Big Moves in B.C.

Bull rider, Coy Robbins, enjoyed a productive and lucrative weekend as he captured the title at the first-ever Valley West Stampede in Langley, British Columbia riding Duane Kesler Championship Rodeo’s 675 Circus Freak for 88.5 points and $5,773.

With the 2022 Canadian Professional Rodeo season winding down, one of the most critical weekends of the fall took place entirely in the nation’s westernmost province. Sunny skies, big crowds and spectacular performances were the order of the day at Armstrong, Merritt and Langley, BC.

The SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tour wrapped up over Labour Day weekend with the final tour stop (IPE and Stampede) and Finals in Armstrong, BC. While most of the season leaders held on to claim the overall tour titles and the champions’ trophy spurs, there was come-from-behind drama in the bareback and bull riding events. 

Reigning Canadian Bareback Riding Champion Clint Laye put together an 89-point effort for second place ($2,713) in the regular Armstrong Pro Tour rodeo, then added an 88.25 ride on Calgary Stampede’s Bigtimin Houston to take top spot in the Finals for another $2,320. The twin successes vaulted the Cadogan, AB. cowboy from third place entering the weekend to the SMS Equipment Tour title and earned him the champion’s trophy spurs as he edged Ty Taypotat by just five points.

Bull rider Brock Radford was the only other competitor who overcame a deficit to win the SMS Equipment Tour title. The DeWinton, AB, hand was aided by his fourth-place result in the tour final en route to the overall championship.

Steer wrestling champion, Scott Guenthner.

Those able to protect the leads they enjoyed going into the Armstrong weekend included steer wrestling champion Scott Guenthner, tie-down roper Beau Cooper, bronc rider Lachlan Miller, barrel racer Bayleigh Choate, team ropers Tristin Woolsey and Trey Gallais and breakaway roper Lakota Bird. 

Guenthner, the two-time Canadian Steer Wrestling Champion and 2022 season leader, also put up a pair of wins, topping the field at Merritt with a 4.1 second performance for $1,999, then smoking a 3.1 second run in the SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tour finals for $2,320 to clinch his tour title.

Bull rider, Coy Robbins, enjoyed a productive and lucrative weekend as he captured the title at the first-ever Valley West Stampede in Langley, British Columbia riding Duane Kesler Championship Rodeo’s 675 Circus Freak for 88.5 points and $5,773. Robbins then added an 87-point win at the Nicola Valley Pro Rodeo (Merritt, BC,) on Macza Rodeo’s 803 Blue Bombshell for another $1,908. The Camrose, AB, athlete capped off the weekend with an 87.5, third place finish in the SMS Pro Tour Final for an additional $1,160. After a weekend that provided major moves in the Canadian standings, Robbins is a virtual lock for the CFR as his wins will move him past Jordan Hansen into third place.

The Graham brothers, Dillon and Dawson, continued their winning ways, running their steak to five in a row with wins at Merritt (4.3, $2,216) and Armstrong (5.0, $2,832). The Wainwright cowboys came up just short in their effort to capture the SMS Equipment Tour title as the duo of Trey Gallais and Tristin Woolsey prevailed for the SMS Equipment crown.

One of the biggest moves in the CFR race was that of barrel racer Jennifer Neudorf. Entering the weekend in a precarious 11th place in the standings, a win at Langley (15.42, $5,922) and a 6/7 spilt for another $998 at Armstrong will push the Grande Prairie cowgirl solidly into the top ten with just three weeks remaining in the regular season.

With every dollar won critical as the 2022 season winds down, CPRA competitors will now take their talents to the Coronation Pro Rodeo, September 9-10 and the Medicine Lodge Fall Roundup September 10.

For complete (unofficial) results, check out prorodeocanada.com

Cassidy Extends Season Lead

Photo by Shellie Scott Photography.

The beat, as they say, goes on.

Another weekend. Another success story for Curtis Cassidy. The man who has 12 Canadian titles and 21 CFR appearances in steer wrestling on his resume was at his best once again with a 3.9 second run at Hand Hills Lake Stampede for a $1,302 payday and added another $1.924 to his weekend haul with a 5.0 winning run at Bonnyville Pro Rodeo.

“The drawing Gods have been on my side so far,” the Donalda two-event cowboy chuckled. “I had the perfect draw at Hand Hills, just an excellent handling steer. He took a step away from me but Cody (Cassidy), Curtis’ brother and hazer, brought him back to me. Then at Bonnyville, I had one of the better ones in a herd of fresh, bigger steers. Matt Richardson was 5.3 on him and I made pretty much an identical run to Matt’s. The steer braced up just a little on me and kind of hung a bit or I could have been a short four.”

For the second-generation superstar, it’s been business as usual in 2022 and the weekend’s wins increased his lead at the top of the Canadian standings. Cassidy is happy with his fast start. “I’ve been on both ends of it and being first is a lot nicer than being way back in the standings at this point in the season for sure. You’d like to have the CFR made as early as possible.”

