Olds Welcomes the Return of Pro Rodeo

Story by Piper Whelan

Pro Rodeo Canada General Manager Dan Eddy shares his excitement for the inaugural Oldstoberfest at a press conference last week (photo: Olds College).

Pro Rodeo Canada General Manager Dan Eddy shares his excitement for the inaugural Oldstoberfest at a press conference in June (photo: Olds College).

Professional rodeo will return to Olds, Alberta, this fall, and it’s arriving with a cultural twist. The first Oldstoberfest, a celebration combining the tradition of rodeo with Bavarian culture, will be held Sept. 18-20 in Olds. The highlights of this event are a Pro Rodeo Canada-sanctioned rodeo at the Olds Regional Exhibition Grounds and a Bavarian-themed beer gardens in the Olds Cow Palace.

“Oldstoberfest is the first event of its kind, and unique to anywhere else in the world. Combining our western prairie heritage with German tradition gives an opportunity for incoming visitors to our community to celebrate our history in a new and innovative way,” said Gillian Shields, general manager for Oldstoberfest, at a press conference in June.

Gillian Shields, general manager for Oldstoberfest and a former Miss Rodeo Canada, introduces this new event to the people of Olds (photo: Olds College).

Gillian Shields, general manager for Oldstoberfest and a former Miss Rodeo Canada, introduces this new event to the people of Olds (photo: Olds College).

The event will feature rodeo performances on Friday and Saturday. The beer gardens will be fashioned after the German-inspired theme, and there will be two evening grandstand concerts after the rodeo. The weekend will also feature a variety of community activities, including an open house at Olds College to spotlight a number of their programs.

“The idea behind the Oldstoberfest rodeo is unique, innovative and a perfect example of what Pro Rodeo Canada is striving to accomplish moving forward,” said Dan Eddy, general manager of Pro Rodeo Canada. “The Oldstoberfest team is thinking outside the box in their efforts to change the face of Canadian rodeo, build on its excitement and bring it to new audiences.”

Oldstoberfest promised cowboys and cowgirls going Bavarian style for a fun and innovative weekend of rodeo (photo: Olds College).

Oldstoberfest promises cowboys and cowgirls going Bavarian style for a fun and innovative weekend of rodeo (photo: Olds College).

Olds formerly played host to a pro rodeo during the now-defunct Olds Fair & Rodeo. Last year, Olds hosted a small Octoberfest celebration at the Pomeroy Inn & Suites, one of the partners of this new event. With these two types of community events meeting to create a larger and more inventive celebration, it is hoped this will become an annual event.

The organizers are projecting 8,000-12,000 visitors for “the world’s first Bavarian rodeo,” and they are sure this creative spin on rodeo will become a must-see event. “We want to raise the standard of rodeo, increase community engagement and maximize economic impact for the Town of Olds and Mountain View County,” said Shields.

Correction: an earlier version of this story stated there was a rodeo performance on the Sunday night. The performances are actually on the Friday and Saturday of the event.


Marshall Tops Inaugural Hometown Event


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For the first time, Pro Rodeo Canada bareback riders were in the spotlight this past weekend. While there are a handful of bullriding-only events and the annual Wildwood Bronc Bustin’ for saddle bronc riders on the yearly schedule, bareback competitors have never before enjoyed a night for themselves until now. And the organizers of the event in Bowden, AB, last Saturday night couldn’t have written a better script.

“It was an amazing feeling when they crowned me champion,” offered Ky Marshall, who won the event in his hometown with an 87.5-point ride on C5 Rodeo’s Fabio in the final round. “There were lots of local people there that I knew. The crowd was pretty wild. It was a good, fun night.”

Marshall, who split the first round with four-time Canadian champion, Dusty LaValley with an 83point score, won $4,270 on the night. He also added another $1,143 from the Bonnyville Pro Rodeo in Bonnyville, AB, and the 102nd annual Bruce Stampede in Bruce, AB.

