In The Corral August/September 2010

The Voice of Williams Lake High School Rodeo

Willie Crosina, veteran rodeo announcer and high school rodeo
supporter for 40 years (and counting), was honoured by the
Williams Lake High School Rodeo Club
Photo by Liz Twan

Congratulations to Willie Crosina — the voice of high school rodeo in Williams Lake — on his recent award presented by the Williams Lake High School Rodeo Club (WLHSRC).
So far, from 1970 to 2010, the 84-year-old Crosina has promoted, sponsored, announced and volunteered for high school rodeo, promoting the sport any way he could and at every opportunity.
Along with his wife Terry — who has probably timed more high school rodeos than anyone in the province — they have been unwavering supporters of a sport they truly love.
At the start of the perf he was relieved temporarily) of his microphone and asked to make his way down to the front of the bucking chutes where all of the current members of the Williams Lake High School Rodeo Club were waiting for him.
Keegan Smith (on behalf of the WLHSRC) presented Willie with a special trophy buckle to honour his 40 years supporting high school rodeo in Williams Lake and throughout the province. The buckle, which features a rodeo announcer in the centre, reads: WLHSR — 2010 — Willie Crosina.
The visibly emotional Crosina humbly accepted his buckle from the students and then proudly put it on his belt before making his way back to the announcers booth.
Crosina, a former rodeo competitor and rodeo clown, is also a Williams Lake Stampede director who does a tremendous amount of work for that association. For countless years he has hosted an annual tour to the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Edmonton.
Crosina has introduced thousands of people to the sport of rodeo. According to the parents and alumnae of WLHSRC and high school rodeo across B.C., the award was well-deserved as it would be hard to find a more dedicated volunteer or better ambassador for the sport.

Kenny McLean Rides Forever

corral0810_02_250 Moments after helping to unveil the statue depicting the great cowboy Kenny McLean, his grandson Taber McLean leans in to touch the statue.
Many officials, including federal cabinet minister Stockwell Day (blue blazer), attended the unveiling.
Photo courtesy of Mike Puhallo

Nearly eight years after his final ride, Canadian Rodeo legend Kenny McLean is back in the saddle again. The life-size bronze statue of McLean on the bucking horse, Warpaint, was unveiled in his home town of Okanagan Falls on May 8 for a large crowd of family, friends and admirers. McLean was the World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider in 1962 and won 14 major Canadian titles in his professional career. He won his first buckle in 1956 at the age of 17 and 45 years later he won the World Senior Pro Calf Roping Championship. In 1974, McLean was the first cowboy to be inducted into the B.C. Sports Hall of Fame. He is also inducted in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (1993) and the National Cowboy Hall of Fame (2005) in Oklahoma City. In 1976, McLean was awarded the Order of Canada.

Empty Saddles
John (Johnny Y)
Yarshenko 1954 – 2010

John Yarshenko
Photo courtesy of Yarshenk family archives

Johnny Yarshenko passed away in Regina on April 26, 2010, at the age of 55. Raised at Maple Creek, Sask., Yarshenko was a true man of the West. He rode saddle broncs in his youth and worked on ranches, community pastures and in livestock auction markets his entire adult life. He broke hundreds of saddle horses, was a brand inspector in Alberta and his resume included cowboying on the Aleutian Islands. He leaves behind Jan, his wife of 12 years, and his family.

Miss Rodeo Canada Picks Up the Lines

2010 Miss Rodeo Canada Britteny Foster and 2010 MRC Princess Dana Hansen were honoured guests at the Grande Prairie Stompede. It was quite a homecoming for the First Lady of Rodeo as Britteny represented Miss Grande Prairie Stompede in 2008-2009.
While enjoying the hospitality of the great community and the rodeo committee — most notably Nicole Cooke, Chyanne Freemantle and Josh Grin — the highlight of her week-long visit was the opportunity to drive a six-horse hitch of Belgians in the chuckwagon grand entry.
“It was amazing to feel the power behind those beauties,” says a still-awed Foster. The matched hitch is owned by Barry Miles, a director of the Peace Draft Horse & Pulling Club in Grande Prairie.
“I am grateful to have the support of the Grande Prairie community and the Peace Country. I am proud to be from the North,” enthused Foster.
It was also a time for Grande Prairie to welcome their new rodeo queen; congratulations to Samantha Callioux — Miss Grande Prairie Stompede 2010.

