October/November 2011


Ben helps Montgomery Win Sixth World Stock Dog Title

Photo by Heather Beierbach

Dale Montgomery virtually owns the Calgary Stampede’s World Stock Dog Championship trophy, and this past July he brought home the trophy an unprecedented sixth time?—?and he’s done it with three different dogs.

At the Calgary Stampede’s 15th annual World Stock Dog Championship, presented by Smithbilt Hats, Montgomery, of Maple Creek, Sask., and his six-year-old border collie Ben, slammed the gate at 2:10 at North America’s richest indoor stock dog trial and pocketed a cheque for $10,000.

Montgomery had previously won the Stampede’s World Stock Dog Championship in 1999, 2000 and 2003 with Gyp, and then in 2006 and 2008 with Tex.

This year’s Stampede stock dog trial began with 66 teams, a number that was whittled to the final 15 after the first two preliminary rounds. Only six dog-and-handler outfits out of 15 managed to stop the clock before it expired.

Dave Claypool of Cranbrook, B.C., and his dog Glen, the event’s defending champ, stopped the clock in 2:33, for the reserve championship and a cheque for $4,000.

Montgomery was one of three handlers, alongside Diana Gauthier of Lumby, B.C., and Louanne Twa of High River, Alta., to have qualified twice for the final.



Albertan New Queen of the World’s Largest Rodeo

Dakota Passey riding her victory lap after winning the title
Photo courtesy NHSRA/David Jennings Photography

After thirteen performances of rodeo action July 17–?23, new champions were crowned at the 63rd Annual National High School Finals Rodeo (NHSFR) in Gillette, Wy. A total of 1,461 students from the United States, Canada and Australia competed in this year’s NHSFR.

Performances were featured throughout the week of July 17, with the top twenty athletes in each event qualifying for the championship round on July 23. While no Canadians were crowned champions, one Albertan came home with a prize earned by a Canadian only once before?—?the title of NHSRA Queen.

Congratulations to 17-year-old Dakota Passey who emerged the winner from a national bevy of 42 competing queens to be crowned the 2011–?2012 NHSRA Queen. Dakota is the daughter of Derrick and Becky Passey of Raymond, Alta. Earlier in June, Dakota had been crowned Miss High School Rodeo Alberta.

Passey is the first Albertan to win the title since Trish Kostelansky won the title in 1985. Trish went on to be crowned 1991 Miss Rodeo Canada.

The National High School Rodeo Association is one of the fastest growing youth organizations in the nation, with an annual membership of over 12,500 students from 41 states, five Canadian provinces and Australia. For more, visit www. nhsra.org.



Chuckwagon Awards Night

Martin Sobie (left) of Dodge and 11-time World Champion Chuckwagon Driver Kelly Sutherland
Photo by Paul Easton

If you love chuckwagon racing and the men, women and horses of the sport, then the 31st Annual WPCA Banquet & Presentation is the premier place to be to meet the folks you’ve been cheering for all year.

The Year End Awards Banquet allows the World Professional Chuckwagon Association (WPCA) to honour excellence in the sport as well as advocate for community involvement, equine safety and knowledge, western heritage and sportsmanship for over 30 years.

Every year the WPCA presents several prestigious awards, including Race Committee of the Year, Chuckwagon Person of the Year and Ty Tournier Memorial, which are presented based on the nominations received from the public, including members and non-members of the WPCA. The awards shows includes some of the most exciting footage of the years’ racing.

The Awards will be held October 22 at the Deerfoot Inn & Casino in Calgary. For tickets, call the WPCA office at 403-236-2466



Maple Creek Ranch Rodeo

Mounted from left: Dean Mackie, Trevor Murphy, Cody Thomson, Shelton Udal and Arron Gordon. Standing from left: team sponsor Mary Shepherd and committee rep Doug Wilson.
Photo by Marcia Love

On July 3rd Mary Shepherd’s crew dominated the Maple Creek Ranch Rodeo like no other team in the event’s 24-year history winning five of the six events?—?including an 85-point bronc ride by Shelton Udal.

