Skijordue

 

STORY & PHOTOS BY JENN WEBSTER

It’s official. Canadians might have a slight obsession with Skijoring. Because if Skijordue held on February 11, 2017 at the Calgary Polo Club was any indication, the concept just grew in popularity with hundreds of stoked fans in the country. Which later translated to thousands of photos, videos and all kinds of media coverage going viral across the globe.

By all accounts, Skijordue 2017, brought to us by the Alberta Skijor Socierty (check out the hashtag, #ASS) was an epic cocktail of speed, snow and horsepower. More than 600 people showed up to witness three events run over the course of the day; circuit, long jump and sprint.

Inside the polo cantina, a culinary delight of cheese fondue and adult bevvies were on hand, plus the grilling of more 300 Spolumbos Sausages wrapped in fresh baked Continental Rolls were available on the outside grills. Western Horse Review was proud to sponsor the day and as we predicted, Skijordue 2017 was the not-be-missed extreme sporting event of the year!

Congratulations to Sam and Graham Mitchell of Millarville, AB, and all the people behind the scenes who came together to put on such a fantastical day.

Make no mistake, this was a badass affair – with a hearty-serving of mind-boggling equine athleticism and skier mayhem at every glance.

There were also several moments of elation and pure greatness.

And if that weren’t enough, Skijordue might become the social and fashion event of the year too. Everything from the spandex and neon styles wonderfully anachronistic of the 80s, to fur and fringe of the modern West, were on display.

 

But one of our distinctly favorite parts of the event was the fact that people of all equestrian disciplines were brought together at Skijordue. Jumpers, team penners, polo players, ropers, trail riders, reiners, etc. alike, came to try out something new and as a result, benefited the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association.

It was a perfect day.

Stay tuned to the March/April issue of Western Horse Review for full coverage of the day!

Skijordue 2017

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

There is an event happening in southern Alberta this February 11, that is more anticipated than the current blast of snow we’re receiving. With fast ponies, plus skiers or snowboarders looking for their next thrill, Skijordue 2017 promises to be the not-be-missed extreme sporting event of the year!

Held at the Calgary Polo Club and in support of the Prairie Sky Equine Assisted Therapy Association, Skijordue will feature sprint and circuit races, plus a long jump. Oh and there will be jaw-dropping trick riding stunts performed by Alanna Nolan and Western Horse Review’s own Sally Bishop!

There will also be Yodelling & Alphorn performance from members of the astonishing Yodel Club Heimattreu – Jodlerklub Heimattreu, Calgary Canada

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Gates open at 10:30am. Races start at 11:00am sharp.

Flaunt your fanciest furs & glammest glasses to win the most Stylish Spectator prize package from uber-chic modern western boutique Cody & Sioux!

Inside the Calgary Polo Club Cantina there will be a patio and heaters, bonfires, a Race Commentator, DJ and Cheese Fondue, Bratwurst & Beverage concession (*cash only*). PLUS! Freestyle ski/board exhibitions.

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

Your $5, (cash only please), grants you entry plus a bunch of door prize draws throughout the day, so keep your ticket close & your ears open!  DJ G will be spinning mad techno yodelling mixes to get the patio dance floor bumpin’. This is set to be the most exciting snow-equine-fromage event of the season!

IT’S SNOWING, SO COME CHECK IT OUT!

Photo by Twisted Tree Photography.

So much awesomeness coming together, here’s some of what the Alberta Skijoring Society #ASS has got lined up for you:

*FAAAAST horses & ninja skiers from far & wide.
*Groovy tunes & goofy door prize draws from DJ Graham Mitchell
*Entertaining erudite race commentary from the incomparable Alan Leys
*Jaw dropping trick riding from stunners Alanna Nolan & Sally Bishop
*Yodelling & Alphorn performance from members of the astonishing Yodel Club Heimattreu – Jodlerklub Heimattreu, Calgary Canada
*Epic images from Chad Rowbotham Photography
*Rad video coverage from Atomic10 Inc.
*Proficient paramedics Courtney Isbister & Radar Goddard
*Handsome handy marshalling by Dace Cochlan & Dave Callaway
*Judicious judging by Tracy Thorbjornsen & Anne Thompson

*Venue vistas with SNOW from Gordon Ross Remax

*Truck-Truck viewing experience extravaganza with uber host JR Cox of The Shooting Edge Inc & William Evans Canada

*Prizes prizes PRIZES!!! From: Little Monkey Metal Works, Smithbilt Hats Inc., SS Chaps, Bar T5 Agra Services, Country Living and Garden Centre, Monod Sports, LTD, Sporting Life, Cody & Sioux, Western Specialties, Cam Clark Ford, Water’s Edge Pub, Jane’s, Coffee shop, delicous food and fine art, Sweetgrass Deli & Eatery, Wild Rose Brewery, Knaughty Nets & Pets, Chuckwagon Cafe

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.