And, of course, there’s Tyson, the latest in the long line of brilliant Cassidy dogging horses, that includes recent Hall of Fame inductee, Willy.

“Tyson doesn’t have as many accolades as Willy with his four gold buckles but the thing with Tyson is he’s just so user-friendly,” Cassidy noted. “Anybody can get on him and have a chance to win. He does his job better than any of us do.”

Cassidy acknowledged that having a horse like Tyson is helping to extend what has already been a remarkable career. “In this sport every January 1 you start over. I’m still healthy, I’ve got Tyson and I’m traveling with some younger guys. With COVID behind us and a lot of the bigger summer rodeos back, I’m hoping to have a year that gets me back to the CFR and the NFR.”

It was a pair of team ropers who were the top money winners on the three-event weekend. Veteran Cardston heeler, Riley Wilson, and his heading partner, Grady Quam, collected wins at both Bonnyville (4.5 seconds, $1,874) and Hand Hills (5.6 seconds, $1,437) and added a fifth-place cheque at Leduc Black Gold Rodeo (4.9 seconds, $948) for a total of $4,260. The pair also made the biggest move in the early season standings, vaulting from 22nd to a spot solidly in the top ten.

This week the CPRA schedule makes three more Alberta stops in Brooks, June 10-11, and Rocky Mountain House and Lea Park, June 10-12.

For complete CPRA results, check out rodeocanada.com

102 Years of the Falkland Stampede

Kolby Wanchuk, 2022 Falkland Stampede.

Kolby Wanchuk hasn’t forgotten the way his 2021 Canadian rodeo season ended. The Sherwood Park, AB bronc rider was bumped from Canadian Finals Rodeo contention on the final stop of the regular campaign. This weekend at the 102nd Falkland Stampede, the second generation cowboy took another step toward ensuring that history would not repeat itself.

“I don’t want to miss the CFR again,” Wanchuk admitted. “I’ve been getting to the spring rodeos and I want to do whatever it takes to get back to the Finals. That’s one of my goals for this year. You can’t win a Canadian title if you’re not at the CFR.”

The 25-year-old rode Macza Pro Rodeo’s +2 Big Surprise to 86 points and the first place cheque of $1,226. The win will consolidate Wanchuk’s hold on fourth place in the Canadian standings and keep him solidly in the top 15 in the World.

“I’d seen this horse quite a bit, but this was my first time on him,” Wanchuk noted. “He’s not a big horse but he tries really hard. He had a couple of big jumps at the start and then was really nice.”

Things will start heating up for Wanchuk and all CPRA contestants as the 2022 rodeo season moves into high gear. “We’ll be going back and forth across the border pretty well every week. From Reno in June to the end of August, there are rodeos almost everyday. And I want to get to every one I can.” Wanchuk is especially looking forward to the CPRA (SMS Equipment) Pro Tour events. “I want to get to as many of the 11 Tour rodeos as I can because that money makes a big difference in the Canadian standings.”

Great weather and record crowds were on hand in Falkland, BC throughout a weekend that saw several other outstanding performances. A pair of 90 point rides highlighted the weekend action with reigning Canadian Bareback Champion, Clint Laye, navigating Macza’s award winning 118 OLS Tubs Stevie Knicks to first place and $1188 in the bareback riding. That effort was matched by 2016 Canadian Champion bull rider Jordan Hansen who posted his 90 point ride on Macza’s D 180 Big City Life – good for $1,398. Other Falkland champions included tie down roper, Clayton Smith who clocked an 8.5 second run for $1962; steer wrestler Quentin Branden who was 3.9 seconds ($1,426), team ropers Dawson and Dillon Graham whose 4.4 netted $1,512 for each. Ladies barrel racing saw a one-two split between Lynette Brodoway and Bradi Whiteside who were 16.38 seconds for $1,544 each. Breakaway roper, Kylie Whiteside posted a 2.44 to win her event and pocket $994. The novice saddle bronc event also saw a tie with Colton Powell and Devon Hay marking 69 points for $224 each while in the junior steer riding, Nash Loewen was 82 points for $329.

For complete CPRA results, check out rodeocanada.com

Dramatic Championship Sunday at Red Deer CFR

Scott Guenthner came out on top during CFR 45. Photo Credit: Roughstock Studios.

It came down to one run.

As steer wrestler, Scott Guenthner, backed into the box for his final run of CFR ‘45, he knew what he had to do. Guenthner had already watched some of his closest competitors and travelling partners have varying degrees of success. The Provost, Alberta cowboy didn’t have to win the round but needed to at least place to hold his spot in the aggregate and take home his first Canadian Championship. And that’s exactly what he did.