The teams are auctioned off two weeks prior to the rodeo with the proceeds going to the Jasper Centre Museum. World War II veteran and multi-time sponsor Mary Shepherd experienced her first win with her grandson Dean Mackie and his buddies. The retired rancher was so excited that immediately after she was presented the Hereford Cup and her trophy buckle she hurried home to The Manor to show her loot to her friends and fellow residents. The winning cowboys never did hoist the Cup, but they each received championship buckles.



Ranch Rodeo Wrap Up

Kyle Elliott of Elliott Ranch in Sask., took home the Top Cowhand award at Medicine Tree
Photo by Kim Taylor

Medicine Tree Ranch Rodeo

Each year, the Medicine Tree in Nanton, Alta., attracts many of the top ranches from across the Canadian West, and this year was no different.

In rodeo results, first place was earned by the Rocking P Ranch (Justin Blades, Mac Blades, Stran Schlosser, Blake Schlosser); second went to the 45 Ranch (Tee Hunter, Trent Kraft, Carrie Kraft, Matt Robertson); third was Mesabi Ranches (Mike Sears, Tyrell Sears, Rem Holowath, Colt Holowath); and fourth went to Porcupine Quill Ranch, (Brian Delinte, Jim Orr, Cord Delinte, Bill Akins, and Mike Sandford).

Congratulations to Kyle Elliott of the Elliott Ranch, Sask., who earned the Top Cowhand Award and Tee Hunter of the 45 Ranch, Alta., who earned the Top Working Ranch Horse Competitor and Top Cowhorse award.


Bar U Ranch Rodeo

Twelve teams competed in the annual Bar U Ranch Rodeo held Aug 14. Congratulations to the cowhands from the Meadow Spring Ranch (Matt Nelson, Kent Nelson, Tyrell Smith, Tav Nielson, Colt Duce) from Mountain View near Waterton who took the buckles this year. Second place went to Soderglen Ranch from Airdrie and third place was the Rocking P Ranch from Nanton. Blake Schlosser from the Rocking P earned the Top Hand award.

Meadow Spring Ranch will be representing the Bar U at the Heritage Ranch Rodeo in Edmonton this fall.


Historic Hat Creek Ranch Rodeo

Eleven teams of working cowboys competed in the 4th annual Historic Hat Creek Ranch’s Ranch Rodeo July 9?–10. The ranch is located near Cache Creek, B.C.

Congratulations to the winners; in first place was PZ Ranch, Cache Creek: Keith Zabotel, Archie Williams and Leroy Antoine; in second was the Nicola Ranch, Merritt: Mark Elliott, Josh Klassen and Mike McCormick; third place was a split between top hands Weekend Warriors (Bonaparte): Travis Antoine, Jonah Antoine and Cash Isnardy and the Douglas Lake-Portland cowhands; Jesey Hickling, Steve Brewer and Greg Graham.

The Working Ranch Horse competition was won by Tim Thomas of the Chilco Ranch. Top Hand went to Paul LeBlanc, Gang Ranch who was awarded a custom buckle crafted by silversmith Richard Tenisch.


4th Annual Nicola Valley Ranch Hand Rodeo

Merritt saw two days of exciting ranch rodeo over the third weekend of August, with the Douglas Lake-Portland team of Steve Brewer, Kolby Coates and Stan Jacobs coming out on top of the standings with 41 total points. Stump Lake was a close second at 38, with the Lauder Ranch third with 32.5 points.

Douglas Lake’s Brewer was also voted Top Hand.


Pincher Creek Ranch Rodeo

Held in mid-July, Pincher Creek holds the title as the longest running ranch rodeo in Western Canada; beating out Maple Creek, Sask., by two weeks. The 24th annual show runs over two days and they also hold a major ranch roping event, a stock dog trial and a ranch horse sale (horses must have competed in at least two events in the ranch rodeo) and it’s a fun weekend.

Congratulations to Dan Chalifoux, winner of the Ranch Horse competition and All-Around Hi Point winner, Greg Delinte. Dale Montgomery won first and third in the Stock Dog Trial and in the Ranch Rodeo, Thomson Ranches earned first, North Fork Grazing Ass’n won second and SOC Ranch came in third.



