Doc West: Western Feedlot Closure

Illustration by Dave Elston

Doc, I’m a city girl who owns horses. With the intention of understanding, I have to ask about the recent Western Feedlot closure, given the waves of discontent it stirred up amongst my country friends. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not completely naïve, since I’ve taken up a western performance horse sport, I’ve come to understand just how entwined the cattle industry is with the horse world. Alberta raises more cattle than any other province, so what I don’t understand about the closing down of Western Feedlot is why the owners pointed their fingers at Bill 6 and the incoming carbon tax – at least that’s what many read into the cryptic “poor political and economic conditions” they cited as the reason for the shut-down. Doesn’t nearly every other province in Canada already have a Farm Safety Act? Why can’t Alberta, the province of prosperity, handle one? Additionally, what’s the beef with the incoming carbon tax?

Poor political and economic conditions. Cryptic indeed. What were the proprietors of one of Canada’s largest feedlot, in business since 1958, thinking when they decided to simply lock their doors, board their windows and ride off into the sunset leaving us only a dour note of derision? Agriculture Minister, Oneil Carlier washed away any responsibility from Alberta’s new “Orange Overlords” (no, not Donald Trump), citing “a significant decrease in the price of cattle.” Without a doubt a one-year drop of approximately 30% in Alberta-fed cattle prices left all beef producers in a tough spot. However, not everyone picked up their ball and went home. So what gives?

Let’s begin with the first part of the equation – economic conditions. You mention a few things, the carbon tax for one – aka, the sacred cow of the NDP plan to pacify environmental zealotry and acquire a “social license” for pipeline construction and long term provincial prosperity. The plan was after all, well researched, well coordinated and supported by all the relevant economists and policy wogs. The provincial  government would tax Albertans for carbon and the rest of the nation would nod in admiration and as a reward for our environmental stewardship we would be “allowed” to build pipelines. Even the oil bigwigs bought in, with billionaire oil tycoon and Calgary Flames owner Murray Edwards standing shoulder to shoulder with Premier Rachel Notley – portraying an image of big government and big business paving the way for pipelines to pump Alberta crude west to China, Alberta transfer payments east to Quebec, and profits due north – right into Mr. Edward’s pockets.

What wasn’t calculated in the grand scheme was the effect a carbon tax was going to have on less lucrative sectors of Alberta’s economy, those that traded beef, not bitumen, and calculated profits with a HD pencil, not a hard drive. Agriculture in particular was never consulted on the effect of a carbon tax on already razor thin margins. Paying “just a little bit more” on gasoline for the truck, or diesel for the tractor, or natural gas for the house, or shop, or barn, may not mean much to Suncor but it means a great deal to a small family farms that exists in perpetuity, teetering on the cusp of red ink. Tack on a legislated increase in minimum wages and mandatory new worker compensation remittances as the “orange brigade” fired volley after volley into the economic heart of rural Alberta.

To the second part of your question, why can’t Alberta handle a Farm Safety Act (otherwise known as the Act to Regulate your Family Farm like a Winnipeg Textile Factory)? If your reference to “can’t handle” is whipping up the country folk into a berserk-like rage to the point of armed resistance, well, yes there is a reason. Bill 6 named the Farm Safety Act purports to protect farm workers, but the name belies the totality of its effect on the rural culture, which is to allow government to monitor and regulate your business. There is nothing more pestilent-smacking to an Albertan farmer or rancher than the word regulation, ranking right up there with drought, internal parasites, mad cow disease and hemorrhoids.

You see the West, and in particular Alberta, once represented an idea – that you could make a life without selling your life to make it. It wasn’t important what you did, but it was important how you did it. Opportunity was riding in a saddle, rather than stitching one in a factory somewhere. Whether you were a spoiled city kid from North York, or an iron-willed freed slave from the Carolinas, or fragile Englishmen whose sense of self overreached reality, you came West because it meant opportunity, but more importantly it meant freedom and opportunity. Your identity became tied to it – and eventually defined by it. To the western farmer or rancher, Bill 6 didn’t mean farm safety, it meant bookish millennials in shiny George Stroumboulopoulos suits toting satchels stuffed with ipads and dried kale snacks arriving uninvited to pronounce an older squeeze needs replacement, or issue a citation because a hayshed doesn’t meet code.