“I only had about sixty-four hundred won before this,” revealed the 23-year-old, reigning Canadian All-Around champion, “This could be a big turning point for me for the CFR.

“Once you get through the big rodeos like Ponoka, and you don’t have much won, you start scrambling and worrying. But there is still lots of money to be won. Some guys start slowing down now and there aren’t as many Americans coming up, so you can still win a lot.”

Cole Goodine is also hoping his two wins in Bonnyville and Bruce will be a turning point for him. The 25-year-old grabbed cheques worth $2,296 to push his unofficial Pro Rodeo Canada bareback season earnings to nearly 77-hundred dollars.

“Considering how this year’s been a struggle with consistency and injuries, it’s nice to be able to pick up a couple of wins,” said Goodine, shortly after his 81.5-point trip on Franklin Rodeo’s Twenty Three on Sunday afternoon in Bruce. “That was my third time on that horse. At the CFR last year, she threw me over the front, spun me around, pulled me underneath and stomped on me. That was in the back of my mind before I got on today.”

“I’m really fighting to move up in the standings. The cheques are starting to add up. I’m getting closer to the target.”

Tie-down roper, Riley Warren considered himself on the bubble for a CFR berth before winning $4,044 from the Medicine Hat Stampede in Medicine Hat, AB, and the Bruce Stampede.

“This should shoot me right up there in the standings now,” speculated Warren, who was 8.3seconds in Bruce to win the rodeo for the second time in four years. “Seems like you have some rodeos that you always do good at. This is a lucky place for me.”

There was also a pair of bullriding-only events to round out the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule. Ty Pozzobon on Merritt, BC won the Cochrane Classic Bull Riding in Cochrane, AB, as part of his $5,528 weekend while Tim Lipsett was the champion of the White Lightning Dodge Professional Cowboy Crunch in Oyen, AB, part of a $5,554 weekend payday for the Saskatchewan cowboy.

Other top money winners from the weekend included bareback riders, Logan Hodson ($4,084), Matt Lait ($3,986) and Dusty LaValley ($3,199); bullriders Tanner Girletz ($3,866), Jordan Hansen ($3,571) and Zane Lambert ($3,356); saddle bronc riders, Tyrel Larsen ($2,786) and Sam Kelts ($2,612); steer wrestlers, Rowdy Hays ($3,812) and Straws Milan ($2,800); barrel racers, Deb Guelly ($3,478) and Braidy Howes ($2,983); tie-down ropers, Clint Arave ($2,927) and Ryan Jarrett ($2,683) and team ropers, Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler ($2,692 each) and Brett/Justin McCarroll ($1,936 each).

Next up on the Pro Rodeo Canada schedule is the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo in High Prairie, AB (July 28-29), Bulls for Breakfast in Camrose, AB (July 30-Aug 2), Mighty Fraser Pro Rodeo in Abbotsford, BC (July 31-Aug 2), Strathmore Stampede in Strathmore, AB, the ninth stop on the Wrangler Canadian Professional Rodeo Tour (July 31-Aug 3) and the North Peace Stampede in Grimshaw, AB (Aug 1-2).


Western Wedding – Prairie Love

An excerpt from our January/February issue, where we annually carry a western wedding feature. Be sure to subscribe and catch next years edition.

Date: August 10, 2013

Photographer: Nicole Wade

Ceremony Location: Willow Creek Ranch, Saskatchewan


Their Story: Ashley is a Saskatchewan farm girl who grew up riding good horses and making her way through the 4H ranks. She was soon led to the rodeo arena, where she competed in college rodeos and progressed to many rodeo associations across Alberta and Saskatchewan. Tyler, on the other hand, did not grow up in the industry, but got his first taste of agriculture at 19, working on a grain farm, outside of Kindersley, Saskatchewan. He stayed with farming, going on to attend Olds College. It was there that he developed a love for roping, which would lead him to compete on the University of Lethbridge college rodeo team when he moved on to study there.

