Young Guns – John Murphy

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I’ll reveal one every week or so!

Murphy has been riding all his life. He began with team penning and then switched over to working cow horse a couple of years ago. He credits his life in the country to the person he has grown to be. Photo by Barbara Glazer.

John Murphy

(Nominated for Competitive)
Age: 19
Wetaskiwin, Alberta

John Murphy is a 19-year-old country boy whose cow horse talents skyrocketed him to the top of National Reined Cow Horse Association charts last year. Riding Pepto Peppermint, a 2008 stallion by Surely A Pepto and out of Haidas Pepermint, Murphy swept the championships of four non-pro divisions at the NRCHA Circle Y Ranch Derby in San Angelo, Texas. He took home four buckles, a fistful of cash and had driven over 40 hours with his parents to do it.

Murphy accepted his awards with modesty, citing mentors and educational videos as the tools as aiding in his success. He made cow horse folk back in Canada buzz with praise.

Murphy laid claim to a mountain of international titles against some tough non-pro competition. He trained for those awards in the dead of a Canadian winter without an indoor arena or benefit of live cattle. Instead, Murphy used what he had available to him and packed several loads of shavings out to his family ranch shop – where he had also strung up a mechanical cow on the outside of the building. Using only the wood particles for footing atop frozen ground, Murphy and his horse prepared themselves for the 2012 event in Texas. When he needed guidance, the young rider would return to the house to watch a cow horse training video.

Murphy has been riding all his life. He began with team penning and then switched over to working cow horse a couple of years ago. He credits his life in the country to the person he has grown to be.

When it came time for Murphy to contribute financially to his show ventures, he began apprenticing underneath his father, who was a farrier by trade for over 30 years.

“I needed a job that could allow me to make some good money but still be at home. Farrier work allows me to ride horses half the day and do farrier work for the other half,” he says.

However, he is also currently evaluating a long-term career option as an electrician.

“I like the work of a farrier and it’s very rewarding to be able to help horses that previously encountered soundness issues, but I have seen the direct results of a lifetime of farrier work through watching my father. I think ideally, I’d like to be a low-key part-time farrier on the side, in addition to working as an electrician. That way I wouldn’t have to break my body down and I could still ride good horses.”

~ Jennifer Webster

Young Guns – Rylee McKenzie

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I’ll reveal one every week or so!

A shining star in the barrel racing world, Rylee is already a two-time qualifier for the CFR.

Rylee McKenzie

(Nominated for Competitive)
Age:24
St. Paul, Alberta

Don’t let her age fool you. In professional rodeo, Rylee McKenzie is not the new kid on the block. It’s been ten years since McKenzie broke onto the Canadian Pro Rodeo (CPRA) scene and in that season, she won the CPRA Ladies Barrel Racing Permit Award for earning the most points in her rookie year.

Since she has gone pro, McKenzie has qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo two times. Her horses are fast, her goal is to win, but furthermore to McKenzie, she believes that being a barrel racer is a noble profession.

“A barrel racer symbolizes an idol, a role model, a professional, a lady, and must be elegant at all times,” said McKenzie. “So many young girls look up to more experienced barrel racers and they should represent the best version of themselves.”

According to McKenzie, her mom Debbi has been a great inspiration throughout her rodeo career.

“My mom did a great job, making sure I had horses to be competitive on.”

At this point, McKenzie said there are two dreams she still has in her mind.

“The first being to make the NFR and the second is to see a horse I’ve trained take someone to a major set of finals like the CFR or NFR.”

While growing up around horses and rodeo, she said barrel racing at a high-end level has always been a priority. With McKenzie’s gallant track record, being in the lead is the only place where this cowgirl aims to be.

~ By Deanna Buschert

Young Guns – Katy Lucas

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I'll reveal one every week or so! 