Legends Retire

From left; Guy Murphy, Alan Moorhead, Jim Demchenko, former rodeo chairman Tom Reardon, Cowtown Pro Rodeo Chairman Slim Needham and 2011 Cowtown Pro Rodeo Queen Jamie-Lee Reinboldt
Photo by Gary Houston

At the Cowtown Pro Rodeo in Maple Creek, Sask., three cowboys, with a combined total of 108 years of volunteerism officially retired.

Bronc rider Jim Demchenko served as the chute boss for 38 years. Demchenko also ramrodded the chutes at the Calgary Stampede for over 20 years.

Bullrider Allan Moorhead swung the out gate for 35 years. Moorhead also spent many years as the president of the Murraydale Stampede, as a competitor, pickup man and is a Ranch Rodeo Champion.

Bronc rider Guy Murphy (Living Legends, Aug/Sept 2011) opened the chute gates for 35 years, having never missed a performance. Guy is a pasture manager and famed rawhide braider.

Each of the men performed their job one last time and then passed on the position to the next generation. The men were gifted with Wrangler jackets and a lifetime pass to the Cowtown Pro Rodeo.



Many Empty Saddles?—?Airwolf

The great Airwolf at his final performance at the National Finals Rodeo, Las Vegas
Photo by Mike Copeman

Airwolf, the ground-pounding gelding that took the rough stock rodeo world by storm died peacefully in his home pasture on Franklin’s Rodeo Ranch near Bonnyville in July. He was 27.

His first year of competition earned him trips to both the Canadian Finals and the National Finals Rodeo; he was named Bareback Horse of the Year in 1992, and in 1993 was named Canadian and World Bareback Horse of the Year.

In 1995 he went saddle bronc, and was the Champion Saddle Bronc that year at the Calgary Stampede. In 1996 Glen O’Neill tied Doug Vold’s record setting 95-point score from 1979 at the Innisfail Pro Rodeo.

In 1999 Airwolf earned Saddle Bronc of the NFR, top horse of the Calgary Stampede and Canadian Saddle Bronc of the Year. In 2003 Airwolf ended his career on a high, being named NFR Saddle Bronc of the Year again?—?and by bucking off Scott Johnston. Stock contractor Shane Franklin brought him home for a well-earned retirement. The Amazing Grey was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2006.

Yet Airwolf lives on; he is the first rodeo rough stock to be cloned and his exact duplicate was foaled in 2008.



Equine Highlights at the Calgary Stampede

The heavyweight team from Airdrie’s Soderglen Ranches, the Antony Family-supported Belgian duo of Ben and Roy, set a new Calgary Stampede Heavy Horse Pull weight record in the heavyweight division, pulling a 13,300-pound sled the full 14 feet on Sunday night under the Big Top with Oregon’s Randy Dodge on the lines

Talk About a Winning Streak…

The Stampede’s Heavy Horse Pull drew 23 teams from as far away as Oregon, Washington, and Saskatchewan. The King of the Pull was Randy Dodge of Albany, Ore., who won his first Calgary crown since 2007 on Friday, July 15, as his Belgian team of Red and Rocky claimed the lightweight division.

Dodge followed it up one night later, winning the middleweight division?—?thanks to the pulling efforts of Herb and Mike. And on Sunday, July 17, Dodge tasted victory once more?—?this time, holding the reins of the Airdrie, Alta.-based Soderglen Ranches team of Ben and Roy in the heavyweight division.

This is the first time one teamster has won all three divisions.


Girls Rule!

Brian Coleman, originally of Didsbury, Alta., but now based in Wyoming, won his second consecutive World Champion Six Horse Hitch Competition by driving the Jackson Fork Ranch outfit of Bondurant, Wyo., to victory at the Scotiabank Saddledome over 13 other rigs from across North America.