The five time CFR qualifier posted a 3.6 second run to split second and third in the round for $6480 and held on to fourth place in the average for another $7695. His total season earnings of $69,899 left him comfortably ahead of Aggregate Champion, Stephen Culling.

“It was a little nerve-racking,” Guenthner admitted. “My steer hadn’t come in (to the chute) yet. I could hear the announcers bragging me up and I tried to blank that out but I couldn’t really do it.”

With the crowd roaring around him, the second generation Canadian Champion made the run he needed to make. Guenthner’s week started slowly and he changed things up after the third round.

“I’m riding Tyson, Curtis Cassidy’s Horse; he is the Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year. When things weren’t going well early in the week, I decided to go to the best horse in Canada… and it worked.”

While the win is Guenthner’s first, it’s not the first for the family. His Dad, Ken, captured the title 37 years earlier in 1981.

One of the tightest races at this year’s Finals was in the saddle bronc riding where Nanton, Alberta’s Clay Elliott was able to hold off the late charge of 2016 World Champion, Zeke Thurston, for the win. Thurston rode first in the final round and marked a spectacular 87 on Kesler Rodeo’s tremendous stallion, Copper Cat. Elliott then rose to the challenge – but had to ride two horses as a problem in the chute with his first mount resulted in a re-ride. The 2016 Canadian Champion climbed aboard C5 Rodeo’s High Valley, a horse he was familiar with, having ridden the seven year old bay gelding to 87 points to win Edmonton’s K-Days Rodeo back in July. This time, the two combined for 86.25 points, giving Elliott second place in the round as well as second in the aggregate for a $9000 margin of victory over Thurston.

“It was quite an adventure today as I actually had my saddle on three different horses,” Elliott commented. “My first one, Black Hills, got turned around in the chute and was having trouble so the judges offered me a re-ride, a horse called Banshee from Northcott-Macza. He’s a bucking son of a gun but the judges didn’t see it that way today and gave me another re-ride. This one was High Valley from C5 Rodeo; the horse had bucked me off at Ponoka but I rode him for the win at K-Days Rodeo and was excited to have him today.”

Elliott’s second Canadian Championship in three years, including his regular season earnings, netted the 24-year-old $82,294 in total.

The biggest money earner of this Canadian Finals Rodeo was Callahan Crossley of Hermiston, Oregon. Not only did the three time CFR qualifier cruise to the title with four first place finishes and two seconds, she also established two all time monetary records. Riding her 20 year old gelding, Brownie, Crossley won a record-setting $73,575 at the CFR and her season total of $99,190 also goes into the record books.

The 2016 World Champion team ropers, Levi Simpson (on the header side) and heeler, Jeremy Buhler, captured their second Canadian team roping title in a row on Sunday afternoon at the Enmax Centrium in Red Deer. The amazing pair placed in all six rounds, including splitting one-two in rounds two and five and sealing the deal with a third place 5.2 second run in the final round. Simpson, from Ponoka, AB, and Buhler (Arrowwood, AB) captured both the aggregate title and the Canadian Championship.

The bareback riding was no less dramatic as Dublin, TX cowboy, Richmond Champion, took home his first Canadian title. The 25 year old two time Calgary Stampede Champion held off long-time travelling partner, Jake Vold and Manitoba bareback rider, Orin Larsen, in claiming the coveted championship buckle. Champion earned $77,448 over the season.

Louisiana roper, Shane Hanchey, edged Carstairs, AB talent, Kyle Lucas, to win his thrid Canadian Championship. Hanchey roped and tied his calf in 7.9 seconds on the last day to finish fourth in the round and first in the aggregate en route to victory. With total season earnings of $65,338, Hanchey slipped by Lucas by just $1700 for the win.

Bull rider, Wacey Finkbeiner, survived a final round buck-off to win his first Canadian Bull Riding Championship. The Ponoka, AB hand had gone an impressive five for five prior to Sunday and that run, which included two first place cheques and the aggregate title, gave him the winning season total of $73,729 – and a $14,000 cushion over runner-up Cody Coverchuk of Meadow Lake, Sask.

Rounding out the roster of winners at CFR ‘45 were first time High Point Champion, Riley Warren, who edged hard-luck cowboy, Kyle Lucas, by less than $1300 and All Around Champion, Jacob Gardner (Dawson Creek, BC) who placed in two rounds to claim the buckle.

The novice champions for 2018 were Mason Helmiczi from Sundre, AB in the bareback riding and Wildwood, Alberta’s Cooper Thatcher in the novice saddle bronc riding. The steer ridng title went to 14 year old Tristen Manning from Yellowhead County, AB.

CFR stock award winners were C5 Rodeo’s amazing bareback horse, F13 Virgil, who had already claimed back-to-back World and Canadian Championships; Northcott-Macza’s four time Canadian Champion saddle bronc horse, 242 Get Smart, and Vold Rodeo’s bull, 621 Wicked Dreams.