Your summation is correct, rural Alberta couldn’t handle that.

“Poor political and economic conditions,” was not a grievance about the calculation of profit – it was instead a signal, a beacon if you will, flashed painfully and brightly for those that could see it – the West is under siege. The place we had come to, that everyone who came here had come to, had changed. The way we used to do business in particular had changed – the Alberta advantage, the free-wheeling, gun-slinging enterprise that built the greatest province in the Dominion now mired in taxes and regulation and inspectors. Just like everywhere else. The note the proprietors at Western Feedlot left was not so much a parting shot to the current ruling elites, it was simply a statement of reality – that we are no longer home and we are moving on. For those of us to have lived here long enough to understand, it wasn’t cryptic at all.

Hay For Equines Affected by Fort Mac Fires


(Calgary, AB) December 7, 2016 – The Alberta Equestrian Federation (AEF) is sending 1,500 bales of hay to Fort McMurray, AB, on December 16, 2016 to help support Fort McMurray equine owners through the winter. The hay will help alleviate some of the feed costs over the winter months, but also replace hay that was lost in the fires. The price of hay is slightly higher than in previous years and those in Fort McMurray typically pay an additional cost per hay bale for landed transportation.

The equine community from Alberta, across Canada, the USA and as far as the UK banded together from the moment the wild fires broke out to help the ‘horses.’ Karina Webb, President of the Tower Road Equine Association, recently praised the equine community.

“From myself as President of the Tower Road Equine Association, we are so grateful for the Equine Communities’ support. It does make a real difference. Thanks to the AEF for all your work, it is truly appreciated. The support really touches all of our hearts and is absolutely inspiring,” says Webb.

Les Oakes, AEF President says, “The AEF received many donations for ‘the equines’ since the fires of May 2016; $33,000 in Greenhawk gift cards was distributed in September so owners could replace items lost in the fires; and most recently, a donation from the Spruce Meadows Leg Up Foundation is going toward supporting this purchase of hay. As of December, 1, 2016, $53,000 in funds has been accounted for.”

Horse and equine owners share a special bond; it’s the passion for the animal, and the relationship they have with them. Whether they are for pleasure, personal, farm or ranch work, horses have a way of bringing those who own them closer together. This is what happened during the fires.

Oakes will be travelling to Fort McMurray to be on site when the hay arrives and throughout two days of distribution. He is looking forward to meeting many equine owners that the AEF kept in touch with since day one of the evacuation and who the AEF continues to hear from today.

After receiving notice of ‘hay for horses this Christmas,’ Velda Peach, Fort McMurray resident says, “I just want to thank you all at AEF for all this wonderful hay. I had $2,400 worth of hay that I lost in my barn. Thank you, thank you! Words can’t express enough of what you have done.”

Fort McMurray equine owners who registered with the AEF during the disaster will be able to pick up hay bales on Saturday, December 17th and Sunday, December 18th. Storage space and volunteers have been provided free of charge at the Clearwater Horse Club (a location that lost almost everything in the fires), Hertz Equipment Rental has donated a forklift, and AEF President, Les Oakes will also be on site to assist. It is humbling to see so many individuals and businesses continue to support and assist those in need several months after the horrible wild fires.

For more information, please visit:

Moose Jaw Limited Age Cutting Event

IC The Biscuits - Photo by: Barbara Glazer

IC The Biscuits – Photo by: Barbara Glazer


The Golden Mile Arena in Moose Jaw was the place to be July 28 &29, 2016 to watch 125 horses vie for their share of over $15,500 in prize money in the Moose Jaw Cutting Horse Show Limited Age Event. This competition designed by the Saskatchewan Cutting Horse Association (SCHA) with presenting sponsor Barry and Elaine Good, gives young cutting horses an opportunity to compete against horses of their own age and the only competition of it’s type in the province. This event is particularly noteworthy because it is the very first time that the three year old “futurity” horses will have come to town and is seen by all competitors as a stepping stone towards the major “Limited Age Events” scheduled this fall.

The 3 year old Open Futurity Aggregate sponsored by Tinman Welding and Maintenance Ltd. went to “IC The Biscuits,” a sorrel daughter of “Dual R Smokin” out of the mare “CDS Modern Millie,” owned by Scott wardley, Okotoks, Alberta. Purchased in Texas in December 2016 trainer and rider, Keith Stewart, High River, Alberta, describes her as really fun to train because she has so much feel and is so cowie. He said “[coming into the show] I was really confident that she would be good but the cow threw some surprises as her and she handled it well. I was pleasantly surprised!”

