Team Penning Wraps up at Stampede


Now, finally, George De Jonge can let himself off the hook.

One year ago, De Jonge, his daughter Cathy Sinclair, and his granddaughter Taylor Sinclair were just seconds away from a priceless family snapshot –winning a 7 Class championship together at the Calgary Stampede’s Team Cattle Penning Competition – before misfortune struck.

Monday night at the Scotiabank Saddledome, the trio got another chance . . . and slammed the gate on victory.

“Last year, we entered the final in first place, and our run happened so fast . . . Taylor came up with third cow, and it was so loud in here that we didn’t know it was happening,” recalled Cathy Sinclair. “The first cow spooked, and bolted back, and we lost those seconds we needed . . . so we finished fifth.”

Added Taylor: “Grandpa kept blaming himself, but we told him that no one’s to blame – because we’re family.”

Proving that blood is thicker than melancholy, the three West Coasters from Langley, B.C., saddled up again Monday on the final night of the Stampede’s Team Cattle Penning Competition – and ended up top of the heap in 7 Class, with solid runs of 38.11 seconds in the third round and 33.20 seconds in the 10-team final.

The winning team laid down an aggregate, four-round time of 137.41 seconds on 12 head of cattle, collecting a cheque for $18,081 and those coveted, handtooled Stampede championship buckles. Their spiffy final run triggered the fourth and final lead change of the money round, and left them standing alone among the 149 outfits that began the 7 Class showdown back on Wednesday at the Okotoks Agricultural Society.

“Every penning we go to, we ride as a family,” said De Jonge. “And we did it. We finally did it.”

“We came back to win these buckles,” added Cathy Sinclair. “It’s special . . . very special.”

The team of Rob Schalk of New Serepta, Alta., Mandy Schalk of New Serepta, Alta., and Bev Mailer of Leslieville, Alta., finished with an aggregate time of 156.61 seconds on 12 head, good enough for the reserve championship and a runner-up cheque of $12,218.

The last team out on the floor, and the only one with a chance at threatening the De Jonge brood’s title, couldn’t measure up, scoring a final-round 52.26 seconds on two head of cattle. Cayley Rishor-Olney of Selah, Wash., Rae Gulley of Gilbert, Ariz., and Doug Ohlmann of Thorsby, Alta., ended up seventh overall.


Team Cattle Penning, a race against the clock, gives a team of three riders on horseback 60 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30 and direct them into a 16-foot-by-24-foot pen at the opposite end of the arena. Teamwork is key, with all three riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen.

Standing second overall entering Monday’s final, Cathy Sinclair, her dad, and her daughter had their strategy all worked out.

“We decided that even though Taylor was first in, and my dad was second rider, he would walk in softly and find his cow. And as soon as my third cow popped out at the top of the herd, I booked it to the pen,” said Cathy. “My dad understands cattle. He’s been a farmer for 40 years.”


The Calgary Stampede boasts one of the biggest team penning competitions on the continent. This year, 492 teams from across North America converged on Calgary for a piece of the $225,000 in cash and prizes that were up for grabs in four classes over four nights of competition at the Saddledome.


The Stampede will be webcasting all events being held in the Scotiabank Saddledome and the Big Top this year. Visit for live streaming of Saddledome action, and for events under the Big Top.


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