“I hope to some day be one of the top rodeo broadcasters in North America and be able to cover events all over the continent. I see myself in the near future doing behind-the-scenes interviews at the Canadian and National Finals rodeos, as well as a large pro rodeos during the regular season.”

Katy Lucas

(Nominated for Entreprenuers)
Age: 20
Carstairs, Alberta

She embodies the countrified, go-getter persona of the decade. Katy Lucas’ assertiveness and charm has hit the world of rodeo broadcasting in the sweet spot. This summer, she will be working with Rangeland Media to produce Road to the CFR segments for Edmonton, Alberta’s Northlands Park. She is also working as production manager for Juxtapose Production’s, Hell on Hooves television show, charged with arranging interviews and directing camera crews while on set at rodeos.

“Now that I am finished school, I am setting my sites on a career in rodeo broadcasting,” Lucas explains. She recently completed her Communication Arts Diploma and specialized in Broadcast Journalism at Lethbridge College. Lucas earned herself top honors for each semester and received the program’s ‘Top Broadcaster’ award.

“I hope to some day be one of the top rodeo broadcasters in North America and be able to cover events all over the continent. I see myself in the near future doing behind-the-scenes interviews at the Canadian and National Finals rodeos, as well as larger pro rodeos during the regular season.”

My mom, Sheona Lucas has also always been there every step of the way.

Lucas was raised on a ranch, in a family of four. Her father is retired rodeo cowboy, Joe Lucas.

“He has always tried to give my younger brother, Kyle and I every opportunity to succeed – both in and out of the rodeo arena. My mom, Sheona Lucas has also always been there every step of the way. Whether it was making sure we got our homework done so we could go to the rodeo, or making sure we had enough clean clothes to last the weekend, she was always there helping us out,” Lucas tells.

As for horses, Lucas got her start in junior rodeos at very early age. In fact, she actually has permanent proof on her forehead from falling off a horse when she was only a baby. But as they say, cowgirls dig their scars and it’s clear the young woman is proud of this one.

Alberta High School Rodeo Queen for the 2010/2011 season. She has also been the Vice President and President of the Alberta High School Rodeo Association (AHSRA).

Through the 2008/09 season, Lucas was the Carstairs Rodeo Queen and went on to become the Alberta High School Rodeo Queen for the 2010/2011 season. She has also been the Vice President and President of the Alberta High School Rodeo Association (AHSRA). Next year, she plans to run for Miss Rodeo Ponoka and then move on to run for Miss Rodeo Canada.

As if that weren’t enough, Lucas also has her own booming’ business on the side.

As if that weren’t enough, Lucas also has her own booming’ business on the side. KatyDid Custom Jewelry is a venture she operates in her free time. Triggered by her passion for designing custom western necklaces, bracelets, earring and key chains, Lucas offers a one-of-a-kind flare for forever cowgirl pieces. Lucas may be her own best customer as she admits to owning over 40 pairs of earrings, but for a teenager’s debut into the world of business this should be a journey worth following.

~ Jennifer Webster

Young Guns – Madison MacDonald

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I'll reveal one every week or so!

A free spirit who has had the honour of working with some of the best equine entertainers in the world, Madison isn't slowing down anytime soon.

Madison MacDonald

(Nominated for Entertainers)
Age:20
Stephenville, Texas

So how does a girl from the small town of Okotoks, Alberta end up being chosen as a Wrangler National Finals Rodeo Contract Act in 2011 and 2012 while studying at Tarleton University? Not many can answer that, but Madison MacDonald sure can.

“My mother used to produce the Black Tie Wild West Shows for the Calgary Stampede. When I saw the trick riders, I told my parents that that was what I wanted to do,” remembers MacDonald.

Starting at the tender age of 4, MacDonald was competing in dance and unknowingly preparing herself for an exceptional career doing what she loves.

“Performing was something that I knew I wanted to do. I was fortunate enough to be able to follow my aspirations and never thought I would be where I am at the age of 20.”