“Lill Rockin Lena” under the saddle of Gale Aykroyd took the Non-Pro Futurity Aggregate for Gale and Grant Aykroyd, Wrainwright, Alberta. Aykroyd’s purchased this sorrel mare sired by “Rockin W” out of mare “little Holly Lena” from Equistar as a yearling and with Gale’s preference for mares, she took over. Gale describes her as “a pretty cool little mare, trying to be kinda cute on a cow. She’s a lot of fun!”

Lil Rockin Lena - Photo by Barbara Glazer

Lil Rockin Lena – Photo by Barbara Glazer


As her name implies, the pretty sorrel mare “Pretty Lil Splendor” Claimed the 4 year old Open Derby for owners Wayne & Kim Knaap, Maple Creek, Saskatchewan. Sired by “Pretty Boy Cat” and out of the mare “lil Autumn Splendor” she was started as a 2 year old by James Payne in Oklahoma; Knaap’s turned her over to Mike Belof, White City, Saskatchewan in May of her 3 Year Old Year. Mike sums her up as “real smart on a cow, real gritty and physical just a real nice horse!”


Pretty Lil Splendour - Photo by: Barbara Glazer

Pretty Lil Splendour – Photo by: Barbara Glazer


The Non-Pro Derby Aggregate went to the roan stud “Grated Cocanut” for owners Les and Coreen Jack, Rocanville, Sasketchwan. Sired by “Metallic Cat” and out of the mare “Legacy Of Style” Les Purchased Grated Cocanut from John Mitchell, Weatherford, Texas early in his 3 year old year, then got him ready for the Futurity in Ft. Worth last December. Les considers Grated Cocanut to be a special horse with a good future ahead of him. He’s a pretty mover and smart on a cow: the right ingredients!


Grated Cocanut - Photo by Barbara Glazer

Grated Cocanut – Photo by Barbara Glazer


“Spoonful of Trix” sired by “Hes A Peptospoonful” out of the mare “Shes A Cuttin Cat” claimed the 5/6 year old Classic Aggregate marking solid 74’s each go fo owner Kali Fortnerr, Bracken, Saskatchewan. Trained and shown by partner Clint Christianson, this 6 year old roan mare has enjoyed a successful show career including being a 2013 Futurity finalist at the Big Sky Aged Event & Futurity, Canadian Supreme and Wrangler Futurity. In 2014 she came back as a Derby finalist as Big Sky and was the Canadian Supreme Open Derby Champion.


Spoonful Of Trix - Photo by Barbara Glazer

Spoonful Of Trix – Photo by Barbara Glazer


The Non-Pro Classic went to “Ginas Rey,” a six year gelding sired by “Dual Rey” out of the mare “Gina Badger” for owner and rider, Don Hudson of Sherwood Park, Alberta. With earnings just shy of $100,000 Don describes this horse as “the Best one he’s ever had. He’s very smart on a cow and a super athlete!” Don Purchased Ginas Rey as a 2 Year old as a sale in Reno, Nevada; Chris Johnsrude rode him ’til he was 4, then Paul Hansma took over; Don continues to work with Paul in Texas during the winter months.

Ginas Rey - Photo by Barbara Glazer

Ginas Rey – Photo by Barbara Glazer


The Non-Pro 7 Up is open to any horse 7 years of age and older, owned and shown by a Non-Pro. This year we had co-champions: “Catty Midget” owned by Les and Coreen Jack and shown by Les; and “Dualing Merada” owned ans shown by Marilyn Anderson, Calgary, Alberta. “Catty Midget” is an eight year old bay mare sired by “Little Oakie Cat” and out of Les Jack’s great producing mare “Biscas Instant Jewel”. She is one of those very special mares that don’t come along very often. Both Les and his daughter Monica have shown her with great success. “Dualing Merada” is a seven year old sorrel mare sired by “Cats Merada” and out of mare “Dual Flo.” Marilyn purchased her a a 4 year old and does all work and showing with her so can take full responsibly for this wonderful horse. This pair make a formidable team and were the 2015 CCHA Non-Pro Champions!


