Rodeo Champions.

Zeke Thurston 10

The maple leafs were flying when Zeke Thurston made it two years in a row to win the saddle bronc riding. It was familiar ground for the cowboy from Big Valley, with the only difference being this year’s rainy weather.

Continue reading

2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 9

Saturday turned into quite a family affair at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo. The odds are always high when it comes to being among the best two out of the twelve contenders to earn a spot to Showdown Sunday. But it proved to be all ‘relative’ this year.

In the saddle bronc riding, the Cajuns were hot. Brothers Heath and Cody DeMoss rose to the top of the heap. Cody was 87 points on Calgary’s Simply Marvellous, while younger brother Heath was only two points behind at 85 for his trip on Evening Mist. That led to a very special victory lap for the two Louisana cowboys, including what looked like a little brotherly horse race during the victory lap.

DeMoss Brothers 9

Continue reading

2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 8

P.M.  8

There’s nothing like a little moisture and mud to test cowboy determination, for rodeo contestants and even the visiting Prime Minister! Friday provided those conditions at the Calgary Stampede, just when Pool B contestants needed to bear down and secure their spot for Showdown Sunday.

But the rain stopped as the rodeo began and fans loved the mud, especially in the steer wrestling, where there was no choice but to get dirty.

Continue reading

2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 7

Cory Solomon 7

It’s not every day you can make a slip and still come out a winner.

But Cory Solomon is on a roll at the Calgary Stampede, and not even a slight bobble slowed him down. The 2012 Stampede tie-down roping champion came out Thursday afternoon like a shot, and was making his tie before you could even blink. He was poised to be as fast, or faster, than his speedy 6.7 second run Wednesday, which topped the round.

Continue reading

2016 Rodeo Highlights – Day 6

Nancy Csabay 6

Winning a go-round at the Calgary Stampede is a special deal. Not only is it worth $5500 in the bank, but it also includes an introduction on the stage and a Stampede bronze.

That wasn’t necessarily part of barrel racer Nancy Csabay’s game plan, but when it happened on Day 6 of the Stampede, the Taber cowgirl was as thrilled as could be.

Continue reading