How To Spell Relief… W-I-N

 

CANADIAN PROFESSIONAL RODEO ASSOCIATION

For Barrhead’s Kolton Schmidt and American partner, Shay Carroll, it took nine rounds to get the monkey off their backs and win their first cheque of this WNFR. But when they did it, they did it right, making that cheque a first place payoff ($26,239 per man) while recording the fastest time of the rodeo through nine rounds — a sensational 3.6 seconds.

Schmidt, riding the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year, Badger, and Carroll had come to the Finals with a legitimate shot at a world title but encountered a series of frustrations though the first eight days of the rodeo.

“It’s kind of funny,” Schmidt chuckled. “This was the fastest time of the week and the slowest I’ve gone in my mind. I think I’ve just been going too fast up until now. I knew with my horse and my heeler if I did my job, it would work out.”

Carroll agreed. “I picked this guy for a reason at the start of the year,” he said of his heading partner. “I’m not surprised at all. I knew he’d rope like he can and I just wanted to be ready.”

Ponoka’s Levi Simpson and his Arrowwood, Alberta partner Jeremy Buhler bounced back from their first no time of this Finals in the eighth round to post a 4.6 second run to place 4th on this night and move up a notch in the average race to second spot. The Alberta cowboys are 8 of 9 and just 1.6 seconds out of first place in the average and the $67,000 first place aggregate cheques.

Leading the world standings heading into the final round are Luke Brown of Stephenville, Texas and Jake Long of Coffeyville, Kansas.

The phenomenal comeback story of this WNFR, bareback rider, Orin Larsen, placed in the round for the 4th night in a row. He’s had to battle back from re-injuring the rib-tear he suffered back in September. After being blanked through the first five rounds, he made the statement, “I have no choice – I have to win.” Since making that pronouncement, winning is exactly what he’s done, including taking his first-ever victory lap at the Thomas and Mack Arena in go round number eight.

Tonight the Manitoba cowboy was 86.5 on Pete Carr Pro Rodeo’s former world champion bareback horse, MGM Dirty Jacket, to collect a third place cheque of $15,653 and give him $62,190 over the last four rounds.

Three time Canadian champion Jake Vold continued his outstanding WNFR, placing 4th for an $11,000 payday. The Ponoka product has also climbed to 3rd place overall in the average at a finals that has seen him win three rounds and place in six overall.

Tanner Aus was the top gun in the round with an 88.5 score and Tim O’Connell continues to hold a comfortable lead in the world championship race heading to the final day. Wayne Vold Rodeo’s outstanding grey, True Grit, carried Ty Breuer to 83.5 and a sixth place cheque of $4,230 to kick off the go round.

The saddle bronc riding wasn’t as good to the youthful Canadian trio as it had been in recent rounds that saw all three place on each of the previous three nights. In round nine, Big Valley’s Zeke Thurston was out of the money with a 77.5 score while both Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) and Jake Watson (Hudson’s Hope, BC)  were bucked off. The silver lining  in this cloud is that despite bucking off for the first time in nine rounds, Watson will go to the last go round in first place in the average, with 663 points on eight rides, just one point ahead of reigning world champion and overall leader, Jacobs Crawley. Thurston is another point back in third spot in the average.

Eighteen year-old Ryder Wright has ridden five horses at the 2016 WNFR. And he’s won all five of those go-rounds. This time around, the youngest of the remarkable Utah family, posted an 88.5 on Cervi Championship Rodeo’s Vitalix Alpha Dog for the win.

2012 World Champion (and Ryder’s uncle) Jesse Wright rode Calgary Stampede’s Tokyo Bubbles to an 85.5 for second place in the round.

A couple of races tightened up in this second last round of what cowboys call ‘the Marathon’. In the bull riding, Brennon Eldred posted the third highest score in the history of the WNFR – 94.5 points – to win the round and close to within shooting distance of two time champion Sage Kimzey for this year’s title. The Sulphur, Oklahoma man rode D and H Cattle’s SweetPro’s Bruiser for the $26,230 cheque and forces a showdown with Kimzey and third place man, Shane Proctor, on Saturday night.

In the barrel race, Mary Burger who brought a sizable lead to the Finals has seen that lead eroded by the amazing performance of Amberleigh Moore. Burger, the 68 year-old former champion hit a barrel in round nine while Moore, the Keizer, Oregon cowgirl, won the round with a 13.49 and like the bull riding, the barrel racing championship will come down to the final runs on the final night to determine the 2016 title holder.

The steer wrestling go round winner was Riley Duvall in 3.6 while Tyler Waguespack of Gonzales, Louisiana leads the average and the world standings heading to the final round. And in the tie down roping it was Marty Yates and former world All-Around champion Ryan Jarrett sharing the victory lap with a pair of 7.4 second runs. Brazilian Marcos Costa leads the world with Yates who started in 15th place now sitting second but neither man is in the average. That gives a bit of an edge to the third place man, Oklahoman Hunter Herrin, who is holding down 4th place in the all-important, and very lucrative, average. This race too will be decided in Saturday night’s tenth and final go-round.

Hay For Equines Affected by Fort Mac Fires

hay-bales-aef 

(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: www.albertaequestrian.com

Cow Up on the Coast

Cayley Wilson

Cayley Wilson and Drivin Stylish were the Open Futurity Champions.