corral0810_04_250 Six-horse hitch owner and teamster Barry Miles and 2010 Miss Rodeo Canada Britteny Foster pack a wagon load of celebrities into the Grande Prairie Stompede arena for the chuckwagon grand entry — including Josh Grin and Rose Sinclair, the 2010 Stompede Wagon Master.
Photo by Diane Foster

Empty Saddles
Stan Weatherly 1938 – 2010

Martin Sobie (left) presents Stan Weatherly
with the Dodge truck won by War Cry for 2006
Saddle Bronc of the Canadian Finals Rodeo.
Photo by Terri Mason

Stan Weatherly, one of Canada’s most respected stock contractors, died suddenly June 8 at the age of 72.
Weatherly, whose rodeo outfit is known as Big Country, was the elder statesman of Canadian stock contractors, having purchased his CPRA card in 1971.
Big Country has supplied stock to the Calgary Stampede for nearly three decades and every Canadian Finals Rodeo since its inception in 1974. In addition to providing stock to every CFR, he also rode as a pick up man in 1975.
Big Country’s best-known bucking stock included 1985 Canadian Champion saddle bronc, J.B., two-time CFR saddle bronc champion War Cry (2005, 2006), 1980 Calgary Stampede champion bareback horse Tanya Tucker, and Stampede champion bulls Cowtown’s Raisin’ Hell, a two-time winner, and Handyman. A man of strength and integrity, Weatherly supplied bucking stock to the Maple Creek Rodeo for 33 years on a handshake. There never was a contract.
Weatherly leaves behind his wife, Elda, son Warren, daughters Diane and Donna and four grandchildren.

World Champion Grated Coconut Retired

Davey Shields Jr. rides Grated Coconut to a
95-point ride at the 2005 Calgary Stampede
Photo by Mike Copeman

Grated Coconut, the Calgary Stampede’s six-time World Champion Bareback Bronc, has been retired from competition.
“Grated Coconut hasn’t competed since National Finals Rodeo last fall in Las Vegas,” says Dr. David Chalack, president and chairman of the board, Calgary Stampede. “In watching him closely this spring out at Stampede Ranch, it is clear he is now primarily interested in spending time with the mares.”
“We’re happy to let him spend the rest of his days having fun at the Ranch — he’s certainly earned it. We are very proud that Grated Coconut retires as the current Canadian and World Champion,” says Chalack.
Grated Coconut will continue to be the foundation sire for the Stampede’s Born to Buck breeding program.
Grated Coconut is the son of Calgary Stampede’s Coconut Roll and Wyatt Earp, Harvey Northcott’s great multi-award winning stud. Wyatt Earp will be inducted into the CPRA Hall of Fame this October.


You Won’t BELIEVE Who Won the Buckle!

Lee Bellows (left) and Kelly Brice outside the bus
that brought the cowboys from Saskatchewan to
Stan Weatherly’s memorial. Kelly is wearing the
Bill Gomersall buckle featuring Bill’s horse brand,
a written W, the notorious bronc Blue Bill and his
hip number, 43.
Photo by Terri Mason

Congratulations to the multi-talented Kelly Brice, rodeo announcer, saddle maker, brand inspector and farrier from Regina on winning the Moose Jaw Rodeo draw for the Bill Gomersall commemorative buckle featuring the famed bronc, Blue Bill. The gelding was raised by well-known horseman, rancher and poet, the late Bill Gomersall. Blue Bill’s career spanned 20-plus years of terrorizing cowboys under the gleeful guidance of stock contractor, Jerry Myers. Blue Bill was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2008.
Lee Sinclair of Ivomec Merial Canada (and a retired bronc rider) funded the custom buckle, hand crafted by silversmith Jim Hyde.

