February/March 2012


Tyler Thomson Claims First Canadian PBR Title

Tyler Thomson, Championship round of the
PBR Canada Cup Finals
Photo by Andy Watson/bullstockmedia.com

Tyler Thomson claimed his first Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canadian National title on Nov. 19 in Saskatoon.
Thomson was one of only four cowboys who covered all three bulls in the two-day event. Thomson earned a $10,000 bonus for winning the PBR Canadian National Championship, which brings his season earnings to over $80,000.

“It’s been a long road to becoming the [PBR] Canadian champion,” Thomson says. “The title has eluded me for six years, and winning is not only a huge weight off my shoulders but an honour.”

The 30-year-old from Black Diamond, Alta., is also the 2008 Canadian Bull Riding Champion, a six-time qualifier in the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR), and a five-time PBR Canada Finals qualifier. He has competed at the Calgary Stampede four times and has been chosen four times for the Canadian team in the PBR World Cup held in Australia, Mexico, Brazil, and the U.S.

Thomson, who is fresh off a trip to Las Vegas for the PBR World Finals finished the year with 7,206 points.

Thomson won the Built Ford Tough Championship Round with 91.5 points on former Daisy Rookie of the Year Bull Unabomber (Eno/Kubinchak Bucking Bulls). His score was the highest-marked ride at that PBR Canadian Finals.

Two-time Canadian National Champion Aaron Roy earned his fourth consecutive Glen Keeley Award, presented to the Canadian bull rider who earns the most money during the season. He finished seventh in the standings.

The 2011 PBR Canadian Finals drew nearly 10,000 fans over two days at the Credit Union Centre.

2012 Miss Rodeo Canada Is Crowned at CFR

Photo by Linda Finstad

Arleta Bowhay, 2009 Miss Rodeo Sundre was crowned the 2012 Miss Rodeo Canada at the 38th Annual Canadian Finals Rodeo on Nov. 10.

The four finalists, including Miss Rodeo Okotoks 2010 Kenna Lockwood, Cochrane Lions Rodeo Queen 2011 Megan Luider and Miss Grande Prairie Stompede 2010 Samantha Callioux competed for this prestigious title.

Each year, the competition consists of a number of factors such as horsemanship, public speaking, rodeo knowledge, and a fashion show.

The First Lady of Canadian professional rodeo will enjoy a whirlwind year representing our nation at rodeos and events across North America.

Bowhay is the first woman from Sundre and the 43rd cowgirl to carry the title of Miss Rodeo Canada.



 All in the Family

Bull rider Tanner Byrne heading for the fence in Round One of the 2011 CFR as his superstar relatives distract the bull
Photo by Mike Copeman

In the 37 years the CFR has been running in Edmonton, there has never been a photo such as this.
Bullfighter Scott Byrne is distracting the bull from his cousin, Jesse Byrne (you can only see his leg and the top of his hat behind Scotty). These two bullfighters are doing their job, which is allowing bull rider Tanner Byrne, Jesse’s brother and Scott’s cousin, to get to the fence and safety.

The Byrne name is synonymous with bulls in every capacity?—?either on ’em, in front of ’em, raising ’em, or in the case of legendary bullfighter Ryan Byrne, in the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame.

All Hail the Canadian Champions!

2011 Canadian Pro Rodeo Champions, from left: Coleman Watt, Levi Simpson, Cody Cassidy, Taos Muncy,
Chad Besplug, Kyle Thomson, Curtis Cassidy, Tyson Durfey, Trula Churchill, Dusty LaValley, Tyrel Flewellin, Brian Symington, Ky Marshall

Photo by Mike Copeman

It was a snow-free Farmfair and Canadian Finals Rodeo! One of Edmonton’s biggest events attracted thousands of people to the capital city to see the leading money winners in the Canadian rodeo standings vie for Canadian Championship buckles.

Congratulations to the 2011 Champions!
Kyle Thomson of Lundbreck, Alta., spurred his way to the ultimate championship when he won his third Canadian Champion All Around Cowboy buckle.

For the seventh time in his storied career, Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Alta. was victorious in the High Point race.