 

The saying goes, “There is a first time for everything” and in the case of the Cow Up On The Coast horse show it was an event of many firsts. This National Reined Cow Horse Association approved show was the first Futurity/Derby and Horse Show offered by the newest affiliate club, The Canadian Coast Reined Cow Horse Association (CCRCHA). The show held July 29-31, 2016, offered a full slate of classes for every level, great prizes, $15,000 in added monies, entertainment and even a sponsored steak dinner.

“We tried really hard to make this a fun show for everyone, from those new to cow horse, to seasoned competitors who wanted to try their hand at winning great prizes or testing out their futurity horses,” said Cayley Wilson the CCRCHA president. “Our mission, and reason for starting this affiliate club, was to bring more opportunities for cow horse enthusiasts to show their horses and grow the sport in our area. The Cow up On The Coast  Show was just the beginning of future events and efforts,” he added.

John Swales and

John Swales and Chics Made Me Do It in the Open Futurity.

The show was held at the Langley Riders Outdoor Equestrian Center, a small park-like facility just 40 minutes from the U.S./Canadian border. The facility gave riders a chance to show outdoors, camp, and sit along the banks of the arena while watching competitors and enjoying the beautiful weather. For some, it was their first time showing in an NRCHA approved event, others were debuting their three-year-old futurity horses, and for many spectators it was their first time seeing a cow horse event.

“I learned so much about cow horse”, said one spectator, “I had no idea there was a triathlon event like this for horses. These horses were amazing and so athletic!”
After the first day of showing on Friday, competitors were treated to a catered steak dinner and educational presentation by Dr. Ela Misuno of Vetoquinol and Zylkene, one of the show’s premiere sponsors. This gave competitors and family a chance to enjoy great food, learn about horse health, and enjoy the camaraderie of fellow riders. The entertainment on Saturday night was provided by fellow competitors,  who pulled out their lariats and participated in the steer stopping and team doctoring competition. These events seem to bring everyone together in a casual way.

“It was pretty fun watching!,” said Roxanne Sapergia as she surveyed from the grassy banks alongside the arena. An impromptu herding dog competition broke out as a few competitors took turns sending in their cow dogs to demonstrate their abilities in gathering and putting away cattle after each go around. Onlookers cheered, hooted and hollered as the dogs worked, and everyone enjoyed the evening’s events. “This is the best time I have had at a horse show in a long time” said Sapergia, who promised to come back next year for this event.

Bart Holowath and

Bart Holowath and SDP Blu Reys, the NP Derby Champions.

As with any show, sponsors and volunteers are the backbone for a successful event. “From donating cash, prizes, product, services and countless of hours of behind-the-scenes work, it took a village to make this show happen, for it to be so successful, and fun to boot!” said Katie Wilson, the CCRCHA treasurer and one of the powerhouses behind the event.

“We are very thankful for everyone’s support” she added, “I think this association is going to really grow the sport of cow horse in our area. This may have been our first show, but it is just the beginning of many more to come.”
Wilson also mentioned her hopes to ‘Co-Host’ a show next year with neighboring affiliate, The North West Reined Cow Horse Association. “It would be great to be able to draw more people from the US and make it a show that counts towards their World Show qualifications, too. It will give people a reason to come across the border to show in Canada and hopefully build more strength in our cow horse community.”

Mark Parson (right) accepts...

Mark Parson (right) accepts the reserve championship of the NP Derby from president Cayley Wilson.

The Association wanted to give a special thanks to Dean Tufton of DT Ranches for donating a breeding to his great Stallion, Hickory Holly Time and Chad Vanlandingham who donated a breeding to Spots Hot. These monies all went towards the payouts. The CCRCHA would also like to thank San Juan Ranch/Santa Cruz Animal Health for stepping up and sending not only cash, but amazing prizes and gift cards. Vetoquinol/Zylkene donated grooming bags filled with product, gave cash and sponsored the amazing steak dinner and presentation. Local Langley Realtor, Amy Brattebo reached deep in her pockets to help support the first show and get the association off the ground. Roger Brown gave not only his time, but his knowledge and expertise was, no doubt, an integral part of the smooth operations behind the scenes. Thanks to all who drove from far to support us at Cow Up On The Coast!

Said Wilson, “There are many, many others who gave support in so many ways. So from all of us here at the CCRCHA, WE THANK YOU!!”

Dale Clearwater.

Dale Clearwater.

Heather McLevin rides Have A Drink On Me in the NP Bridle Spectacular.

Heather McLevin rides Have A Drink On Me in the NP Bridle Spectacular.

Seth Abrahamson Level 1 Open Derby Champion aboard PG Thunderstruck.

Seth Abrahamson Level 1 Open Derby Champion aboard PG Thunderstruck.

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.

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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.

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Big-and-Rich

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

Jake-Vold-DawsonCreekStampede2016-Mike_Copeman_copyright

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.

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“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.”

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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.

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“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.”

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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.”

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“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.”

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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.

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“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
leader.”

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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.

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“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.”

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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).

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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

tufcooper

ILLUSTRATION BY DAVE ELSTON

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.