 Investing in the Future of Rodeo

corral0810_08_250 I corralled some of the future of rough stock rodeo behind the chutes at Daines Ranch 50th Anniversary Rodeo. From left: Tommy Whitebear (NBB) of Hobbema, Alta., Shelton Udal (NSB) of Maple Creek, Sask., Branden Dillman (NSB) of Rocky Mountain House, Alta., Casey Bertram (NSB) of Piapot, Sask., Ryley Gilbertson (NBB) of Hughenden, Alta., and Will Gamache (NBB) of Edmonton.
Photo by Terri Mason

Calgary Stampede is hoping to make the rodeo road a little smoother for the young men entering the novice saddle bronc, novice bareback and steer riding events at pro rodeos.
The committee created the Calgary Stampede Novice Tour and will cover the entry fees for all contestants and add extra prize money in the Novice Saddle Bronc, Novice Bareback and Steer Riding events at six Alberta rodeos: Handhills Lake Stampede, Lea Park Rodeo, Daines Ranch Pro Rodeo, Ponoka Stampede, Calgary Stampede and Strathmore Heritage Days Stampede.
Contestants will earn points at each event with the champion receiving a bronze and buckle at the conclusion of the Strathmore event. Novice Bareback and Saddle Bronc competitors are aged 20 years and younger. Boy steer riders are between ages 11 to 14.
The Calgary Stampede will also sponsor the Canadian Finals Rodeo’s Novice Saddle Bronc, Novice Bareback and Steer Riding events each November.
“We want to encourage more participation by these young athletes trying to break into rodeo,” says Paul Rosenberg, vice-president, Stampede programming.
“Some of these kids face a choice between a more typical career path or competing in rodeo — we want to give these young cowboys the chance to pursue their rodeo dream.”

New Exhibition: Spirit of the Land and People

Chief Walking Buffalo (George McLean), by
Peter Whyte, c1930, oil on canvas, Whyte
Museum of the Canadian Rockies
Painting by Peter Whyte

Banff’s Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies presents Spirit of the Land and People, an exhibition that helps to celebrate Parks Canada’s 125th Anniversary. The exhibition runs from July 1 – Oct. 10. Developed in consultation with First Nations elders, this exhibition honours Peter and Catharine Whyte’s relationship with First Nations people here in the Canadian Rockies. The exhibition will highlight the life of their close friend Chief Walking Buffalo who, through his work as a peace activist, created important bridges between cultures.
A replica archaeological wall pulled from the Vermilion Lake excavation is also featured. Parks Canada undertook a three-year program of archaeological research and mitigation in the 1980s, in response to the twinning development of the Trans-Canada Highway. Says Lang: “The other side of the exhibition story is that First Nations people have inhabited this area for over 10,000 years! This is also something we should not forget. Parks Canada’s 1983 discoveries revealed this story and this exhibition is a wonderful way to celebrate both First Nations people and Canada’s national parks.”

PBR Canada — First Time on Grass!

From left, Cody Snyder and Chief Sandford.
Photo by Allen Gimblett, Dynamic Photography Services

On June 21 in celebration of Canadian National Aboriginal Day, the Professional Bull Riders, Inc. (PBR) teamed up with the Tsuu T’ina Nation for the Tsuu T’ina Nation PBR Invitational at the Grey Eagle Casino in Calgary.
PBR Canadian World Cup team captain and 1983 World Champion bull rider Cody Snyder brought the PBR event to town. This is the first time a PBR competition has been held on a natural grass arena in North America.
The event was won by Mark Lopes, a 28-year-old California cowboy, who earned some $13,000 after scoring 88 points on Girletz Brothers’ Evander and an 87 in the championship round on Kelly Armstrong’s bull, Good Vibrations.
Black Diamond’s Tyler Thomson, the 2008 Canadian bull riding champion and Jesse Torkelson, the current Canadian rodeo standings ride scores of 172 points.
The Tsuu T’ina Nation will bring back the successful event in 2011. The Tsuu T’ina PBR Invitational offers the biggest one-day payout in Canadian history.