Catty Midget - Photo by Barbara Glazer

Catty Midget – Photo by Barbara Glazer

First Year Sell Out for Country Thunder AB!

Calgary love for Country Thunder AB.

Calgary love for Country Thunder AB.

Due to the overwhelming interest in the inaugural year for Country Thunder Alberta, organizers announced today that the festival has reached capacity and is officially sold out.

“We are so grateful to the people of Calgary for their overwhelming support. Our walk up sales were incredibly strong yesterday, helping to drive our attendance to capacity,” said Kim Blevins, director of marketing. “It is very encouraging to us as organizers of a first year show, to get this amount of support.”

Backstage Experiences are truly the best way to do Country Thunder, AB.

Backstage Experiences are truly the best way to do Country Thunder, AB. Some lucky Western Horse Review readers got to experience just that this weekend.


Although no additional tickets will be sold to this event, current ticket holders looking to upgrade to the backstage experience, can still do so at the box office at each entry gate.



Big & Rich gave a thundering performance to kick off the first night of Country Thunder Alberta on Friday, August 19, in front of the gorgeous Calgary skyline. The entire day of entertainment was stellar, from Jess Moskaluke’s electric performance, to the sweet sounds of Chris Young later in the day.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Tim McGraw is one of the headliners at Country Thunder, AB, 2016.

Fans will be treated again tonight with veteran Neal McCoy, showman Phil Vassar, Bobby Wills, Chris Janson, and topping off the evening with superstar Tim McGraw.

Special thanks to Country Thunder’s official charity, the Rotary Club of Calgary South for providing most of the staff for the event.

Special Festival Information

The Child Find is located at the medical tent adjacent to the main entry to Prairie Winds Park. Families can bring their children for a special wristband to help locate them if they happen to get lost in the park.

As the temperature rises, festival organizers are offering a water filling station for patrons to keep people hydrated in the heat. In addition, patrons are allowed to bring in a sealed bottle of water with them to the event.

A Water Station is available...

Water Stations are available in Prairie Winds, to help patrons stay hydrated this weekend.

Two-Time Champ Returns to Action


A trip north for reigning Canadian bareback champion, Jake Vold turned into an early wedding present. The 29-year-old, who will marry Sara Rutley in Ponoka, Alberta, on Saturday, has an extra $3,268 to put towards the cost of the nuptials thanks to a pair of high-marked rides in La Crete, Alberta and Dawson Creek, BC.

“Before I came back, I kind of had a number in mind I wanted to reach during the weekend,” suggests Vold, whose appearance at the Field of Dreams Stampede in La Crete marked the first time back on a bucking horse since July 10th. “I came darn close to it so I can’t complain, definitely very happy.”

Vold began his comeback from a handful of separated, cracked and fractured ribs suffered during the Ponoka Stampede, with an 85-point ride on Outlaw Buckers’ Hot Bananas on August 9th to win the La Crete stop.

“Sport Medicine told me to take a month off and it was 31 days, not that I was counting,” offers the two-time Canadian champ. “I got on that horse ten years ago in the practice pen at a jackpot. She’s just a nice, solid horse. She tested them (ribs) a bit but I knew she wasn’t going to come uncorked or anything.”

Four days later, Vold capped off the week with an 83-point marking on Kesler’s Alley Drift in Dawson Creek for a three way split of top spot.

“That’s one to watch out for I think,” proclaims Vold, who also won $5,732 for an 87-point ride that topped the Farm-City Pro Rodeo in Hermiston, Oregon in between the two Canadian stops. “I just stuck to my game plan of keeping it simple.”

“The injury really put a damper on the season I was hoping to have. I needed to get back going to try to get to the finals near the top of the pack and I needed to get my count in as well. Any time you’re sitting at home, you’re not making money.”

Logan Bird is having an August to remember. His hot streak continued with a $3,071 payday from La Crete and Dawson Creek. The Nanton, Alberta, roper has won $6,353 so far this month.

“I’ve placed at every rodeo since Morris (Manitoba Stampede) except for Bruce (Stampede),” confides the 22-year-old, who is now 2nd in the Canadian standings behind two-time Canadian champ, Shane Hanchey. “After about Strathmore, my goals changed from making the CFR to winning season

The seven-time Alberta High School Rodeo champion placed 5th in La Crete with a 9.2-second run and then split top spot at the Dawson Creek Stampede with a 9-second trip.

