Sports

The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s 2017 Rodeo is underway

 

Kezia and I went to the first night of the Tsuu T’ina Nation Annual Celebration’s 43rd Annual Rodeo.  Kezia’s friend was dancing in the Pow Wow so we did not stay too long.  Definitely looking forward to getting back tonight.

 


Calgary Stampede Rodeo – Day 1 Barrel Racing

The Barrel Racing on the first day of the Calgary Stampede Rodeo was exciting as it always is.  The speed the women turn their horses through the course is awesome.  I think there should be more women’s events at the Stampede but I’m happy there is at least this one to showcase just how great the cowgirls are!



 

 


Calgary Stampede Rodeo – Day 1 Bareback

I was fortunate to be able to join a great group in the infield for the first day of the 2017 Calgary Stampede Rodeo (thanks Todd!).  It’s been a couple of years since I had a good opportunity to photograph down there.  Our seats were at the top of the infield which afforded a great view from above the chutes.  The bareback event was foreshadowed by the novice bareback riders and they had exciting rides.  Below, Lane Ferguson from Granum, Alberta rode Xotic Departure to the day win in the novice bareback event.

A little while later, the professional bareback riding got started.  Caleb Bennett and Up Ur Alley put up an 85.50 on the first ride.

Cole Goodine on Soap Bubbles went the full time as well but fell a little short of Caleb’s opening mark.


I’m always amazed watching both the cowboys and the horses – balance, power and speed on both sides of the contest.  All are world class and they did more than their share to help the Stampede to live up to its name as the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.

Richie Champion astride Twin Cherry won the Day 1 money with a score of 89.00.  The first image in this set shows Richie set up well on the horse during the winning ride.  Below, the pair explode out of their gate – setting the tone for a great ride.


Calgary Stampede – running and riding at the rodeo

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-245-2

I started this year’s Calgary Stampede with an afternoon at the rodeo with two good friends.  We were part of a larger band of harmless troublemakers so the party started before and continued after the rodeo was over.  Photography wasn’t my focus on this visit to the grounds but I did have some good opportunities from the seats in the infield right above the chutes.

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-95

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-105

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-156

Calgary Stampede Day 1 Rodeo - © Christopher Martin-3

It was great to see the cowgirls, cowboys and all of the animals in action.  Judging by the capacity crowd and all of their happy faces, I wasn’t alone.  Happy Stampede!


Parkour Kian at Red Rock Canyon

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3260
When Kian and I were visiting Waterton we went up to explore the Red Rock Canyon.  Kian loved running on the slick rock and leaping back and forth across the stream.

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3257

I always love photographing him and when he’s in motion doubly so!  This was on the first day of our boys trip and set a great tone for the weekend.

Red Rock Canyon - © Christopher Martin-3252

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3231

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3280

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3281

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3282

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3286

Red Rock Canyon Parkour - © Christopher Martin-3244


Saddle Bronc Finals at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo

2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-1561

The Saddle Bronc was a great event to watch at this year’s Tsuu T’ina Rodeo.  The goal is to hang on for 8 seconds during a torturous ride that often finds the horse whipping the cowboy around like a rag doll tied to a rocket.  Here are a few images from the finals on July 26th.

2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-0781

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2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-1003

2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-0945

2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-0854

2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-0915

2015 Tsuu T'ina Saddle Bronc Finals - © Christopher Martin-0898


Tsuu T’ina Rodeo – Sunday Favourites

Faith Holyan Roping at the Tsuu T'ina Rodeo - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s Indian Rodeo is a grand event, as I have written about and shared photographs from for the past few years.  This year I was able to watch most of the Sunday Finals and the performances met all expectations.  Last week, I shared a few photos from the Saddle Bronc final.  Here are a few favourites from the other events on July 27th.

Rodeo airborne - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The race is on - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Backbone slide - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Stand up - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Roping a runaway - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Round the barrel - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Bull flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Rodeo clowns at work - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Showdown: Bull versus Cowboy - 2014 © Christopher Martin

These last two images are from Marlon Williams’s ride on Big Carl.  Marlon had a great ride and only came off the back after he’d logged the full 8 seconds and the bell had been rung.  This earned him the championship for the Bull Riding event which was the last one on the evening.