You Know How Everything in the West is Connected?

Rodeo fans in Airdrie were treated to a weekend of great entertainment!
It was extra-fun for me after rodeo president Rob Brietzke escorted me to the VIP booth where I was introduced to a few of the sponsors, including Arlene Beddoes from Don Beddoes Construction.
From this vantage point I proudly watched the Airdrie Rodeo Ranch Girls perform their opening ride.
The cowgirl carrying the Don Beddoes Construction flag was of particular interest to me and, as it turned out, to Arlene, Don’s widow. She was quite pleased to hear that the beautiful young woman carrying the DBC flag has a long family history with the company; her grandfather, Jim Schneider, worked for Don for years. The young woman carrying the flag is my great-niece, Chantelle Van Eecke.

corral0810_11_250 My great-niece, Chantelle Van Eecke, performing at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo with the Rodeo Ranch Girls
Photo by Terri Mason


The Art of the Calgary Stampede

The Nickle Arts Museum at the University of Calgary is hosting a premiere exhibition — The Art of the Calgary Stampede.
Curated by Brian Rusted, the exhibition features original works from private collections, the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, Calgary Stampede and Calgary Stampede Archives, Galt Museum, Glenbow Museum, Government of Alberta, Government House Foundation and the Nickle Arts Museum.
This once-in-a-lifetime exhibit of so many great works of western art encompasses the work of great artists — many of whom are well familiar to the readers of Canadian Cowboy Country.
The exhibit, which runs from June 4 through Aug. 6, features the work of more than 60 artists ranging from the early masters such as Charlie Russell, Edward Borein and John Innes to contemporary artists Paul Van Ginkel, Adeline Halverson, Rocky Barstad and Allen Sapp. Bronzes are well-represented in the hands of the masters, Charles Beil, Jay Contway, Vilem Zach and many more.
This exhibition is a must-see for all western art enthusiasts. For more information, contact the Nickle Arts Museum,


Where in the World is Canadian Cowboy Country?

Valerie Harriott overlooks Liberty Island in New York City harbour
Photo by some kind stranger

The Statue of Liberty — New York, NY

The iconic symbol of the United States, the Statue of Liberty, was a gift from the people of France “in recognition of the friendship established during the American Revolution.”
Sculptor Frederic Auguste Bartholdi was commissioned to design the colossal copper sculpture to commemorate the 1876 centennial of the American Declaration of Independence.
The Statue was a joint effort between America and France; the Americans built the pedestal, the French the statue.
The statue was completed in France in July, 1884 and arrived in New York Harbour in June of 1885, packed in 214 crates on board the French frigate Isere. The statue was re-assembled on her new pedestal and, on Oct. 28, 1886, the dedication of the Statue of Liberty took place.
In May of 1982, President Ronald Reagan appointed Lee Iacocca to head up a private sector effort to restore the Statue of Liberty. Fundraising began for the $87 million restoration. In 1984, at the start of the statue’s restoration, the United Nations designated the Statue of Liberty as a World Heritage Site. On July 5, 1986 the newly restored statue reopened to the public during Liberty Weekend, which celebrated her centennial.
Untold numbers of people have gazed on what many call “the most beautiful woman in America” — including Valerie Harriott from North Battleford, Sask.

Canadian Wins U.S. Rodeo Coach of the Year

Western Oklahoma State College (WOSC) Rodeo Coach Guy Smith
Photo courtesy of Guy Smith

Western Oklahoma State College (WOSC) Rodeo Coach Guy Smith has been named Coach of the Year for the Central Plains Region in the U.S. This honour was voted upon by the rodeo athletes of the nineteen colleges and universities that make up the Central Plains Region.
Smith, who originally hails from Wimborne, Alta., often recruits Canadians college students for his rodeo team and is well known for his willingness to help any rodeo athlete succeed or improve his or her skills.
The WOSC team, including Carla Olstad from Madden, Alta., competed in the 2010 College National Finals Rodeo, finishing 12th overall.