Rodeo athletes and fans big farewell to the winningest bull rider in Canadian rodeo history as Scott Schiffner made his final ride on Sunday afternoon. The Strathmore cowboy announced in July that this would be his last season before stepping into retirement. He leaves the sport as a two time Canadian Champion, two time Calgary Stampede Champion and 18 time Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifier – a record among bull riders.

CFR ‘45 at Westerner Park in Red Deer, Alberta was a huge success with sold out performances, first class production and tremendous community support. 1.65 million was paid out to contestants over the course of the six day event.

For complete results, see rodeocanada.com

Champions Performing Like Champions

Photo by Billie-Jean Duff.

Courtesy of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association.

In just a few hours, Canadian Professional Rodeo’s champions will be crowned. And CFR ‘45 – the first in Red Deer, Canada – will come to a close. Two cowboys who will be in the spotlight on Championship Sunday are 2016 World Champions and reigning Canadian Champions, Levi Simpson and Jeremy Buhler. The talented duo have placed in every round and tied for first in two of them to put $32,400 in each man’s pocket to date. Both Simpson and Buhler and co-round winners, Clay Ullery and Riley Warren, posted 4.0 second runs – the fastest time of the week.

“The cow that we drew tonight didn’t have the best track record, but it looked really good on the video from the first two times that it went.” Simpson noted. “I just tried to see my start. The round was shaping up to be really fast with three runs prior to us of 4.3 and I knew we’d have to speed it up a bit tonight to stay in the money. We were able to make a good solid run and things just worked out.”

Heading into the final performance, Simpson and Buhler are first overall and first in the aggregate with an overall time of 27.2 seconds on five head.

Another roper who is enjoying a productive and profitable week is Carstairs, Alberta cowboy, Kyle Lucas. The five-time CFR qualifier started slowly, finishing out of the money on night number one, but since then has been on his game with a first, a second and a pair of thirds to move him to first in the aggregate (41.5 seconds on five head). The $25,920 Lucas has earned this week has him $4,700 ahead of two-time Canadian Champion and 2013 World Champ, Shane Hanchey, of Sulphur, Louisiana.

“I had a few mishaps in the first three rounds on my part,” shared Lucas, “that I feel were kind of rookie mistakes. I was  letting the nerves get to me but I was able to set those aside for the next few rounds. I should have been better tonight as well, but I’ll be thankful for third.”

Tight races are the order of the day in the remaining events as well.

In the bareback riding, three-time Canadian Champion, Jake Vold, remains in the overall lead with Dublin, Texas cowboy, Richmond Champion, and Ky Marshall of Bowden, AB tucked just behind him in second and third respectively.

Ponoka, Alberta’s Wacey Finkbeiner is the only man who’s five for five in the bull riding. The second generation athlete holds a $4,700 lead on fellow Ponoka resident, Zane Lambert. However, Finkbeiner leads the aggregate with Lambert sitting in fourth.

Hermiston, Oregon barrel racer, Callahan Crossley, has put together the most lucrative CFR week to date with $47,250 in earnings. With three first place finishes and two seconds, the three time CFR qualifier (and former runner up for a Canadian title) has vaulted from fourth place at the start of the week, to first with a comfortable $12,000 lead over second place cowgirl, Taylor Manning.

Scott Guenthner of Provost, Alberta saw his season lead evaporate during the early rounds of this CFR, but has rebounded with a first and a split of second in the last two rounds to climb back into the driver’s seat heading into Sunday. $15,000 back of Guenthner is Fort St. John, BC dogger Stephen Culling.

And in the saddle bronc riding, 2016 Canadian Champion, Clay Elliott (Nanton, AB) holds a razor thin lead of $200 over second place man, Zeke Thurston. Third place cowboy, Jake Watson, is also in the conversation. While Watson is $15,000 in arrears of Elliott and Thurston, Watson sits first in the aggregate while Elliott holds down third place and Thurston is back in sixth.

The Champions in all seven events will be determined Sunday afternoon, November 4 at the Enmax Centrium, Westerner Park in Red Deer. If you are unable to be there in person, sign up to follow the action on FloRodeo’s Live Stream or tune into CFCW 840 Radio. And look for complete results at rodeocanada.com

Round Five Summary

• Bareback riding round winners: Orin Larsen – 87 points on Big Stone Rodeo’s Mayhem

Overall bareback riding leader: Jake Vold

Aggregate leader: Orin Larsen

 

• Steer wrestling round winner: Craig Weisgerber – 3.5 seconds

Overall steer wrestling leader: Scott Guenthner

Aggregate leader: Dallas Frank

 

• Team roping round winners: (tie) Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler and Clay Ullery/Riley Warren – 4.0 seconds

Overall team roping overall leaders: Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler

Aggregate leaders: Levi Simpson/Jeremy Buhler

 