As with everything worth having in life, the road to where she has gotten has been long and arduous, but he has had experiences and opportunities that people twice her age have not yet seen. She began riding with Ron Anderson and still credits his wisdom as the foundation that has helped her succeed atop a horse. At 11, she learned to twirl a trick rope in her own living room by legendary Tomas Garcilazos. Then in 2011 she found her greatest inspiration in Los Angeles.

“I would not be the trick rider I am today if it wasn't for Tad and Wendy Griffith. I have been extremely fortunate to be able to train under Tad who is referred to as the greatest gymnast on horseback. I lived with Tad and Wendy in Los Angeles where I trained under Tad for the National Finals Rodeo WNFR and then for Fort Worth where I trick rode with Tad's 3 boys. I never wanted the Fort Worth Stock and Rodeo to end. Each day felt like it was just another of practicing with Tad and his boys, as we came into that show of 3 months straight of practice and preparation, the show was the easy part compared to the rehearsals prior to. They are my “other” family.”

How do you start to list the credits of a young woman that has traveled the world doing what she loves? Her high school years were filled with rodeo; earning countless awards in pole bending, barrel racing, goat tying, breakaway roping and team roping.  In 2012, she was cast as part of the Calgary Stampede’s production Tails, which kept her busy for three performances daily over the ten days of Stampede. She has performed twice at the WNFR in Las Vegas and repeatedly performed at the Fiesta of the Spanish Horse.

For MacDonald, the horses are about more than the tricks and the bright lights. “The horses keep my life busy and full. They have been my life forever they are a part of me and it is something that I cherish everyday as I feel fortunate to be able to have the lifestyle that I do. Between training horses, practicing trick riding, roping and keeping my barrel horse going my days are full but I love every minute of it.

“I was like a lot of young girls – they see the costumes and the fast horses and it catches their eye. I see it now when I perform stateside, afterwards at the autograph signings we are surrounded by young girls that are enthralled by the performance and have the same dreams as I once had. It is inspiring to know that my performance has captivated them and lifted their spirits to encourage their aspirations.”

What better inspiration could there be?

~ Dainya Sapergia

Young Guns – Amanda Antifaev

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I'll reveal one every week or so! 

Amanda has a lengthy list of accomplishments in the reining pen, but credits her horses and mentors along the way.

Amanda Antifaev

(Nominated for Entrepreneurs)
Age: 25
Nanton, Alberta

The reining industry in Canada has seen Amanda Antifaev’s name at the top of the competition for many years. First in the youth and non-pro classes and now in the open, competing against the best horse trainers Canada has to offer.

Antifaev decided to go professional when the National Reining Horse Association came out with their Apprenticeship program, making it possible for her to try training and showing in the open pen for a year before taking the full leap and committing herself to a career in training horses professionally. This young woman however, was made for open competition and a life of training horses. So, at the young age of 19, Antifaev turned in her Non-Pro card and took on the challenge of training and showing full-time.

Antifaev’s success in the open pen started out with some great horses she got from mentors Wayne and Duane Latimer. Lokota Chic, Shiners Lena Dust and Mambos Whiz helped carry Antifaev to multiple championships throughout Canada and the United States, including winning the North American Affiliate Championship at the NRHA Futurity in 2009 and 2010 aboard Lokota Chic. Her success in the show pen continued with her accomplished show skills and training program, taking young horses she started and trained to multiple wins for their owners.

“My next was Sugarplum Nic, owned by Larry and Deb Manley who have been long-time supporters for me. The mare and I were co-champions at the Reining Alberta Fall Classic in the Open Futurity and made the finals in the level one and two at the NRHA Futurity – a first in my career.”