Bull and cowboy win - 2014 © Christopher Martin


Saddle Bronc Finals at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo


Ready to ride - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Seth Fenner in flight - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The finals of the 40th annual Tsuu T’ina Nation Indian Rodeo were held on July 27th.  This rodeo is a favourite of mine as the competitors, the stock and the atmosphere are all excellent.  This year was no exception and I had a great afternoon photographing the cowgirls and cowboys in their respective riding, racing and roping events.  The Saddle Bronc is always exciting as these horses get charged up and it is incredibly hard for anyone to hang on for the required 8 seconds.  Seth Fenner walked away as the champion with a memorable ride on Cowboy Casanova that earned him 76.5 points (the photograph above is from that ride; the one below is at the end of the ride when the pickup men come in to assist the cowboy’s dismount).

With help from the pickup men - 2014 © Christopher Martin

The high quality of the stock contributed to a great final and the cowboys met the challenge.  The cowboys in this event always amaze me – it’s like riding a rocket while wrestling an angry crocodile.  There were a couple of qualified a number of exciting rides with a couple full times and a couple buck offs.  It’s fun to watch and I’m always impressed how skilled and committed all of the supporting cast are (the pick up men, rodeo clowns, officials and beyond).  The Tsuu T’ina Rodeo is on the same level as much larger rodeos and I’m already looking forward to next year’s event.

A fight to fly - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Here are a few more photos from the Saddle Bronc event.  I will share more from the other events soon.

Bucked off - 2014 © Christopher Martin

Charging out - 2014 © Christopher Martin

One second to ground - 2014 © Christopher Martin


The Tsuu T’ina Rodeo Finals

Where are the brakes on this thing? - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s 39th Annual Open All Indian Rodeo ran from July 26-28 this year.  I went over several times and had a great time on the Redwood Fair Grounds watching the rodeo and the Pow Wow which combine to form the backbone of the Tsuu T’ina’s Annual Indian Days Celebration.  The rodeo finals on Sunday got started under dark skies but the rain never fell and the sun drifted in and out of the clouds throughout the afternoon.

Turning on the barrel - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/6400th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

It was a perfect afternoon for rodeo and judging by the full grandstand, there were many people who agreed.  We were rewarded with a lot of top shelf performances by the cowgirls, cowboys and animals who were competing.  Here is a collection of a few of my images from this year’s finals.

Busted by mutton - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

Roping with the crowd - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/8 on ISO 800

A hard charging partnership - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DII camera with a Canon 70-200mm lens + a 1.4X extender at 235mm: 1/1250th of a second at f/6.3 on ISO 400

The steer wrestler's leap of faith - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1250th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

Down in the dirt - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 800

Dialed in - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600

Great throw! - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/1000th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600

From one ride to another - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/5.6 on ISO 1600

Driving off the two barrel - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 400

Virgil Jacobs - 2013 steer wrestling champion - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2500th of a second at f/4 on ISO 1600

The steer wrestler above is Virgil Jacobs.  He came out guns blazing and beat all the other cowboys to win the event this year.  My hat is off to you sir!

Perfect! - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/640th of a second at f/11 on ISO 1600

Who's not watching the barrel? - 2013 © Christopher Martin

Canon 5DIII camera with a Canon 500mm lens: 1/2000th of a second at f/4 on ISO 400


Flying at the Tsuu T’ina Rodeo

Cowboy Flight - 2013 © Christopher Martin

On Friday night the kids and I went across the road to the Tsuu T’ina Nation Rodeo that runs July 26th to 28th this year.  It was a warm, sunny evening and it was great to see the stands pretty close to full.  With a good crowd on hand, the riders were fired up and there were some great performances. This cowboy had a wild ride that ended up with him earning a free flight.  I will be heading back for the finals on Sunday – I’m looking forward to another great day.


Hawaiian surfer: riding off Ke’e Beach

Surfing at Ke'e - © Christopher Martin-5634

(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)

Ke’e Beach is further up the coast on the north shore.  The waves were big and came in haphazard sets with some breaks sending waves slamming into other ones.  I did not expect to see anyone surfing there but on one of the days we spent on the beach, watching the coastline and keeping an eye out for seals, I saw one fellow sitting on a surfboard watching the waves.  He watched for quite a while and then headed out, presumably having found the right spot and the right way to get out to it.

Into the cauldron - © Christopher Martin-5554

I kept an eye on his progress and when he started catching waves it was awesome.  He knew what he was doing and it was great to watch him navigate through the chaos, pick a wave and then grab a good ride.


