Mutton busting is an event often held during the half-time of rodeos. The Tsuu T’ina Nation’s rodeo finals on Sunday had a very enthusiastic group of cowkids participating in this super fun event. This young girl, flanked by her father and one of the rodeo clowns, had an iron grip on the rope around the sheep’s back. The little steed jerked her off-centre as the gate opened but she hung on for a great ride. A very tough little girl!
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.
The new Bragg About the Creek magazine has just been published. My article, The Spirit of a Nation, about the Tsuu T’ina First Nation’s Annual Pow Wow and Rodeo is included in this issue. The article, more a photo essay, presents images and some of my thoughts from the past three celebrations. If you are interested in viewing the article with text and high-resolution images, please click this link (note – the file is a 2.3 MB PDF).
I live in Redwood Meadows on Tsuu T’ina land and the Beaver Dome (where the Pow Wow takes place) and the rodeo grounds are just across the road. My neighbours put on a collection of great events for young, old and everyone in-between. I have always had a fantastic time and, if you have an opportunity to visit Bragg Creek this summer, consider checking out this year’s celebration which runs from July 26th to the 28th.
(please click on an image to load a higher resolution version)
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!
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.
Sunday’s Finals should be the exclamation mark to end a great rodeo over the past 10 days. Good luck to all the competitors!
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!
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!
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.
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.
Jake Reinhart is a steer wrestler from Highmore in South Dakota. He competed at the 100th Calgary Stampede Rodeo yesterday and turned in a 4.6 second run. Enough to put him in the day money and move him closer to the finals on the last day of Stampede.
He also ran a nice line to keep the steer on course for Wade Sumpter (wrestling in the image above) who placed one spot ahead of Jake with a 4.4 second finish good for $2500.
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)
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.