“I had probably one of the best calves in the pen,” says Bird of his Dawson Creek draw. “I just tried to make sure I didn’t break the barrier and that I caught him.”

Other top money winners from the final two stops on the so-called “North Run” were barrel racer, Braidy Howes ($3,266); bareback rider, Cole Goodine ($2,132); steer wrestlers, Scott Guenthner ($3,129) and Cody Cassidy ($2,872); saddle bronc riders, Chuck Schmidt ($2,580) and Layton Green
($2,448); bullrider, Scott Schiffner ($2,121); tie-down roper, Virgil Poffenroth ($2,270); team ropers, Klay White/Brett Buss ($1,805 each); novice saddle bronc rider, Dawson Hay ($1,033) and novice bareback rider, Tanner Young ($1,058).

Next on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the Jasper Heritage Rodeo in Jasper, Alberta (Aug. 17-20), the Pincher Creek Pro Rodeo in Pincher Creek, Alberta (Aug. 19-21) and the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo in Cranbrook, BC (Aug.19-21).

Doc West: The Tuf Cooper Debacle



Question: Tuf Cooper invited back to compete at the world’s richest rodeo after last year’s fiasco is a bit of a head-scratcher for me. As, for that matter, is the invitation. These rodeo cowboys need to understand it’s a new world, one where abuse of animals is simply no longer sanctioned. Period. Cooper’s apparent disregard of the intense scrutiny events like the Calgary Stampede are under, should have been, in my opinion, addressed in a longer suspension. If Cooper wants to whip his horses, he can just stay in Texas as far as I’m concerned. Don’t you agree, Doc? 

Answer: Let’s set the record straight – characterizing Tuf Cooper’s ‘over and undering’ his horse with the end of a tie down rope as “abuse” is akin to portraying Justin Trudeau’s now infamous “elbowgate” as the greatest MMA beat-down of all time. Yes, yes, to a West Coast “progressive” it’s a capital offense. Pamela Anderson might write a letter in protest (or try to write a letter. . . or, have someone write a letter for her). But ask any horse trainer worth his salt, any horse trainer worth his salt, and they will all say something like, “you have to get after one every now and then”. Physical correction (within acceptable parameters) is part of horse training and yes, it is part of horsemanship. Forget the warm and fuzzy movies, forget the charlatans, and suave peddlers, forget the money you wasted on nonsense “natural horsemanship” videos – the hard stark truth is horses sometimes require physical correction.

You can’t talk to a horse, you can’t reason with them, they are free from logic as we humans understand it. Horses don’t understand your soft coos, ladies, and they don’t give a hoot about your hollering, fellas. Horses are herd animals that work on pressure and release. Physical pressure and physical release. What Tuf did was not abuse, he applied pressure to his horse in order to obtain a response.  ‎

That being said it wasn’t the place for it. Most “cowboy hat with a whistle” types sitting in the club seats at the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, don’t break, train or even own their own horses. Some of them don’t eat meat, others bicycle to work, it wouldn’t be a stretch to say most don’t own a pair of boots – leather or rubber. They see horses as pets – to be cuddled and spoken softly to like their cat, Jerry, on Thursday Greys Anatomy night. So naturally, when people see a big bad cowboy “whip” his horse they spit out their beer and squawk. No one expects to see animals injured, or hit, or even die – because in the minds of the viewing public, those things never happen. That is the reality of the Calgary Stampede, and frankly it’s the reality of modern rodeo; rural culture – all sanitized, distilled, corrupted, packaged and finally displayed in spectacular fashion to all the city folk safe in the fold of a comfortable urban venue. It’s a marriage of opposites – culture, ideas and philosophies – bringing the country to the city, and as with all challenging relationships, both partners need to compromise enough to make it work, but not so much as to lose what made the marriage worth it in the first place.

The Stampede board, committees and directors need to realize that their job is not to simply bend to the whim of Hollywood activists and PETA zealots. They have a responsibility to stand firm, to educate and explain ethical, yet practical realities of animal husbandry. However, in this case even ordinary folks may have cringed a little, because Tuf’s display was cringe-worthy after all, which brings me to my final point. The cowboys also have a responsibility to realize that they are no longer competing in Terrell, East Texas – they are on an international stage with millions of viewers. Certain sensibilities need to prevail. In other words, think a bit. That means you too, Cooper. Just because your mamma named you “Tuf,” doesn’t mean you can’t use your head a bit more, and the end of your rope a little bit less.