It was the commonality of the love of the rodeo and farming industries that brought the two together. In 2009, the couple met while both were employed at a feedlot outside of High River, Alberta.

“It was love at first sight. After getting to know one another, we realized how much we had in common and found it hard to beleive we were both living in High River, but grew up not far from each other near Kindersley, Saskatchewan.”

After a short time of travelling back and forth, trying their hand at a challenging long-distance relationship, both Ashley and Tyler moved back to Saskatchewan and were engaged by the spring of 2012.


The Horses: With a background heavily laden with horses, the couple wanted to include them in their big day. Tyler’s uncle drove the groom and groomsmen with his grand team of Clydesdales, while the bride and bridesmaids made their entrance in a wagon driven by a local neighbor.

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Dress: Ashley’s dress caught her eye as soon as she laid eyes on it. It had a pretty sweetheart neckline and feminine layers of lace lining the bottom.

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Bridesmaids: The bridal party dresses were made by Alfred Angelo; chocolate brown in colour, with matching Macie Bean cowboy boots and turquoise jewelry from Arizona.DSC_3766-ruby

Men’s Attire: To pick up on Ashley’s chosen colours, the groom and groomsmen wore turquoise shirts, chocolate brown tuxedo jackets and Cinch jeans; their attire was wrapped up with boots and hats, of course.DSC_3482-ruby


Cake: The cake was a 3-tiered creation, wrapped in turquoise and brown ribbon. With a Montana Silversmith cake topper and fondant horseshoes adorning the front, it made a pretty statement for their western wedding.

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Favours: Ashley’s bouquet was one of her favorite parts of the day. It was fashioned from old antique brooches that she had collected, stuffed into the center of white Gerbera daisies and roses. The arrangements were wrapped in burlap and accented with turquoise pieces.

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Cow Horse on the Prairies



Ron Farrow on Smokin Frizz

Ron Farrow on Smokin Frizz at the Martensville SRCHA show, held May 23-24.

The Saskatchewan Reined Cow Horse Association has had a few challenges this year, as have most associations requiring cattle for their events. We cannot thank Clint and Krista Kowalski enough for hosting the SRCHA Show at the OK Corral in Martensville, SK. Special thanks go out to JAG – Brennin Jack for supplying the cattle. This show was held May 23-24, thanks to the efforts of Clint and his crew, and a great time was had by all. Clint, with the help of his wonderful wife Krista, was chute boss, barn boss and all-round boss of the show. In light of all the challenges they faced organizing this event, I’m sure his exceptional sense of humour that we all appreciate came in handy. It keeps us smiling and, most of the time, all-out laughing.

Clint Kowalski on YOR Pretty Woman

Clint Kowalski on YOR Pretty Woman.

This event was judged by the capable Rod Thiessen, manager and trainer at Frehlick Quarter Horses of Estevan, SK. Rod is a highly successful competitor in a number of disciplines, including cutting, reined cow horse and reining. Thanks to him and his capable scribe, the show moved along smoothly.

We would also like to thank Ray Kneeland, owner of the OK Corral. He has been a great supporter of the SRCHA  in his willingness to provide his facility for these events. The OK Corral is looking to host a Reined Cow Horse Saddle series in 2016, and we look forward to learning more about this exciting new adventure in the coming months.

Ron Farrow is our SRCHA president and a tough competitor. Ron, Clint and our board of directors are  the driving force behind our organization. Ron has competed on a number of talented horses, one of which is Smokin Frizz. She has won the Horse of the Year award, and loves to show as much as Ron loves to compete.

Donna Reid is also on our board of directors, and when she hits the show pen she is always well mounted on one of her great mares. Donna’s hackamore horse for this event was A Sparkling Chaching. She also breeds of quality cow horses, so be sure to check out her offerings if you’re looking for a prospect.

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Donna Reid on A Sparkling Chaching.