Hawaiian bodyboarders: riding off Nukoli’i Beach

Wave riding - © Christopher Martin-1115

(please click on each image to open a higher resolution version)

Nukoli’i Beach seems to be an unpredictable surfing location in the winter.  The waves moving west were great the first few days on this eastern beach that we were in Kaua’i at the beginning of December.  However after one huge storm that raged across the island, they remained choppy and were not frequented by any surfers or bodyboarders for the rest of our stay.  Those first few days I did get out twice to photograph some of the bodyboarders.  The waves were breaking pretty far out but a long lens helped to make a few images.

Carvin' - © Christopher Martin-0902

Down the line - © Christopher Martin-1118

Tunneling - © Christopher Martin-1051-2

Ocean spray - © Christopher Martin-1033

Workin' a small one - © Christopher Martin-0913

Boogie boarder - © Christopher Martin-0814

This trip to Hawai’i I spent my time in the ocean photographing underwater and that squeezed out any time that I might have gone bodyboarding or surfing.  I’ll make up for that on the next visit.  It was really fun to watch these guys ripping along the waves.  I can’t wait to join in!

Flying off the back - © Christopher Martin-0670-3


Calgary Stampede – Bull Riding Champion

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The finals of the Calgary Stampede’s Centennial Rodeo were a wet, muddy affair this afternoon.  It was awesome!  The last event was the Bull Riding Final.  Earlier in the day, the rain and mud seemed to work in the bull’s favour and of the ten cowboys that qualified for last day, only three of the four places in the final four were filled.  The other men were bucked off and did not get a shot at the $100,000.  In the final, luck stayed with the bulls and all three riders were thrown.  That meant another round of rides but adrenaline took over and you wouldn’t have known that these guys were each on their third bull of the day!  Shane Proctor, the 2011 Stampede Champion from Mooresville, North Carolina, got started and hung on from the side of the bull for the last two seconds to make full-time and earned a score of 66.50.  With the wet conditions and the ferocity of the animals, no one ruled out that as the winning ride even though the cowboy himself would have liked more.

Next up was Aaron Roy from Yellow Grass, Saskatchewan.  He rode beautifully aboard Risky Remedy and scored an 86.0.  He had great control and it was a ride worthy of a champion.

The final ride, barring a tie, was Chad Besplug riding on Kish This.  When the gate swung open, they came out like a huge whirling dervish.

Mud flying, cow jumping and spinning while the cowboy stayed balanced and rode out the madness.

Chad won the battle and remained firmly in place past the horn.  He did end up getting thrown and went flying in the air a couple of seconds after time.

However, you have to get off a bull somehow and as long as you don’t get hurt doing it then it’s a good dismount.

The crowd knew it was a great ride but it was not clear where his score would land.  Later, when he was being interviewed he said neither him or Aaron Roy were sure who won.  They had a minute to share a couple of words while the judges confirmed the score and shook hands agreeing that either one was deserving.  The score was an 87.0 and Chad Besplug earned the title of Calgary Stampede Bull Riding Champion for 2012.

The three rodeo clowns, who practice their craft of keeping the bull riders safe exceptionally well, were the first to congratulate the winner.

Then, as he crossed the infield, they tackled him into the muddy bog created by the rain that had just ended.  That was almost as much fun as the winning ride itself.

Congratulations Chad – well-earned and it is fantastic to have a Canadian champion on the 100th anniversary of the Calgary Stampede!


Calgary Stampede – Wildcard Saturday at the Rodeo

Saturday was the last chance for competitors in the rodeo events to qualify for finals.  A lot of fun watching these athletes (people and animals) perform.  I’m heading down to the Stampede for the finals now but wanted to share some of the moments from the day of wildcards.

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Sunday’s Finals should be the exclamation mark to end a great rodeo over the past 10 days.  Good luck to all the competitors!


Calgary Stampede – Lindsay Sears tearing up the Ladies Barrel Racing on Day 7

Lindsay Sears is a local barrel racer from Nanton, Alberta.  She won the Barrel Racing event at the 2008 Calgary Stampede as well as being a two-time Barrel Racing World Champion (2008 and 2011).  The crowd went crazy when she raced today and it was well deserved.  She is the best in the sport right now and is rightfully the hometown favourite.