Doc West: Hat Crimes & Courage

Hat-CrimeIllustration by Dave Elston

Q: I attended a western horse event mid-Autumn, and was chided by a rather stylish appearing mature woman for wearing a straw hat in the middle of October. Now, I know the old-time rule: felt is worn between Labour day and the May long weekend, and straw in between, but my question is . . . is it really necessary to abide by this rather outdated – in my mind – fashion statute of western etiquette in the 21st century?

 A: Necessity my friend, is a relative term. There are few items in the culture of the West that carry the same iconic weight as the cowboy hat. As an old cowboy saying goes, “It’s the last thing you take off and the first thing that is noticed.” First designed in 1865 by John B. Stetson, the “Boss of the Plains” were originally all felt of some variety, worn by cowboys from the North Saskatchewan all the way to the Rio Grande. Straws and palm leafs followed to add comfort and coolness for those southwestern cowboys working in the Texas Panhandle heat.

As straw hats gained popularity, they were found to be superior in the heat of the summer, protecting from heat and sun while felt hats were generally worn in winter (protecting from moisture and cold). Eventually this evolved and crystalized into the ‘Labour Day/May long weekend’ customary switch. Now, here in Canada, you will see northern cowboys wearing felt on cooler days past the May long weekend or alternatively our southern cousins wearing a straw well past Labour Day. Many working cowboys in Canada wear a felt year round, while a cowpuncher in New Mexico might own only straws or palm leafs.

So, no it’s not necessary. 

However, as I stated, necessity is relative. It never hurts to respect long standing western traditions and wearing the correct hat at the correct time of year will help you with that. More important than the felt/straw rule is to pay attention to the manufacture, shape and condition of your hat. Make sure your hat doesn’t look like you drove over it with a skidster. Mud, slop and other organic matter on your hat is not cool and does not make you a real cowboy. Ladies, please try to avoid the ‘bar star’ leopard print and zebra stripe hats with chin strings. For the fellas, the black crushable $9.99 ‘felties’ and the Corona straw beach hats are a ‘no no’ in the real West.

Finally, whether you wear felt or straw, or something else, the cardinal sin is a cowboy hat worn backwards. Frontend front, backend back – and in Alberta, that goes for you too, Premier Notley.

Q: What exactly, do you think John Wayne meant when he said, “Courage is being scared to death – and saddling up anyway?”

A: John Wayne had a way of breathing American realism into English abstraction. Before Hollywood began to influence western culture at the turn of the 20th century, courage was the exclusive realm of gilded knights with pleasant sounding Wessex accents and impeccable manners. Whether it was St. George slaying a dragon or King Arthur with Lancelot and Galahad charging down upon Saxon invaders, courage was a lofty ideal for great men, in a far, far away land.

However, in the early 1900’s, in the New World, in a new continent, and an unfamiliar and dangerous country, a brand-new mythology began to evolve, one shaped by the vast expanse of the American West. Courage was slowly but surely redefined, largely by ordinary men doing ordinary things. Every slouched-back cowpuncher, every bent-back sod buster, every crooked-back card speeler was just as fine a gentlemen as England’s most grand heroes, and equally courageous. Staking a claim in the Klondike, maintaining a trap line off the North Saskatchewan, saddling a green colt in the Texas Panhandle, or even stepping one foot from civilization into the abyss of endless prairie to do anything, simply anything at all, alone, took courage. The West didn’t change the idea of courage – it individualized it, as it individualized most everything. Every man who climbed into a saddle, and most men climbed into a saddle every day, faced some version of personal risk. Being scared, and saddling up anyway, was a necessity to life in the American West. It was okay to be scared, you saddled up nonetheless, and that took courage. 

Today the analogy of “saddling up” is all but lost to the modern urbanized hipster, irrespective of the frontier beard and woodsman flannel. Yet the idea that courage is not some high falutin’ ideal from folklore, but instead is real, and dirty and smells of rust and sweat and is both ordinary and exceptional at the same time – that lives on. And we can thank John Wayne for it.