Sandi and Blair Marchant have competed on the SRCHA circuit for a number of years. Blair has another great horse coming up, and Sandi has taken the reins on a horse that Blair showed for a number of years, BH Continental. From what we saw at the Martensville show, it looks like they’ve got it going on.

Sandi Marchant on BH Continental

Sandi Marchant on BH Continental.

Willie Thompson has competed in SRCHA events since the start of the organization. When you compete against Willie, you’d better have your hat pulled down tight and be ready to ride. He is a gritty competitor; whether he is riding Duchas Perfect Image, pictured here, or his new horse, he will blow you out of the pen if you’re not riding tough.

Willie Thompson on Duchas Perfect Image

Willie Thompson on Duchas Perfect Image.

We’d like to thank the sponsors of this SRCHA show, SCM Ranch (Neil, Connor, Mark and Susan Wonko) and BNJ Ventures (Ben and Jacquie Fehr). The Wonko Family and Ben Fehr are also competitors in our association. Our thanks also go out to PCS Patience Lake.

These awesome shots from the show have been provided by Kimberly Dillistone. Kimberly is a good hand with horses and a talented photographer, and we are more than happy to have her show off both her talents at our shows. Kimberly now has a website where you can view and order your photos.

The Beaver Creek Ranch SRCHA Show on May 9-10, had just wrapped up when we last wrote, so here is a small recap. The judge for this event was Larry Clifford of Brandon, MB. We would like to thank him for providing his expertise. The high scores for the weekend in each division are as follows:

High Point in cutting: Jaret Farrow, Mandi Quam, Deb Flegel, Bobby Ann Loewen, Evan Pierlot, Taylor Farrow, Darlene Tingtved, Sandi Marchant, Meghan Brill, Barry Clemens

High fence score winners: Jaret Farrow, Rayel Kaczmar, Taylor Douglas, Barry Clemens, Sandi Marchant, Meghan Brill, Deb Flegel. Evan Pierlot, Dayle Leoppky, Deb Flegel (won in both her divisions).

Thank you to the sponsors of this event: Beaver Creek Ranch, Barry and Brenda Clemens, Sherwood Animal Clinic, Edwards Ranching Ltd, Cowtown/Masterfeed, Horse and Rider, Chatterson Janitorial Supply and Gerd Martin Farrier.

A number of our trainers have been doing their part to further the sport by hosting Youth Reined Cow Horse clinics over the summer. This is a great way to introduce our youth to the sport, and an opportunity for them to see if they would like to come out and compete. If you know someone who might be interested in these youth clinics, keep checking out our SRCHA Facebook page. Details are being posted as each clinic is organized, so check often to ensure you claim a spot.

Our next SRCHA Show will be hosted by Deb Flegel at Hidden Meadows Ranch, July 25-26, 2015. There will be a free youth clinic with Rod Thiessen on Friday evening prior to the show. This is for any youth who will be competing in this show. Also on the agenda are the Friday night social and a Saturday steak supper. We’re all getting excited about another round of competition and fellowship, with a bit of tomfoolery thrown in. We’re always up for a laugh at our own or someone else’s expense! We hope everyone has their entries in for this event.

We wind up our 2015 show series at the SRCHA Tim Hortons Classic Futurity and Derby, held at Prairieland Park, Saskatoon, SK on Aug. 28-30. The entry form for this show is on the SRCHA website, which is to be printed out and mailed in. Entries for the futurity and derby are due Aug. 10.

That’s it for now; I hope you’re all having a great summer that includes a lot of riding.


Western Artist – Sheila Schaetzle

Story by Piper Whelan

Calgary artist Sheila Schaetzle will be featured at this year's Calgary Stampede Western Art Gallery.

Calgary artist Sheila Schaetzle will be featured at this year’s Calgary Stampede Western Art Gallery. Photo by Emily Exon Photography

Sheila Schaetzle is wild about nature. It’s evident in her art: in how she paints radiant autumn leaves in a distant valley, in the way she creates light on a snowy path. This Calgary-based artist uses her Maritime roots and Alberta home for artistic inspiration, both of which will be seen in the six paintings she’ll have on display at the 2015 Calgary Stampede’s Western Art Showcase.