She has been getting faster with each day through the qualifiers at the 100th Calgary Stampede Rodeo this year.  She won the Thursday Group B qualifier, with a time of 17.62 seconds.  She is currently tied for 4th place in Group B with the last qualifier on Friday.  I would expect she will keep getting faster and should earn her spot in the Sunday finals without rolling the dice in the Wildcard Saturday event.  When the finals are run on the 15th, her track record would suggest it might be foolish to bet against her walking away the centennial champion.  I can’t wait for that race – good luck Lindsay!


Calgary Stampede – Bradley Harter in the Saddle Bronc on Day 7 at the Rodeo

Bradley Harter had a good ride at the rodeo on Thursday.    The Loranger, Louisiana native was riding Spring Planting and the pairing earned a score of 81.50.  Which was good for fourth place on the day’s Saddle Bronc event.

I really like this cowboy’s riding style – nice straight lines due to great balance in the saddle and on the stirrups.  I’m hoping he can turn in a score in the high 80’s and qualify for the Finals on Sunday directly.  If not, he’ll be fighting for one of two wildcard spots up for grabs on Saturday.  Good luck Bradley!


Calgary Stampede – Day 5 at the Rodeo

The rodeo down at the Calgary Stampede today was great today.  It was Day One for the Group B competitors and it seemed obvious that they were ready to get started.

Here, Cody Cassidy has just left a perfectly comfortable horse to dive onto the back of a slightly ornery cow.  The Donalda, Alberta cowboy did a great job with this ride pulling the steer down in 4.5 seconds which was good for second place on the day.

Blake Knowles, from Heppner, Oregon, digs boots into the dirt as he drags the steer to a stop.

Clint Cannon had a wild ride on Coal Black with the horse winning today’s round.  It was a good Bareback event matchup and I would like to see Clint turn in some good scores and get into the final.

In the same event, Jake Vold drew Witch Doctor.  The horse lived up to its name and was a tricky ride.  One that the Bareback rider from Ponoka, Alberta was up to the challenge for.  Together, the pairing won the day with an 86.0 ride.

Savannah Reeves, a perennial contender from Cross Plains, Texas who won the 2010 Ladies Barrel Racing event rounds the first barrel during her run.

I can’t wait for the weekend.  The performances have already been great and I am excited about what we will see for the finals.


Calgary Stampede Rodeo – Saddle Bronc Ride

Chet Johnson from Douglas, Wyoming had a spirited ride on Alley Lights on Friday during the first day.

He was bucked off just before time.  With the heavy downpour adding to the atmosphere, I thought the horse and the cowboy put on a great performance.


Calgary Stampede – Rodeo Action

Day one at the Calgary Stampede Rodeo was fantastic.  A number of really great rides on the bulls and the horses throughout the afternoon.  The ropers had a bit of trouble, several cowboys missed with the rope.  But the wrestlers threw themselves at the steers with high enthusiasm.  All the events were exciting, I’m looking forward to the rest of the competition.

Here, Dean Gorsuch from Gering, Nebraska hits the brakes sliding to a stop with the cow on his way to winning the day’s event in a time of 3.8 seconds.

(Please click on the image to open a higher resolution image in a new window)


Calgary Stampede Favourites

A rider crashes into the ground after being bucked off at the 2010 Calgary Stampede.

Only 67 days to the start of the 100th Calgary Stampede.    With this year being the centennial anniversary for the Stampede, the rodeo, and all of the events in general,  should be fantastic.  I have a lot of fun as a spectator, a fan and a photographer at the rodeo.  Great action and amazing performances by the animals and the athletes.  I’m already getting excited about getting down to the grounds and covering the Stampede again this year.

These images are from the past couple of years and include a selection of my favourites.  You can click on this link or any of the images to go to the full gallery.

I will be displaying a couple of prints in the Western Showcase again this year and am planning to shoot the rodeo for the third straight year.  I hope to add a few to this collection this year. 


Exploring the Rockies: a few summertime adventures in the mountains

I was working on some images of the active lifestyle in the Rockies for a client and thought the summer set would be fun to post.  With fall ready to give way to winter any day it was nice to recall the summer before the snow flies.

In July Jeff and I met a kayak team on the Kananaskis River during one of their training sessions.  We definitely had the easier work scurrying over the rocks photographing compared to waging war against and conspiring with the water.

When I was in the Tonquin Valley with Art Wolfe and Gavriel Jecan, I had a minute to photograph Gav as he was bouldering.  That ended when we noticed a grizzly bear among the rocks a stone’s throw away.

