|Photo by Tara McKenzie Fotos/Tara McKenzie
Newlyweds Jody and Scott Laitre
Saddle maker and ranch roper Jody Christie and musician and former bull rider Scott Laitre married in a small ceremony Jan. 22 attended by family and friends. The wedding, performed by pastor Bryn Thiessen, took place in the Chalet at Westerner Park in Red Deer. The band at the wedding dance included the bride’s brother, Allen Christie and the Myrols
|Photo by www.whitesneakerweddings.com
Newlyweds Jesse and Lauren Byrne
Congratulations to Canadian Finals Rodeo barrel racer Lauren Chad and professional bullfighter (Canadian Finals Rodeo and PBR Finals) Jesse Byrne who married on Dec 31, 2010.The reception was held at the Wainwright Hotel in Heritage Park,Calgary, Alta.
|One of the winning rides of 2007: Canadian
Bull Riding Champion Nathan Roy at the
2007 Canadian Finals Rodeo
Photo by Mike Copeman
Social Media Gives Boost to Bull Rider Fundraiser
Nathan Roy was critically injured early in the New Year on his way to work when his vehicle struck a moose. The 2007 Canadian Bull Riding Champion was rushed to the intensive care unit of Edmonton’s Royal Alexandria Hospital where he remained in a coma for a week as a result of massive head injuries.
Enter the rodeo community, friends, family, well-wishers and social networking site Facebook. Organizers put together an online auction. The
resulting bids were astronomical — funds raised topped $93,000 — not counting cash donations that poured in to help him and his family, wife
Dee and son Walker, on the road to recovery.
Literally hundreds of items were donated for bid, ranging from stud fees to financial planning. One donation that touched hearts was the donation of “Butch” — a 17-year-old paint gelding put up by the Calgary Stampede Ranch. This dependable horse had been a trusted steed for the Calgary Stampede Ranch girls and a rodeo judge’s flag horse. He had also been young Miranda Goodman’s 4-H horse. (Miranda is the daughter of Raymond Goodman, manager of the Stampede Ranch.) As
the bids mounted into the thousands, two minutes before the auction closed an anonymous bidder jumped the bid for Butch to $10,000. This was a big enough shock, but Raymond — and all the participants of the auction — were choked up when the anonymous bidder then gave the treasured horse back to Raymond’s young daughter. Doctors have expressed “amazement” at Roy’s rapid recovery. By mid-February, he was transferred from the Royal Alex to the Glenrose Rehabilitation
Centre, also in Edmonton. At press time, Roy was walking with the assistance of a cane and beating visitors at cards. His family continues to post regular updates on the Facebook site:
Nathan Roy Benefit Auction.
|Canada’s Country Gentleman’ Tommy
Hunter to take his last bow
Photo courtesy Rocklands Entertainment
Final Cross-Country Tour Set for “Travellin’ Man” Tommy Hunter
After 36 consecutive years on national TV and more than 65 years in entertainment, Tommy Hunter, known to millions as “Canada’s Country Gentleman”, has decided to perform across Canada one last time before hanging up his guitar. Since the conclusion of his television program, The Tommy Hunter Show, the legend has concentrated on both live performances and recording, both of which he had little time for when doing a regular TV show. Tommy’s annual winter tour has given him the opportunityto meet in person the dedicated fans that faithfully watched him every week. Tommy Hunter’s final cross-Canada tour will take place in two segments, with appearances from Ontario to B.C. in March and April this year, and then in Eastern Canada as well as other areas of Ontario in early 2012. His Western Canadian tour starts Mar. 28 in Brandon, Man., finishing Apr. 17 in Edmonton.
“Mantracker”Leaves Tough Boots to Fill
Terry Grant, the straight-talking horseman, has quit the popular show Mantracker. (See CCCM Feb/Mar 2009). Admired equally for his superb riding skills and his superior tracking ability, the star will still be seen in 12 new episodes in Season 6 that starts this May. The abrupt departure of Grant left fans angry with the television production company, creating a landslide of negative remarks and threats of boycotting the show onsocial media sites. “I doubt if they’ll be able to find someone who can track, ride and look as good doing it,” said one disgruntled fan. “Terry IS Mantracker.” Reports indicate the show has so far auditioned 132 hopeful applicants.
|2011 Miss Rodeo Canada Kezia Morrison,
left, and 2011 Miss Rodeo Canada Princess
Kirsten Braumandl at the WNFR
Photo by Jocelyne Lambert
Miss Rodeo Canada
With more than 90 appearances under their belts so far, it’s safe to
say that Kezia and Kirsten have settled into their role as ambassadors
for their communities: rodeo and Canada.