Schaetzle grew up in the Restigouche region of New Brunswick, the subject of many of her paintings. “A lot of my work is inspired by the colours in the fall and just nature in general,” she says. “My dad was a hunter and a fisherman, so we were always outdoors, whether we were on the beaches or we were camping out somewhere. As far back as I can remember, I have really loved being out in nature, amongst the trees.”

"Early Snow" will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

“Early Snow” will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

Schaetzle admired many artists featured at the Western Showcase in the past, but never imagined that she would be among them today. “Going to the art show was always a big part of attending the Stampede,” she says. She’s exhibited in the Western Art Gallery for three years; prior to that she volunteered by giving demonstrations in the Artists’ Window booth. She is proud “to be part of that now and have my work on exhibition next to some of these great Calgary artists.”

Her love for art began at a young age, filling sketchbooks as a child and studying art throughout school. She decided to pursue art more seriously in 1998 with night classes, as well as learning from books and experimentation. Schaetzle works with oils, acrylics and mixed media, and loves exploring different techniques. Her goal is to create a “painterly” view, “something that’s not necessarily what you’re going to see in a photograph, but something that’s more original and on the creative side,” she explains.

"Rocky Mountain Sketch II" was exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

“Rocky Mountain Sketch II” was exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

“I’m thinking more in terms of big shapes and concepts that aren’t necessarily based on realism [when beginning a piece]. I’m not thinking about painting a tree, or painting a house; I’m more interested in creating content and creating a structure that is more about shape and value.”

She describes her process as “freeing,” and often works from sketches rather than photos. “Even in the sketching stage I’m working out a lot of what needs to happen, eventually, when I get the paint on the paint brush. So I journal about the thoughts and ideas that I have about what I want to achieve,” she explains. These are broad ideas on the feeling she wants to convey. “Often it’s based on something that I’ve seen or experienced, or a memory that I’m working from … I believe in painting what you know.” This way, each painting tells a story connected to the place or experience it depicts.

"It's a Beautiful Day" will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

“It’s a Beautiful Day” will be on display at the 2015 Western Art Gallery.

When creating artwork to submit to the Western Art Gallery, Schaetzle focuses on what will suit the venue, and also considers the Stampede’s international audience. “It’s an opportunity for artists to share all of the wonderful things that we have in the west — our mountains and our foothills. Our scenery is just full of beautiful landscapes, from our rolling hills to our green pastures, so there’s a ton of content that artists can use.”

"Million Dollar View," a new painting that is part of the Rocky Mountain Series exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

“Million Dollar View,” a new painting that is part of Schaetzle’s Rocky Mountain Series exhibited at the 2014 Western Art Gallery.

When she’s not at work in her studio, Schaetzle gives weekly art classes at the Calgary School of Art, and volunteers in her local arts community. Her work is on exhibit at Calgary’s Leighton Art Centre. Visit her website to check out more of her artwork and her blog on an artist’s life.

Wild West Cocktail – Pear Stagecoach

pearsc2When I bartended at a Calgary lounge in the late 90’s, and at the tail-end of an epic oil boom, it was all about the cocktail hour. Mixing up a precise combination of a whiskey sour, old-fashioned, fizz or martini – which, whether shaken or stirred, was always made with gin, never vodka – was a bit of an art form to those of us who proudly considered ourselves classic drink masters. The regulars who seated themselves at the smooth dark leather barstools of our horseshoe-shaped bar had discerning palettes and we prided ourselves on fixing a cocktail with deliberate perfection. The citrus fruit combination of a lemon, lime and orange, as well as maraschino cherries and a bottle of bitters was never far from hand, and it should be said, though the bar menu featured a half dozen pages of unique combinations, we would have rather walked barefoot on the contents of the evening’s broken glass pail, than be caught having to look up the ingredients of any cocktail ordered out of the well-worn, leather-bound menus.