• Saddle bronc riding round winner: Zeke Thurston – 84.5 points on Kesler Rodeo’s Navajo Sun

Overall saddle bronc riding leader: Clay Elliott

Aggregate leader: Jake Watson

 

• Tie-down roping round winner: (tie) Logan Bird and Stetson Vest – 7.9 seconds

Overall and Aggregate tie-down roping leader: Kyle Lucas

 

• Ladies barrel racing round winner: Taylor Manning – 13.640

Overall and Aggregate ladies barrel racing leader: Callahan Crossley

 

• Bull riding round winner: Zane Lambert – 87.25 points on Vold Rodeo’s Blow Me Away

Overall and Aggregate bull riding leader: Wacey Finkbeiner

 

All Around Champion: Jacob Gardner

Steer Riding Champion: Tristen Manning

Novice Bareback Riding Champion: Mason Helmeczi

Novice Saddle Bronc Riding Champion: Cooper Thatcher

Trick Rider Extraordinaire: Noemy Coeurjoly

Coeurjoly’s specialty is Roman Riding, demonstrated here. Photo Credit: Birtz Photography

Noemy Coeurjoly appears fearless as she races around Quebec’s major rodeo, Festival Western de St-Tite for the opening act. Standing atop a paint horse, carrying the flag of the rodeo, sparks erupting from the top of the pole. You wouldn’t know from her appearance that this was her first season performing alone on the rodeo road, or that being a part of St-Tite has been one of her biggest dreams since she was a young girl. Western Horse Review sits down with Noemy Coeurjoly to talk trick riding, the skill of roman riding, and how a young girl from Quebec ended up in Nanton, AB, and is taking the world of speciality acts by storm.

How did you get started in trick riding?

It began with Sally Bishop, one of Canada’s top trick riding and stunt performers. Sally was in Quebec performing at the St-Tite Rodeo, we had a mutual friend that introduced us. I didn’t speak any English at the time. My goal when I was younger was always to learn English. The mutual friend translated for us and that’s how it all started. A few months later I had contacted her and she messaged me back telling me I could come out and help her on the road with the four horses she was using at performances at the time. So two days after my prom, my dad bought me a plane ticket and I met her in Cody, Wyoming. That was only the second time I had ever met Sally, she had that big of a heart that she told me to come on and we’d try to make it work and she would teach me

When did you start performing?

I have been doing roman riding and practicing with Sally for four year now but I didn’t start performing by myself, at rodeos and in front of crowds, until this last year. I live with Sally at her home in Nanton, so when I left Alberta for the first time and starting doing rodeos by myself it was stressful. I went to Quebec because I knew there was no specialty acts or trick riders performing. When I left Alberta I had one rodeo booked, I knew that if I got myself down there with my horses, I would probably end up booking more performances but I had to take that chance. After that first rodeo I was able to book performances at almost every weekend from there on.

It was definitely stressful at first, it was hard without my coach there but it went well, we just kept going to rodeos from June to September, and then I ended up getting to perform at St-Tite.

 

Noemy Coeurjoly performs during the opening act of St-Tite rodeo. Photo Credit: Birtz Photography
Tell me about St-Tite, it must be a significant rodeo for you having grown up in Quebec?

Performing at St. Tite was one of my big dreams. I told myself that I would do anything just to be a part of the show. This year I was a part of the opening, there was pyro and fires, and it was crazy, but it went very well.

Walk me through one of your performances?

In roman riding, I perform with two horses, so I have one foot on each of my horses. I generally start off by running two full laps at the lope on my horses. Then I do pole bending, I show the crowd my horses aren’t tied together. I do a fancy footwork pattern and jump my horses together. During the opening I also do a hippodrome where I am standing on one horse’s back carrying the Canadian flag.

What attracted me to roman riding was the adrenaline, it keeps you going. Sometimes it’s scary, you have to push yourself. The jump was the hardest thing to learn when I first started. I actually learned to jump with four horses and so when I started jumping two my balance just wasn’t the same. I also struggled a bit with the back-up when I started out, but now both maneuvers are a normal part of my performances!


What are you looking forward to next year?

I have in my head to build a fire jump and a pole with torches on top of it for next year. I am going to change a little bit of my fancy footwork and make my patterns faster. I also have another horse I am going to start using for my openings, which will be her first year doing rodeos.

What is your best advice for someone wanting to get into trick riding?

Even if you are scared you have to try it, and go for it. You have to get out of your comfort zone to be good at what you do. My advice for kids that are starting out in trick riding would be to follow your dreams, never stop, it’s possible, you just have to make it happen.


What’s the best advice someone has ever given you?

I don’t have an exact piece of advice but Sally would always push me harder than I thought I was able too. Sometimes I would be in my head about a trick, thinking I can’t do it, but Sally would make me, she would make me practice so I could get better and stronger so I could perform better.