“My success has also been on horses that I have started and trained which has proved that not only can I show a broke horse, but that I could train one to do all the right stuff too,” says Antifaev. “My first was Hard Times Sailor who I was reserve champion on in two futurities and went on to more wins as a derby horse. My next was Sugarplum Nic, owned by Larry and Deb Manley who have been long-time supporters for me. The mare and I were co-champions at the Reining Alberta Fall Classic in the Open Futurity and made the finals in the level one and two at the NRHA Futurity – a first in my career.” Antifaev had one of her best years in 2012 as an open rider, showing the young stallion Conchicador to the Wild Rose Reining Classic Open Futurity Championship, Montana Big Sky Classic Open Futurity Championship and a reserve championship at the Silver slate Reining Classic Open Futurity, winning over $13,000 for the year.

Antifaev wouldn’t trade her profession for anything. “I love the horses, everything about them. I love starting them, bringing them along and seeing how they learn and progress. I love maintaining broke horses and getting inside their heads to understand how they think and what makes them tick so I can get the best out of them so they also enjoy their job.”

Antifaev gives a little advice to those looking to become an open rider, “Learn from a trainer and stick with them for as long as you can. I believe that experience takes time and can be expensive, but no one can learn all there is to know about horse training and showing in a short time. If you learn from someone experienced such as I did from Wayne Latimer, you can learn from both their successes and their trials and errors.”

~ Deanna Beckley

Young Guns – Hayley Stradling

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I’ll reveal one every week or so! 

At only 16, Hayley has already achieved significant success in both hunter jumper and cutting, not an easy feat for the most seasoned rider.

Hayley Stradling

(Nominated for Competitive)
Age: 16
Aldergrove, British Columbia

You don’t have to be very old to think that sixteen seems so young. But for an Aldergrove, British Columbia equestrienne, the years have been plenty to secure her place as one of the top competitors in the country.

Guiding her are the words of Stan Smith: Experience tells you what to do; confidence allows you to do it. She is well on her way with the confidence and experience, but possibly the element that sets Haley Stradling apart from her competition is diversity.

“I have been riding horses my entire life. I love riding both cutting horses and hunter jumpers and competing on them. I also have been in Pony Club since I was 6-years-old, and currently have my C1 Level.”

She has carved out a training regime that helps her to excel. On her cutters, she rides with Dr. Denton Moffat of Armstrong, BC and with her hunter jumpers, she trains with Brent and Laura Balisky and Laura Jane Tidball. No lackluster list of coaches on this girls resume, and it shows.

In 2012 alone, Stradling won an AQHA World Cutting championship and won two gold medals for Team Canada at the AQHA Youth World Cup in Kreuth, Germany. Closer to home, she was reserve champion in the youth cutting at the Calgary Stampede and won awards with the British Columbia Cutting Horse Association and the British Columbia Ranch Cutting Horse Association. On her hunter jumper, she was 2nd overall at the Canadian Equestrian Team Medal Regional Finals in Langley, BC and went on to finish 3rd overall at the Canadian Equestrian Team Medal National finals in Toronto, Ontario. It is no small feat for a rider to ride multiple disciplines, let alone excel in both.

On top of her awards inside the arena, Stradling was nominated by the Horse Council of BC for Junior Female Sport BC Athlete of the year and came third overall.

“My parents are my main supporters and are incredible,” raves Stradling.

During the rare moments that she is not homing her skills, Stradling helps with her local pony club by teaching stable management to the younger kids. She volunteers at her school building theater sets and likes archery and snowboarding. A diverse set of interests has gone a long way to form an exceptional young lady.

~ Dainya Sapergia

An Autumn Ride

This past weekend, Wee’s 4-H equine club kicked off another year and we held an introductory ride, barbecue and first meeting here. The entire grand day reminded me that this old log house has likely been witness to more than one such event over the past 30 years, for previous to our family, lived another with a 4-H mom and leader. I love the idea of lingering traditions, so we’re happy to keep this one up.

It reminded me also of finding this sign sometime after we moved in, tangled and long buried in the tall grass of the ditch, likely having been mowed over by an overzealous grader or snow plow driver. We revived it’s lease on life and it now hangs on our garage, announcing a 4-H family still lives here.