I thought that sort of bartending artistry had long been forsaken in the mundane flavored-bottle offerings of today’s establishments, which have all but lost the classic Western cowtown vibe of those idyllic lounges. That is, until I travelled to Seattle to meet a friend with the sole intention of catching up on each other’s lives, whilst working our way through two full days of exceptional restaurants and drinking establishments along the wharf. There, what I had long considered to be a lost art in cowboy town was a thriving ingredient of the Seattle dining scene. Bartenders were mixing their own house bitters, creating amazing tinctures and fusing these ingredients all into a new generation of vintage-like cocktails, serving it all up behind the sort of white aproned and black tie pride I remembered from another place and time.bittersThe entire experience filled me with a nostalgic longing and inspired me to envision a return to the idea of a classic cocktail with a western twist. Hence, the Wild West Cocktail column, and my starter spring cocktail, the pear stagecoach. In another world, this might be referred to as a “sidecar,” but I’m striving for a western rift here, so I’ve taken a few liberties. Of note, no matter how precisely I’ve poured this recipe, it doesn’t take kindly to doubling. If you’re serving more than two, be patient, and revel in the art of the creation of each set.

Pear Stagecoach

Serves two.

Four ounces (120 ml) pear brandy

Two ounces (60 ml) triple sec (such as Cointreau)

One ounce (2 tbsp) freshly squeezed lime juice

Lime zest to garnish

Combine all into a cocktail shaker with ice and shake well. Strain into two chilled martini glasses. You may want to sugar rim them if you decide the drink is too puckery on its own. Garnish with twisted lime zest.

Real Life Rodeo Queen Secret Number 9


Katy Lucas as Miss Ponoka Stampede 2014: "Note the pure joy on my face at the discovery of pizza in the Ponoka Stampede Suite."

Katy Lucas as Miss Ponoka Stampede 2014: “Note the pure joy on my face at the discovery of pizza in the Ponoka Stampede Suite.”

You may not believe it, but I eat a lot.

If you’ve ever seen me inhabiting a hospitality room at a rodeo, you may have noticed a heaping plate always in my hand. No one seems to believe it until they see it, but I eat a lot of food.

Katy's emergency Five Guys Burger and Fries stop before the round winner’s awards ceremony at the National Finals Rodeo: "I had a lot of emergencies during those 10 days…"

Katy’s emergency Five Guys Burger and Fries stop before the round winner’s awards ceremony at the National Finals Rodeo: “I had a lot of emergencies during those 10 days…”

I love joking around and even bragging about how much food I can put away, and while I can usually play it off and make those jokes, sometimes I hear things that hurt.

I have actually had strangers ask both my friends and I if I have some sort of eating disorder. As someone who tries valiantly to keep weight on, not off, my body, this kind of judgment can be hard to hear.

So I would like to once and for all dispel the rumours.

One look at my family tree and you can understand my size. My dad couldn’t start steer wrestling until he was 30 because it took him that long to fill out; my mom wore long-underwear under her jeans, even in the summer, when she was a kid to try to make them fit better; and my brother, Kyle, at 6 foot 2, weighs in at a whopping 160 pounds.

Katy and her brother, Kyle, at the 2013 Canadian Finals Rodeo: "I think this photo proves that it’s simply in the genes for us."

Katy and her brother, Kyle, at the 2013 Canadian Finals Rodeo: “I think this photo proves that it’s simply in the genes for us.”

The point I would like to make is that no matter our size, we can all be hurt by other people’s judgment. It doesn’t matter how much we weigh, what shape our bodies may take or what our eating habits may be – be kind and don’t make assumptions based on looks, because we all know how deceiving they can be.

So why don’t we leave the judging up to our rodeo officials? They have the much more important job of deciding which competitors will top the leaderboard or make a clean run to win the rodeo!