You can follow Noemy’s adventures on her Facebook page – Noemy Coeurjoly – Roman Riding

The Grind Doesn’t Stop

Roy on an autumn, Alberta ride. Photo by Taylor Hillier Photography.

BY JENN WEBSTER

Bryn Roy, an Alberta boy who successfully made the journey from cowboy to professional linebacker, is many things.

He was drafted by the Montreal Alouettes in the Canadian Football League in 2012 and then played for the Saskatchewan Roughriders in 2016 and the Edmonton Eskimos in 2017. He grew up in a rodeo family, which naturally transitioned Roy into roping, and bulldogging in the competition arena. And he’s a down-home guy who can still remember the first horse he ever swung a leg over, an Appaloosa named Chief. But perhaps most notably for a 30-year-old cowboy of his merit, Roy is an inspiration for other young, Canadian athletes who may want to follow in his footsteps.

“I know how hard it is to be a high school kid coming out of Alberta, wanting to pursue an athletic career,” Roy states. “It makes it tough to go on. There’s a lot of good athletes here who don’t necessarily get the exposure they need.”

This past spring, Roy put together the Bryn Roy Southern Alberta Football Combine and the response was overwhelming for the event’s first year out of the gate. Seeing a need for a Canadian showcasing event that allowed potential football hopefuls to perform physical and mental tests in front of a panel of scouts, Roy brought 25 universities and schools together this past March. He expects more to join the ranks in 2019.

“I started calling different universities, I had schools all the way from Calgary to Texas who came to watch that day. A few kids got signed and got scholarships and are now focusing on the next level! I’m excited about it,” he explained. “I feel that we are at somewhat of a disadvantage up here, because we don’t have the same opportunities American athletes have. And it’s based off numbers alone,” Roy stated.

“From what I’ve seen and what I’ve been able to prove, the good players up here are just as good as the good American athletes – there’s just not as many of them.” Roy says much of his motivation for developing the combine was inspired by his own history. Determined to rewrite the books for a new wave of athletes coming up, he wanted to create a venue that brought out the “right kinds of eyes” for young potentials.

 

From Roy’s Instagram

 

“I wanted it so badly and eventually a way presented itself for me. But it took a lot of work and a little luck,” said Roy, who didn’t actually get to play organized football himself, until grade eight. In many ways, the odds were stacked against the rural Albertan to play professional football. However, where there’s a will, there’s a way and all the nights of watching football highlights, and days playing catch and running routes at rodeos grounds across North America eventually saw him become a collegiate athlete on scholarship. Now with 6 seasons under his belt in the CFL, Roy has a lot of experience he hopes to be able to share with others who want to tread a similar path.

“It’s fun to be able to try and help guys who want to do what I’ve done. The combine was my major emphasis of the spring.” For now, Roy is currently a free agent, which has afforded him the time it takes to put on such an event. Presently, he is already making plans for the 2019 combine, which will likely happen in February.

 

From Roy’s Instagram

 

“I would love to potentially play for the next three years – or I may never play again. That’s the side of sport that not everyone sees. It’s so far out of my control that I don’t even have a good answer for the question of my immediate future,” Roy said with honesty.

Until the next combine, Roy will busy himself training young athletes at Built Strong Athletics in Okotoks, AB, continue to work as a day hand on several different Alberta ranches, and fit some movie work in when he can. There’s also the call that came in yesterday – to see if he’d be interested to play in a European football league.

He’s got some thinking to do.

Until such time as he makes his decision however, he’s enjoying his time at home near Dalemead, AB, getting back to his roots.

“Once the the combine got wrapped up this spring, I was siting there trying to figure out what my next step was. I missed all the spring training and getting ready, as far as rodeoing goes. But I had a few young horses in the pasture that I had been riding, so I decided to get back to that a little,” he told. “There’s this palomino in the bunch that is my favourite – we call her Honey. she was a fun filly to start. We got going with her and eventually, I put her on the Heel-O-Matic,” Roy said.

“Now she’s a three-year-old and I’ve roped a few live steers with her, all the while, taking it pretty slow. I’ve since ranched off her a little and she has been awesome, right from the get-go.” Having talent to fall back on is a gift for which, many people can only wish. And while rodeo still holds its arms open to Roy – he wants to ensure he scores every last opportunity out of football at the same time.

“I put rodeo on the back-burner for so long and I’ve lived on the cusp of it. I’m still roping and throwing steers down at home – but you only can play football for so long. I’ve worked hard for that and I’m going to try and squeeze every last drop out of it that I can,” he said. Adding, “But that’s the beauty of the combine. As soon as my career is done, I can help the new generation.”

With the powerful forces of football and rodeo pulling him in either direction, the decision of which path to choose at this point in his life ain’t easy. Yet luckily for him, Roy has meaningful work on the horizon. And a few good horses waiting in the pasture.