Have a question for Doc West burning in your back pocket? We welcome you to direct it to 


Guy Weadick Days 2016

Deomostration of Roman Riding during Guy Weadick Days Media day.

Demonstration of Roman Riding during Guy Weadick Days Media event.


HIGH RIVER, AB – Saddle up and get ready to experience Guy Weadick Days like you have never before, taking place June, 24th- 26th, at the High River Agricultural Society Grounds. The High River Ag. Society, together with C5 Rodeo Company, will bring forward a professional rodeo, World Professional Chuckwagon action and a variety of family friendly activities.

“C5 Rodeo Company is excited to bring professional rodeo back to High River” said Gillian Shields, rodeo coordinator at C5 Rodeo. “We intend to provide an authentic and captivating rodeo production to keep spectators on the edge of their seat, while bringing opportunity for the community to prosper and come together in celebrating High River’s roots.”


Gillian Shields, Rodeo Coordinator of C5 Rodeo.

Gillian Shields, Rodeo Coordinator of C5 Rodeo.


The High River Agricultural society is also looking forward to professional rodeo returning with a whole new approach. “This is a new direction for the High River AG Society, I believe that the weekend will be a true family event. The board is excited about the production that C5 Rodeo Company will bring for the weekend” said Darren Hunter, President of the High River Agricultural Society.

About Guy Weadick Days

Guy Weadick days is an annual celebration in High River, Alberta named after the famous rodeo legend Guy Weadick, who was a resident of High River. Guy Weadick was the founder of the Calgary Stampede, and contributed to many traditions in the sport of rodeo we see today. This year the event will take place June 23 – June 26, 2016, with 3 Canadian Professional Rodeo performances and 4 World Professional Chuckwagon heats. Guy Weadick Days is owned and operated by the High River Agricultural Society. The not-for-profit organization was registered March 1st 1907. It has been an active and integral part of the agricultural community ever since.

Guy Weadick Days Concerts

Friday 9 pm – High River’s own Justin Ament.

Saturday 9 pm Emerson Drive

Pro Rodeo and WPCA Chuckwagons Schedule

Thursday: Chucks 7pm to 9 pm Friday: Rodeo 5pm-6:30 pm/Chucks 7pm-9pm Saturday: Rodeo Slack 9am-11am/Rodeo 2pm-4pm/Chucks 7pm-9pm Sunday: Rodeo noon-2pm/Chucks 4pm-6pm

To get tickets go to:


Q’s & A’s With Stampede Royalty

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.

Photo by Laura Parry of Wildheart Photography.


Western Horse Review sat down with Chelsey, the second Calgary Stampede princess about her experiences, her stampede horse, beauty, learning experiences and much more about her exciting life experience as Stampede royalty!

Can you please tell me what has been one of your most memorable experiences of being part of the royalty to date?

It’s so hard to pick just one, but one of the especially memorable moments was during Aggie days.The entire week was such a blast, we got to do so many exciting things and I loved hanging out with the kids, and of course It was our first grand entry as a trio so that in itself was sure something! But the very first time we were waiting in the alleyway on our horses, when they began to open up for the rodeo they began playing AC/DC (which of course is a heartwarmer for me on any day!), and when the announcer began his line “welcome to the Calgary Staaaaaampeeede!” which we’ve all heard so so many times as spectators, it was almost surreal for me. It really hit me, I think possibly for the first time, of the role that I’m in and that I was in a once in a lifetime spot, preparing to do what I love to do most. Really geared me up for the rest of the season and especially Stampede itself.

What are you still looking forward to?

Of course Stampede week will probably be the most exciting part of the whole year, however, I’m really looking forward to attending the Handhills Lake Stampede. Not only is this their 100th year, but coming from Drumheller, it is like a hometown rodeo for me. I already have so many friends and family members that are planning to be there to see us and I’m so excited to be able to be a part of something larger and hopefully make my hometown proud!


Chelsey all cowboyed up.

Chelsey all cowboyed up.


What have you learned about the experience thus far?

Well of course we’ve been through tons of great training, which has offered an incredible amount of knowledge for the role, but on a more personal level I’ve learned a lot about myself as well. Coming from the country, I was raised pretty much a tomboy (when I was little my dream was to be a NASCAR driver). But I grew up tinkering on vehicles, riding quads, playing in the dirt, and hunting. Having this opportunity introduced me (and everyone else) to a completely new side of me, which even I didn’t know existed. I have opened up and discovered that I can be, for lack of a better description, a Princess, and even enjoy getting pampered and all dolled up for events while still remaining true to myself and my roots.