Gary Rempel – the Pick-Up Man

In the rodeo arena, this pickup man is known as a cowboy’s cowboy. Behind all the glitz of his career, Rempel has an instinctive understanding of livestock, backed by an extreme knack for showmanship. If you can handle the pressure of the rodeo arena, Rempel says the payoff to his job doesn’t necessarily fill his wallet, but most certainly has its other rewards. Here’s his thoughts on life on the road, success in small but sure doses and staying ahead of the game. 


I was born and raised on the Matador Ranch, which was one of the largest government owned community pastures in Canada. My dad managed that, he also rodeoed, roped caves and picked up. I roped caves and team roped for awhile, but being a pickup man always appealed to me. Right now I just like doing what I am doing, and am trying to do the best that I can all the time.

In the pickup world, Wayne Vold was who I learned from. He was probably the best there was at the time. I worked with Wayne in Calgary for 10 years. I learned a lot from him, he was a master. His style was smooth – really smooth. When he did things he did them very efficiently and professionally. I just wanted to be in that style too.

When a horse bucks, a pickup man can help a rider in a pattern – we call that turning them back. We keep them in a pattern, so they buck better. Winston Bruce at the Calgary Stampede helped me a lot to understanding bucking horses.

For the past 20 some years we have been putting on a bronc riding school, and I put a pickup school in conjunction with it. We started out in Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan and just moved it to Millarville, Alberta, this last year. I turn guys away as a rule. I just keep it to a limited amount (three or four), so I can handle it better.

The biggest thing with being a pickup man is understanding livestock. You can learn it, but a lot of times it’s a instinct – it’s something you have in you. It all falls down to knowing what that animal is going to do and then reacting to it.

As far as picking up goes – I think it has been refined over the past 30 or so years. Years ago people just thought a pickup man was some guy that got on a big horse and rode it around an arena. As years went on, those ideas have changed. Picking up has now become more of a spectacle thing, almost like bull fighting. You make it almost an art and you keep trying to better yourself.

I travel with six horses. I want my horses to be able to handle the stock. In the bronc riding especially you really need a big stout horse that can handle a bucking horse being dallied up to them. I try to ride really nice horses and have them as broke as possible.

I make it very clear to guys who ask me about being a pickup man – this is not a glamorous job. You are expected to do a lot and you get very little praise for doing it. We don’t get paid a whole lot compared to the bull fighters, announcers or clowns. You are sure not going to get rich at it and you have to think about the expenses you have to put out before you even get started. You will need at least three to four horses that are going to work for you. I use five horses a day, per performance.

I put a lot of pressure on myself, because I want to do the very best I can. But no matter how hard you try you are working with animals, things don’t always go as smooth as you like. Pressure comes from everyone watching the rodeo, and they seem to dwell on the screw-ups. You have to try not to think about it. You go to Vegas and the day before it starts you get a nervous stomach. But once they have bucked the first horse you forget about it and you just do your job.

Sometimes you can be a good pickup man individually, but some don’t know how to work with a partner. Working with my brother Wade, that is as good as it gets. We both know where we both are, throughout the performance. You get picking up with someone who is not paying attention and you are going to get in a wreck in a real hurry.

The arena is basically yours all throughout the rodeo. But keep your ego in check. I’ve always said, if you get to thinking that you are pretty special, something will happen in that arena that will set you back and ground you in a big hurry. It’s a humbling thing when things happen in the arena.

There have been times when I have thought that I’ve had enough, but right now I love picking up and going to rodeos. What I don’t like is the traveling as I’m always a long way from home. I started when I was about 25. The only thing I wish I would have started sooner, so I could have done this longer. I am not thinking about quitting, but sooner or later your body can only handle so much.

I think the biggest payoff of this job is having the respect of your contestants and the contractors. Starting out is not easy and it is a hard deal to get into. It is hard for a young guy to start, as you will need someone who is willing to hire you. It’s easy to blow $100,000 in a heartbeat – on your truck, trailer and horses. But it is a good job and you can have fun, once you get established.

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