 

For more information on the 2019 Bryn Roy Southern Alberta Football Combine, stay tuned to his personal Facebook page and Instagram @bryn_roy16.

Meet CS Princess Jaden Holle

Western Horse Review sat down with the 2018 Calgary Stampede Royal Trio, Queen Lindsay Lockwood, Princess Jaden Holle, and Princess Jessica Wilson, to discuss their year as Royalty. The women reflect on their biggest moments, their most gratifying connections and what they hope to leave behind as their legacies as they prepare to hand off their crowns to the up-and-coming trio. The Calgary Stampede Queen and Princesses competition is nearing soon and the 2019 trio will be crowned September 24.

2018 Calgary Stampede Princess Jaden Holle reflects on the wild ride that was her year as Royalty.

*Photos courtesy of Jaden Holle

What have been some of your most memorable experiences, since your reign as Princess began?

So many times this year I have had “I-can’t-believe-this-is-happening” moments. It is so hard to think of just one experience that stands out because time and time again I find myself in situations that are completely surreal. We have rubbed shoulders with some very inspirational and influential people and I’ve found myself in some places that I never thought I would be. Listening to astronauts and musicians and standing centre ice at the Flames Game or in the Canadian Embassy in Berlin have definitely made for some memorable experiences. However, when I think of the things I have gotten to do as a member of this trio, they are not always what comes to mind. The little interactions I have in unexpected moments are those that are really special, because they are just that: unexpected! I’ll always remember the looks of awe I get when I am able to tell a young girl that, ‘yes, I am a real princess’ or how it feels when the timid child at the back of the room surprises me with a hug on our way out. It is easy to cherish big moments because it is often apparent that a once-in-a-lifetime experience is happening. I wouldn’t change those surreal moments for anything, but I know that it is the small, seemingly insignificant encounters in between that really make my job special.

Can you please tell us about your experience applying to become part of the trio?

I always knew that it was a dream of mine to be a part of the Royal Trio, which is exactly what made applying so daunting. What if I wasn’t successful and it was a dream left unfulfilled? As scary as the potential for failure was, I knew that not trying at all would be worse. This years’ competition was actually my second time running to be a part of the trio. My first experience only solidified my desire to be a Queen or Princess one day. So not only was it daunting to think about failing in general, but it was almost more daunting to think that I might put in so much hard work only to be unsuccessful for a second time. The competition (both times) was incredibly challenging yet incredibly rewarding. I was overcome with self-doubt, fear and frustration, but I was also forced to be proud of myself for all of the obstacles I was overcoming. When I was finally crowned and all of my hard work paid off, I could hardly believe it. I felt so proud of myself for holding onto a dream and having the courage to try for it. I don’t think it sunk in for a week that I was actually part of the trio!

How has this experience changed your life?

I always say that this experience has pushed me out of my comfort zone in the best ways possible. Rather than walking into a room of strangers and feeling intimidated, I now feel a sense of excitement about all of the lived experiences and stories there are to share. I feel less dependent on my phone and get excited about the possibility of connecting with people! I have also developed such a deep sense of pride in Calgary this year. We really do have a unique culture of hospitality in this city and it’s so much fun to be able to share that. Because of this experience, I am a more confident woman and a prouder Canadian.

A younger Holle, who perhaps always knew she was destined to be a princess.

The royal trio are often role models for the younger generation, what is one thing you would like to pass on to these children that look up to you now?

I would encourage young people to be present! Turning off the screens really opens up a whole new world. There is so much to learn from nature and from people and the only way to really take advantage of that is by being totally and completely attentive to what (and who!) is around you. I have learned so much this year by leaving my phone at home!

Can you please tell us about your royal horse?

I ride Snoopy! Snoopy is a fourteen year-old quarter horse gelding. He joined the Royalty program in 2010 and after 8 years, he knows his job very well! He is a palomino and a retired movie horse. He can be seen on some of the early seasons of Heartland. Him and Kansas actually used to be doubles for each other in the movies because they look a lot alike. Snoopy is a spicy boy who loves to run. He gets really excited about grand entry and even knows the lyrics to “Oh Canada!” I have learned a lot about how attentive our horses are to our moods and to our body language through my partnership with Snoopy. He is been the most willing horse and the best teammate to me. He sometimes has a mind of his own, but he keeps me smiling and I feel so lucky I got to ride him this year. I will have a hard time giving him up as he has taken such good care of me.

Have there been any obstacles you’ve had to overcome this year that you would like to share?