Roger is Wee’s cutting horse, and we saddled him up for a new member who hasn’t quite found her own horse yet. True to the 4-H creed, the older members helped the new members get on with it.

It was a perfect day for a ride, and the horses all seemed willing and content.

Actually, I think everyone had fun . . . especially Tucker!

Wee and Blue returned a little worse for the wear, one for perhaps indulging a little too heavily on the abundant pastures of early fall, and the other for staying up too late the night prior. I couldn’t be too critical, she did get up early to bake and ice two sets of cupcakes!

After the ride, the inevitable pre-group shot chaos ensued. Can we all get a little tighter please?

The bay horse on the left, can we have the bay horse on the left turned around, please?

Finally, success. Until I counted heads and two were missing!

The day got me to thinking on the big picture of 4-H, especially Equine 4-H. We talk a lot about this at my 4-H circles – events, lessons and meetings. I wonder how the scene and membership numbers compares to say 20 or even 30 or 40 years ago.

I found a few stats on the Canadian 4-H Council website, dating back to 2008-2009. In the five year span from then until now equine club membership has dropped 12%. It’s an expected drop I suppose, not as much as some of the other ag-centric 4-H projects (Beef membership, for instance has dropped 25%), but a drop all the same.

Later, as we watched the last of the trailers pull out of the yard and I had a chance to give Wee a big hug of pure happiness, I couldn’t help but get the obvious point – how much fun kids can have when you offer up a setting that’s relaxing and low-stress. Fill them up with an equal balance of healthy food and sugar, and give them a big open space to run it all off with a game of man-tracker, and a backroad to ride down, and I defy your heart not to sing by the end of the day.

Would love to hear your reminiscences on the 4-H of your youth, and what it looked like then, for you, and what it meant to you, as a member, or parent.

Young Guns – Haley Franc

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25.

We picked this Young Gun back then, and last week she proved her competitive spunk in amplitude by winning the Limited Non-Pro Derby (l2) at the Las Vegas High Roller Classic!

Atta’ be, Haley Franc!

Saskatchewan and Kentucky are a long way apart, but Hayley excelled under the bright lights of the NAJRC.

Hayley Franc

 
(Nominated for Competitive)
Age: 15
Prince Albert, Saskatchewan
 

Haley Franc began riding horses when she was just six. After a few years of riding in 4-H and competing in all-around events, Franc wanted a bit more of a challenge. The young girl turned her attention to the reining discipline. “Reining is challenging, but I love it. There is so much work, training and dedication involved. It is so rewarding when you can see improvements in yourself and your horse,” tells Franc.

Franc competed at the 2012 North American Junior and Young Rider Championship in Lexington, Kentucky as part of Team Canada, where the junior team took home the silver medal for their country and the youth team captured the bronze medal. Franc also marked a 212 on her gelding Jacs Shy Boy to take the individual gold medal.

“The NAJYRC was such an incredible experience. Showing at the Kentucky Horse Park in the Alltech arena and competing for Team Canada was a dream come true. When they raised the Canadian flag and played our anthem at the closing ceremonies, I was overwhelmed with this amazing feeling – I was so proud of my horse, myself and my team for representing Canada.”

Franc received the JR Equestrian award, presented by Equine Canada.

Franc received the JR Equestrian award, presented by Equine Canada. The Gillian Wilson trophy is presented to the junior competitor who has made outstanding contributions to equestrian competition and who have exemplified exceptional talent, sportsmanship and dedication to the sport.

Franc attributes much of her success to her coach, Locke Duce of High River, Alberta. “Locke teaches me patience and to keep things simple and correct. He makes sure I understand everything that he tells me and keeps it positive. Locke knows so much and has so many exercises to benefit every horse and then a backup plan for that too. He helps me to be confident when preparing, training and showing my horses. He lets me think I can do it.”