Starting their reign with a trip to Las Vegas to cheer for Canadians
competing in the National Finals Rodeo, the ladies have been attending
functions almost non-stop since then.
Two of the high-profile upcoming events they will attend include one
of Princess Kirsten’s hometown rodeos, the Williams Lake Indoor Rodeo
(Apr.15 – 17), and the Grande Prairie Stompede (May 23 – 29).
|Photo by Billie Jo Byrne
Stocking the Herd
Ella Marlys Byrne
Congratulations to Chad Byrne and his wife, Billie Jo, on the birth of their daughter, Ella Marlys Byrne. Miss Ella was born Nov. 3, 2010 and barely tipped the scales at 5 lbs. 2 oz. Chad is a member of the multi-award-winning stock contractors’ consortium, Outlaw Buckers Rodeo Corp., owners of the 2010 CPRA Bareback Horse of the Year, OLS TUBS Ross River, among other award winning stock.
|Photo by Mark McMillan
Where in the World is Canadian Cowboy?
Founded in 1531, Mazatlan is a Nahuatl word meaning “place of the deer.” Until the early 19th Century, Mazatlan was a humble collection of huts inhabited by Indios whose major occupation was fishing. In 1829, a Filipino banker established commercial relations with vessels coming to Mazatlan from far off places such as Chile, Peru, the United States, Europe, and the Asia Pacific. Today, Mazatlan is Mexico’s largest commercial port. The outstanding beaches of Mazatlan and outlying areas such as Stone Island are a popular destination for tourists, including, from left, Bill Lamport of Balzac, Alta., cruise directors Jim and Karen Bell from Winnipeg, Man., Edna and Jim Burnett from Nanton, Alta., and Hugh McLennan from Pinantan Lake, B.C., wearing his red swim trunks over his jeans.
|Doug Rogers, aboard Wild West Willie,
patiently waits to join the Rose
Bowl Parade in Pasadena, Calif.
Photo courtesy Kim Rogers
Wild West Willy in Rose Bowl Parade
When Doug Rogers of Rimbey, Alta., received the invitation to parade Wild West Willie in the world-famous Rose Bowl Parade — he could hardly resist.
Wild West Willie, a nine-year-old Brahma-cross (Holstein/Angus cow x Brahma bull) took the whole show in stride.
The journey began Dec. 26. It took Doug and his wife Kim two-and-a-half days (with plenty of rest and stretch stops in-between) to haul the bovine to
Pasadena, Calif. First, Doug and his behemoth Brahma-cross participated in Equifest at the Los Angeles Equestrian Centre, an event designed to showcase the equestrian entries in the parade.
New Year’s Day — parade day — dawned with the delivery of a Maple Leaf flower blanket at 4 a.m. The ‘blanket’ was made by Stella Barry, a lady who
has worked at the Santa Anita racetrack for 51 years (and who once made a flower wreath which was presented to U.S. Triple Crown winner Secretariat). He saddled up Willie with his custom Mexican saddle — in itself a marvel of ingenuity. The cinches are actually two 36-inch neoprene cinches stitched together, with a long billet on the off-side and a nine-foot latigo.
Doug swung into the saddle and joined the parade, riding past more than a million people on the parade route. The event was covered by most major American television stations and broadcast to more than 200 countries around the globe.
Riding past some Canadians along the route he heard them shout: “One! Two! Three! Nice Bull, Eh!”
“We had excellent reception by the Americans,” enthused Rogers. “And didn’t take the crowd long to recognize the Canadian Maple Leaf.”
Ron Morton, 1938 – 2010
Ron Morton of Dawson Creek, B.C., competed at the Calgary Stampede three times — in 1974, 1975 and 1996.
He drove on the Mighty Peace chuckwagon circuit and on the WPCA Dodge Pro Tour. Ron was the Mighty Peace Champion four times and won five shows on the pro circuit as well.
Ron was the great-nephew of chuckwagon racing pioneer “Wild Horse” Jack Morton.
Ed Alstott, 1935 – 2010
Ed Alstott passed away Dec. 28 after a battle with cancer.
Ed found success as a cowboy, outfitter, rancher and chuckwagon driver. He held several top awards for his success in outfitting.
Ed began as an outrider in the 1960s and, by 1970, was driving in the Calgary Stampede. In 1976, he won the consolation race at the Stampede and captured the Teepee Creek Stampede Championship. He won the WPCA Top Permit Award in 1987 and 1988, and qualified for the sudden-death championship final heat at the 1988 Grande Prairie Stompede.