I have had to overcome the need to be perfect and to compare myself to others. While I always try to be the very best ambassador possible for the Calgary Stampede, there are inevitably times when it feels that I could have better expressed myself, ridden better, or just simply have been better! I have learned to let those things go. I constantly strive to improve myself, but I also know that I am human and sometimes humans make mistakes! It is our attitude and how we deal with our shortcomings that really matter. Being in a trio, I have learned to rejoice in the skills and the gifts of my two teammates and embrace what I bring to the table. I have learned be proud of the way I am made, inside and out. The three of us next to one another are as different as they come. Even though we cannot borrow each other’s wranglers, that doesn’t make us feel any less beautiful or worthy to wear that iconic crown on our hats. Everybody and every body is beautiful and I hope people can see that when they look at my trio, which comes in small, medium, and large, as we lovingly joke about ourselves.

The Royalty’s gorgeous leathers were created by Janine’s Custom Creations, and are a favourite outfit of Holle’s.

What have been your favourite outfits so far?

We are lucky to have some amazing sponsors and we have a lot of beautiful outfits for every occasion. However, one of my personal favourites are our turquoise and brown leathers that Janine Stabner, of Janine’s Custom Creations, custom-made for us. They have beautiful hand-cut flowers on them. I feel confident and elegant when I put on these leathers and I really feel that I am a part of a legacy that is so much bigger than myself. These leathers remind me of the agricultural history Calgary is built upon, and the strong women of rodeo who have come before me. Wearing these leathers really makes me stand a little taller and and hold my head a little higher. As a young girl, I imagined myself wearing something like these leathers. So, when I put them on, it represents a dream becoming reality. I feel connected to the women who have paved this road for me, and I feel hopeful that I can inspire others to be strong, proud, and courageous in pursuing their dreams.

What will you be most sad to say goodbye to when you pass on your crown?

This year I have cultivated some beautiful friendships. I have gained three new best friends in Lindsay, Jessica and Cieran, the other members of this years Stampede Royalty. I know that we will be friends for life. However, I will be sad that we won’t be seeing each other on a daily basis. I will miss seeing all of the people regularly who have supported and encouraged me in this role, and I will miss the opportunity to make connections with people I probably wouldn’t otherwise have the occasion to meet! However, I know that through this I have joined a family that I will always be a part of—reigning Princess or not! Although things are sure to change for me when I pass on my crown, I know the Stampede family will always be there for me and there is an incredible group of Stampede sisters in the alumni that will be ready and willing to accept me with open arms.

What is your best tip or advice to the ladies that will be vying for the 2019 titles?

My biggest piece of advice would be to go for it! Have a positive attitude and consider everything an opportunity to learn. Also, cultivate friendships with the other girls! We all know that competitions are stressful and being judged is stressful, so you may as well bond with the people that know exactly what you are going through. Helping the other ladies and being friendly to them is not going to hinder your performance in any way, if anything it will leave you feeling empowered and energized to go through the competition. It will also help if you are crowned to know that you have already started a friendship with the people you are about to spend a significant amount of time with! My practical advice for the competition is that there is only so much you can control, so practice those things and let everything else go. Don’t dwell on your mistakes and always keep a smile on your face! We are all cheering you on and are proud of you no matter the outcome. Being crowned doesn’t take courage, but putting yourself out there does. So, congratulations! You are already a winner.

Holle says that becoming a Calgary Stampede Princess has made her a stronger, more confident woman, and a prouder Canadian.

Permanent Part of Our Program

Jeff Resch at the Festival Western in St. Tite, Quebec. Photo by BIRTZ Photography.

Jeff Resch is a professional pick-up man with many accolades, including the closing out of the final Canadian Finals Rodeo held in Edmonton last year. He has an identical twin (as he is brother to Jason Resch, also a professional pick-up man), and is highly respected by his peers at the highest levels of professional rodeo. The horses Jeff brings to work must be on their game because Resch’s job is often dangerous, and the lives of many cowboys depend on him.

Photo by SJ Originals.

When it comes to a feeding program for the horses Resch rides, Praise™ hemp superfood is a staple in his barn. “Never have our horses looked so great and felt so healthy and performed so well! Praise™ hemp is now a permanent part of our feeding program,” he says.

Praise™ hemp superfood is nutrient dense, all natural, low processed, easily digested form of healthy fats and an exceptional source of plant-based protein. EFA’s (Essential Fatty Acids) are essential to tissue growth and help regulate many internal functions. EFA’s are by definition, essential because they can’t be produced by the body and must be obtained through diet for proper growth and body functioning. EAA’s (Essential Amino Acids) are the building blocks found in protein and hemp offers an excellent protein quality which rivals many grains, as well as soy and whey. By supplementing hemp oil, topping, and protein fiber to an equine or canine’s diet, you may notice an improvement in: Immune System, Energy, Digestion, Skin and Coat, Mobility, Muscle Health and Cardiovascular Health.

“Our horses have never had the shine and bloom that they do now. Praise™ hemp is a very important part of our feeding program and after seeing the effects on our horses, I won’t go without it again. It is very simple to use both at home and on the road and all of our horses have loved the product from the beginning.” – Jeff Resch

For more information about Praise™ hemp, check out the website here.