Going for a nice relaxing trail ride.

Going for a nice relaxing trail ride.


Chelsey bow hunting.

Chelsey bow hunting.


Can you tell me about your clothes and boots? Do you have a favorite outfit?

We are so incredible lucky to be able to work with the sponsors that we have. Each and every outfit and pair of boots seems to out-do the last and we are beyond grateful. One of my most favorite outfits though, was one that we received from Janine of Janine’s Custom Creations, it is a full leather jacket and skirt that is white leather and brown lamb suede (SO soft!). It has fringe all throughout as well as some subtle bling of course, but whenever we wear it, we truly feel like royalty. It pairs with a pair of custom cow hide boots from Alberta Boot Co. that are a shimmery brown and actually have our crowns lasered onto the front! It means the world to us that with these boots, we get to carry our crowns with us and don’t have to completely give them up at the end of September.

How do you ladies always look so beautiful?? Any hair, make up or nail tips you can share?

Let me tell you, we certainly don’t wake up like this! To start with though, we use all Aria skin care products specialized for each of our skin types as well as the Aria makeup line, which has been a lifesaver! The trick with the makeup is to apply it inside and then go sit in your car and re-evaluate, because no matter what, it always looks different in natural sunlight! For the hair, I never curl freshly washed hair or else it becomes limp and unmanageable within a few hours, go spend some time with your horse before curling it to get it a little dirty first which helps lock in the curl! For nails, our sponsor nail technicians at Lushus Concepts are miracle workers, I had never touched my nails before this year and they make them look amazing. I keep them short otherwise they break pretty quick working in the barns and such.

Chelsey enjoying some nice hot Starbucks.

Chelsey enjoying some nice hot Starbucks.


Can you please tell me about your Stampede horse?

I’ve been told that my Stampede horse, Snoopy, and I are kindred spirits. I think we’re the most competitive pair out of the group, no matter what we’re doing. Snoopy has one of the biggest personalities I’ve seen in a horse and makes me laugh every time I’m with him. He always has to be watching and waiting to help out while I groom and tack up, he will have his head literally cranked right around to ensure he doesn’t miss a thing. He also has to get every job done as fast as possible…life is a race for Snoop, and let me tell you, he usually wins. We have compared him a couple times to Justin Timberlake with his charming personality, and his love to dance (especially in the arena to O’Canada). He is a quirky guy who knows his job inside and out, and we definitely feed off of each other’s energy, especially when AC/DC comes on.

Chelsey cruising down the street in Calgary with Snoopy.

Chelsey cruising down the street in Calgary with Snoopy.


Can you tell us about a day in your life, when you are required to appear as part of the Stampede Royalty?

First off, there is hardly a routine to our lives, each day is different, and sometimes a surprise! But a typical day starts off with getting ourselves all dolled up and into whatever casual or formal outfit required. We usually meet on park and carpool over with our chaperone to the event itself. We check in with whoever is the contact for that event and carry on with whatever duty is expected of us. After it’s done, I like to come home and do nothing but unwind for about 15 minutes before even taking my makeup off. We typically like to prepare for each event by researching the event itself as well as who the guests and audience will be so that we can go in knowing as much as we can to avoid any unexpected surprises. It also makes the hosts feel more appreciated that we took the time to learn about their cause or hopes for the event, whatever they may be.


Chelsey, Maggie, and Vanessa chatting it up with etalk.

Chelsey, Maggie, and Vanessa chatting it up with etalk.


For others who might aspire to try out for the Royalty competition, do you have any tips or advice to offer?

For me, during the whole competition, I kept being told to just be myself and let my real personality shine. So that’s what I did and here I am. I typicall am very positive and bubbly and I didn’t hold back at all. The judges are looking for three genuine girls who are true to themselves and are grateful for the opportunity to represent the Stampede and what it stands for. So being your true self is a huge step in the right direction, nobody wants to see someone become somebody they’re not just because they’re in the spotlight or feel they need to impress others.

Chelsey pictured with the London bridge.

Chelsey pictured with the London bridge.

The 2017 Queen and Princesses Contest is now open. Applications accepted until August 15, 2016.