This guy, Chris as coincidence had it, was visiting friends in Jasper and came to Horseshoe Lake for one purpose: to hurl himself off this cliff about seventy feet above the lake.  I remember doing some decent jumps but shooting him descending was a different perspective.  I was impressed with his lack of hesitation and the nonchalance displayed when he swam back to the shore afterwards.  It wasn’t enough to convince me to follow suit though.

I photographed a group of para-gliders, hang-gliders and other fliers from their launch at the top of a ridge above Golden in British Columbia.  Watching them spiraling  upwards on thermals, as this lady was doing in the image above, was amazing.  I came away with a profound appreciation for the grace and the silence of these engine free forms of flight.

We went into the Tonquin Valley in August along a trail that started in forest, came up above the treeline and then slowly descended towards Amethyst Lake.  In the image above, our guide Sarah is leading our group out of the valley.  Seemingly not as adventurous as some of the other images, throw in a trailside bee hive and a six hour trek through rain and sleet, and I think it belongs.


Cochrane Lion’s Labour Day Rodeo

I was down at the rodeo with my kids and my parents for a couple of hours yesterday.  Here are a few from the events that I pulled off between runs to the fair ground and the snack tent.  After a rainout the night before, Saturday was beautiful.  A great small town rodeo – definitely part of what summer in Alberta is.

 

 


Kayak Training Session in Kananaskis

Kayaking is a sport I’ve always been interested in.  On the weekend, my friend Jeff and I met up with a team of kayakers at Canoe Meadows on the Kananaskis River.  We had arranged with their coach to meet the team during one of their training sessions and photograph them while they practiced on the water.

Good guys, strong athletes and great water made for some fun photography.  Here are a few images from the session.

An aggressive charge by the kayaker and a longer shutter speed created an image which suggests the power of the sport and of the water.

The fast pace of the downstream sections provided a nice opportunity to drag the shutter and abstract the action a little.

Photographed just after dropping into this hole, the paddler drives in his oar and pulls himself up and out.

  The course at Canoe Meadows is highly configurable and the setup on Saturday appeared to be a good challenge that these guys had fun attacking.

A lucky break in the sheet of water splashing up affords a window into the concentration needed when you are playing in, wrestling on and fighting with a strong river.


Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby – the chuck wagon finals

Sunday was the last day of the Calgary Stampede.  The final event at the grandstand was the Rangeland Derby where the chuckwagon teams who had successfully vied for a place in the last heat ran for the $100,000 first place prize.  The final four drivers were Kelly Sutherland, Reg Johnstone, Jerry Bremner and Kurt Bensmiller based on their record over the previous nine days of racing. 

Kelly Sutherland is the king in the world of chucks.  Last year he surpassed legendary driver Dick Cosgrave for most wins at the Calgary Stampede with 11.  This year, he came out of the barrel turns clean and held on to the lead tightly all the way down the stretch.

Lined up for the race here is the calm but crowded start to the final. 

(I’m still not sure if this slow shutter, zoomed focal length image works or not but thought I’d include it anyways).

Coming out of the barrel turns, Sutherland was tight on the rail and even with Reg Johnstone.  He pulled away through over the open track and beat the Bashaw Flash (Johnstone) by just over a second.

Kelly Sutherland’s thumbs up is a trademark move and with the success he’s earned, the Stampede crowd has seen it many times.  Here Kelly celebrates the win with the grandstand crowd.

And here are some more images from the Sunday evening heats that preceded the final.

Jason Glass guides his team around the barrel on his way to winning Heat 1.

Another of Jason Glass showing the intensity that has carried him to a very successful career – including 3 world champion chuckwagon titles .

The horses of Ray Mitsuing and Hugh Sinclair in a flurry of motion as these two lead wagons race free of the barrel turns and out onto the racetrack.

One of the outriders pulls his horse towards the starting line for the next race.

Devin Mitsuing rounds the one barrel during the demonstration race before the heats start.  The announcer narrates the race to help spectators new to the sport understand the rules and some of the nuances of chuckwagon racing.

The last image in this post is of Troy Dorchester as he rides by the crowd during the cool down trot following the race.

This year’s showdown final was great fun and was a fitting way to close out the Stampede sporting events just ahead of the last Grandstand Show and the fireworks display.  I am already looking forward to next year.