Danny Copithorne, 1933 – 2011
Former Calgary Stampede President Danny Copithorne passed away Jan. 25 after a lengthy illness.
A successful executive, he was also heavily involved with the Calgary Stampede for more than 30 years, and served two years as President in 1993 and 1994. He served on the boards of the Southern Alberta Pioneers Association, Calgary Stampede Advisory Committee and the Calgary Stampede Foundation. Most recently he was the Chairman of the Annual Rangemen’s Dinner.
Lois (Dewar) Hansen-Holtom, 1932 – 2011
Lois (Dewar) Hansen-Holtom passed away Jan. 29.
Lois and her trick riding partner and sister, Claire (Dewar) Roberts, achieved fame as the Daring Dewar Sisters, a trickriding act that toured the West in the glory days of rodeo. The famous sisters were also spokesmodels for GWG Jeans. Lois and Claire were featured in Canadian Cowboy Country as Living Legends in the Oct/Nov 2008 issue.
The Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inducted the sisters in 2009.
Ross Albin Fredell, 1944 – 2011
Ross Fredell — rancher, cowboy and range agrologist for B.C. Forest Service — died peacefully from leukemia at home in Macalister, B.C. early on Feb. 9.
Ross worked in Range Management in Williams Lake for most of his career; prior to that he worked for the Province of Alberta and Parks Canada. He displayed a strong sense of social justice and he was hardly shy in sharing his opinions — or his friendship.
Photos courtesy Billy Melville; courtesy Alstott Family; courtesy Calgary Stampede; by T erri Mason; by Chris Armes
|Jason Pollock enjoys a quick coffee and visit
to the cook’s tent over lunch on the 2010
West Block roundup
Photo by Darcy Dietrich
From the Spotlight to the Sunlight
Two-time Canadian Cowboys Association Steer wrestling champion Jason Pollock stepped down March 31 as Canadian Western Agribition CEO and general manager.
Pollock, who joined the CWA in 2007, and his family will be returning to his family’s ranch near Maple Creek (Ranching in the West, Dec’08/Jan’09) to continue operations there and to pursue his own consulting career.
“Working with an organization such as Agribition has been a great experience both professionally and personally,” Pollock said in the news release. “For 40 years, CWA has showcased the very best that the Canadian agricultural industry has to offer and I am honoured to have played a part in that tradition.”
Highlights of Pollock’s four-year term include an intensive revamping of the Agribition strategic planning model, with an emphasis on expanding the show by adding new facilities at EVRAZ Place. Jason will be the fifth generation to manage the 128-year-old Pollock ranch.
Photo courtesy Travel Alberta
Bison in Banff National Park — Again?
A historical foundation’s plan to reintroduce the Plains bison to Banff National Park was presented at a public meeting in February.
The Department of Sustainable Resource Development has long expressed concerns that reintroduced bison could stray outside park
boundaries, causing issues for the province’s elk population and threatening public safety.
Ranchers near Yellowstone National Park face ongoing concerns about bison infecting cattle with brucellosis, a disease that causes cows to
abort. This year alone, more than 500 errant bison were being held by state and federal officials.
However, bison that stray out of Banff National Park onto, say, the Ya Ha Tinda Ranch northwest of Sundre, could create a recreational opportunity
Maurice Nadeau, a former president of the Alberta Fish and Game Association, said if it’s well-managed, “any hunting opportunity would be welcomed, particularly an animal with the size and stature of a bison.”
And Another Bison Story…
In mid-March, 30 young Wood bison from Elk Island National Park were flown from Edmonton
to the Republic of Sakha, a mountainous swath of Siberian land where temperatures can plummet
to minus 60º C.
It’s the second stage of a conservation project between Canada and Russia. In 2006, 30 Wood
bison calves were sent to Sakha to reproduce and replace Russia’s indigenous bison, extinct
The first herd thrived in Sakha’s protected lands, producing 21 calves in five years. The second
herd, 15 males and 15 females, is expected to raise the population while not exposing the animals
Quarantined and tested, the calves, roughly nine months old, each weigh anywhere from 350 to
500 pounds. They were loaded into three stock trailers, 10 animals each, modified with water
bowls for drinking.
“We’ll make sure they’’ll be able to lie down, stand up, turn around and everything they need
to,” said Darcia Nakonechny, a veterinarian with the Canadian Food Inspection Agency. “Bison
are shockingly good at being transported.”
The trailers were loaded onto an Ilyushin-76, a cavernous Russian transport jet that has its
own crane. Two Canadian veterinarians will be on board.
Elk Island has already distributed 1,000 Wood bison, and the same number of Plains bison,
around the world for conservation programs.