Franc’s future goals include once again qualifying for and competing at the North American Junior & Young Rider Championships, applying for the AQHA’s 2014 Youth World Cup and competing at some large reining competitions, including the High Roller Reining Classic in Las Vegas.

“Reining is challenging, but I love it. There is so much work, training and dedication involved. It is so rewarding when you can see improvements in yourself and your horse.”

“My favorite thing about reining is that it’s very challenging. We are always working on something and then making it the best it can be. I love that every reiner understands what it takes to get a horse ready to show and always working towards improvements in themselves and their horses.”

~ Deanna Beckley

Young Guns – Logan Bird

In the May/June issue of Western Horse Review, we searched out some of the most accomplished and influential youth in the western horse industry and compiled our first-ever Young Guns – Top 25 Youth Under 25. We came up with six categories: Ambassadors, Artisans, Entertainers, Competitive, Entrepreneurs and Science. From self-discipline to unwavering focus, we were reminded that the dreams often fostered in young minds and hearts can translate to adulthood, and that good old fashioned determination can still achieve what many think is impossible. We loved the true western code of ethic each of our top 25 exude.

It evolved into such an inspiring piece we decided to recreate it online, with the fuller interviews and stories of each of our deserving Top 25. Look for them here at Screen Doors & Saddles over the next six months, as I’ll reveal one every week or so!

With a promising future in rodeo, Logan has also embarked on a successful business venture with his dad.

Logan Bird

(Nominated for Competitive)
Age: 19
Nanton, Alberta

Logan Bird was born into the western lifestyle – horsemanship and talent course through his veins, passed down from the generations of cowboys before him.

Growing up on his family’s Rocking P ranch southwest of Nanton, AB, Logan was put on the back of a horse before he could walk. He traveled with his parents and little sister to FCA rodeos where the only event he could compete in at his age was the Adult/Child Team Roping. Once the Alberta Junior High School Rodeo started up, Bird entered the Breakaway, Ribbon Roping and Team Roping events.

“I love calf roping because it combines horsemanship, rope handling and athletic ability. I love going fast and in calf roping you really have to be in time with your horse to get off properly and set up a good run,” says Bird. “I like the competition and I like that the calf roping is just you and your horse, it is not a judged event – the guy with his hands in the air the fastest wins.”

At only 19-years-old, Logan Bird has qualified for the National High School Finals Rodeo all four years, captured the Provincial High Point Boy award in Alberta High School Rodeo all four years and competed at his first pro rodeo at 16, filling his semi-pro card at his second rodeo.

Bird is well on his way to achieving his goals in the rodeo industry. “Right now my focus is on making the Canadian Finals in the Tie Down Roping. In five years, I hope to have (roped at) the Calgary Stampede and to have my PRCA card. As long-term goals, I would like to win a Canadian Championship, and win a go-round at the NFR.”

“I love calf roping because it combines horsemanship, rope handling and athletic ability. I love going fast and in calf roping you really have to be in time with your horse to get off properly and set up a good run,” says Bird.

The young cowboy has not only made in mark in the roping arena, but also as an entrepreneur. Along with his Dad, Bird has started a timed event horses and cattle business. “We have team roping, tie down and dogging steers that we supply to the rodeos. We also have several young horses that we have raised, bought and trained in team roping and tie down that we offer for sale. In the summer we have 300 head of calves and they all have to be weaned, roped and conditioned to go to the rodeos so it takes a lot of horse power – we combine the two really well. We use the young horses to train the cattle and the cattle to train the young horses. It was kind of a natural thing for us to do. My dad has looked after the Nanton Ag Society Cattle as a bit of a side line for years and now that I’ve graduated we can do it full-time.”

Bird gives back to the rodeo industry he loves so much by putting on roping schools to help young kids who are just getting started learn the basics and fine tune their skills and teach them the little things that have helped him.

~Deanna Beckley