The six mares of the Jackson Fork Ranch hitch with Albertan Brian Coleman on the lines

“If you have a mare that works well for you, you’ve got a horse that can reach an extra competitive level that geldings can’t,” says Coleman. “Geldings are a little more military-like; they’ll go out and do their thing with a little less emotion. But mares seem to have a little more expression, a little more attitude that geldings simply don’t.”

The Jackson Fork Ranch unit, which uses Percherons, is the only hitch to have taken home a $10,000 Stampede cheque using a hitch of mares, and has now done so two years running.


An unidentified rider competing in the 10-Class Penning competition

Calgary Stampede Cattle Penning

A total of 182 teams battled for a prize pot of more than $74,000 in the Calgary Stampede’s 10 Class Team Cattle Penning Competition. Will Hanson of Fort Saskatchewan, Alta., Preston Fleming of Sherwood Park, Alta., and Brian Cardinal of Millet, Alta., teamed up to win the 10 Class crown, earning $22,263.

The Stampede’s team penning features many classes and is one of the richest and most prestigious such events in North America, drawing 492 teams from across the continent competing for a slice of $225,000.


The Beauty of the Cowboy Up Challenge

A timed and judged event, Extreme Cowboy Racing demands both horsemanship and speed, challenging both horse and rider with an obstacle course that may include moguls, bridges, log crossings, tunnels, ‘cowboy’ curtains, roll backs, and water crossings.

Tammy Botsford of Chestermere, Alta., on her Paint gelding, Jake, competing in the Cowboy Up Challenge

Judges award points for each obstacle based on criteria such as horsemanship, cadence, control, and overall execution. Horse-and-rider teams are required to complete each obstacle within a predetermined time period to collect points.

Tammy Botsford and Jake teamed up to win the Cowboy Up Challenge’s first go-round with 96.25 points?—?qualifying for the 12-team championship final, and eventually finishing 10th overall. The winner was William (Runt) Rageth of Harris, Mo., on his grade gelding, Burdock, who beat out a 12-team international field in the championship final to take home the winner’s cheque for $7,000.

Six Americans entered, competing against the Canadians including last year’s champion, Glenn Stewart of Baldonnel, B.C., plus James Anderson of Strathmore, Alta., Teala Caton of Eckville, Alta., Kateri Cowley of Exshaw, Alta., Tammy Botsford of Chestermere, Alta., Russel McKenzie of Eckville, Alta., and Adrian Neufeld of Olds, Alta.

Congratulations to all the competitors on such a fine display of smooth riding skills. Cowboy Up Challenge is rapidly becoming one of the fastest growing sports in Western Canada because of its combination of pure horsemanship?—?and a shot of speed.

Photos courtesy Calgary Stampede



Hooking Up at the Rodeo!

The four-horse hitch of Clydesdales from Fort Steele, B.C., on parade at Cranbrook’s Pro Rodeo. These horses are all descendants of the original black Clyde’s from Oakalla Prison.
Photo courtesy Fort Steele

Congratulations to two of Cranbrook’s major good times; the Cranbrook Pro Rodeo on their 25th anniversary and Fort Steele Heritage Town, a historic village that celebrated their 50th. The Fort is home to their black Clydesdales, recently showcased at Draft Horse Town at the Calgary Stampede.

In celebration, the two big tourism draws got together and for the first time in the rodeo’s history and to the delight of the crowds, Fort Steele paraded a four-horse hitch of their Clyde’s in the rodeo arena. On the first day, they drew the massive wagon loaded with fans who had attended all 25 years; the second day they paraded the rodeo sponsors and on the third, their volunteers and their grandchildren.

Dave Cumming, acting CEO of Fort Steele, was invited to experience rodeo from behind the chutes where he helped in the stripping chute removing the bronc saddles, riggings, etc., and Dallas Mackie, 2005 CPRA Committee Person of the Year (who holds the record for the funniest acceptance speech) got an opportunity to ride on the big wagon?—?her first trip behind drafts. The Fort’s future plans include putting together and parading either a six or eight-horse hitch.

The Fort’s original, magnificent black Clyde’s came from Oakalla Prison near Vancouver in 1970.