In the classic event, 2007 World Champion Saddle Bronc Rider Taos Muncy of Corona, N.M. added a Canadian title to his resume. Defending Canadian Champion Bareback Rider Dusty Lavalley of Bezanson, Alta., led the riggin’ riding standings from start to finish to claim his fourth championship. Chad Besplug of Claresholm, Alta., gained his first Canadian Champion Bull Rider trophy. Colbert, Wash. phenom Tyson Durfey looped his third Canadian championship in the Tie-Down Roping. In the big man’s event, Cody Cassidy of Donalda, Alta., collected the Canadian Champion Steer Wrestler title for the third time. Trula Churchill from Valentine, Neb., beat the field in the Ladies Barrel Racing. Header Levi Simpson of Claresholm and heeler Tyrel Flewelling from Olds, Alta., roped the title in the tandem event. Coleman Watt of Hardisty, Alta., repeated as the Novice Saddle Bronc Champion, while Ky Marshall of Bowden, Alta., prevailed in Novice Bareback Riding. Boy’s Steer Riding season leader Brian Symington of Asquith, Sask., capped a great year with a victory in his event.

The winners of the CFR Top Stock Awards included Big Stone Rodeo for their bareback horse, Tar Baby. The runner up was Whiskey Bent from Weatherly’s Big Country Rodeo. Tar Baby’s owner, Bruce Sunstrom was awarded a new Dodge truck. As well, Big Stone’s bronc, Big Muddy, was also chosen as Saddle Bronc of the CFR (runner up was Northcott Rodeo Company’s Get Smart), but because a stock contractor can’t be awarded two trucks, Sunstrom had his choice between the awards and he chose the Bareback award. Thus, the runner-up saddle bronc, Get Smart, earned Ace Northcott a new Dodge truck. Bull of the CFR was awarded to VJV Slash of Vold Rodeo.

Montgomery Wins Eighth Title at Agribition

Dale Montgomery and Ben, waiting to enter the
arena at Agribition
Photo by Lewis images

Folks are starting to call Dale Montgomery the Wayne Gretzky of stock dog trials.

Montgomery, of Maple Creek, Sask., and his dog Ben won the title at the Canadian Western ?Agribition’s International Stock Dog Championship Trials on Nov. 22.

Competing at CWA’s International Stock Dog Championship Trials since its inception in the early 1990s, the achievement marks Montgomery’s eighth win at the competition. This is impressive enough, but what makes the Maple Creek native a phenomenon is the fact that he has won the trial with six different dogs over the years.

The stock dog handler took two of his dogs, six-year-olds Ben and Zip, to the annual trial in Regina to compete. Montgomery and Ben won with a total of 18 points and a time of 2:16 minutes.

Earlier this year, Montgomery and Ben placed first at the World Stock Dog Championship at the Calgary Stampede, his sixth win of that prestigious title—with three different dogs.

They Know His Name in Vegas Now!

Vern McDonald of Bar C5 Ranch near Lac La Biche, Alta., is in the bucking horse business and by the end of Benny Binion’s Bucking Horse Sale in Vegas, everyone knew his name.

At the annual bucking horse sale, held during the 2011 WNFR, McDonald purchased the top three horses?—?all mares?—?in the futurity and in doing so, set a new world record for rodeo stock prices when he paid a whopping $100,000 for Lesmeister/Mitchell’s five-year-old mare, Scoundrel, $35,000 for Shane Gunderson’s mare, Lights Out, and $55,000 for Darcy Hollingsworth’s mare, Black Feathers.

McDonald, (who was first mentioned in CCC Feb/Mar 2011) decided to get into rodeo stock contracting in a big way. Earlier he bought the Northern Cross Rodeo Company from Belinda Herriman of Omak, Wash., and the PRCA stock contractors badge that came with it. He changed the name to C5 Rodeo Company, located south of Lac La Biche in northern Alberta, and soon boasted over 80 top-quality mares and five stallions.

McDonald was raised on the Kikino Metis settlement, and some 20 years ago, he began his company, Swamp Cats, with a truck, trailer, and old dozer. Today it’s a multimillion-dollar company.

Tanzania, Africa

Photo courtesy Jackie Rodvang

Jackie Rodvang recently travelled to Tanzania, Africa, with a volunteer medical team for the Mary A. Tidlund Charitable Foundation founded in Canmore, Alta.
While in the country, she visited a safari camp run by the Robin Hurt Safari Company in the Burko Region west of Arusha, Tanzania. That is a water buffalo skull on the mantel.

Top Hands, Top Attendance

Competing in the annual Heritage Ranch Rodeo in
dmonton, the Gang Ranch crew, sporting the
distinctive JH (connected) brand on their vests,
close in during the Wild Cow Milking event

Photo by Grant Rolston Photography

Farmfair International welcomed back the top 16 ranches in Western Canada to compete in the 7th annual Heritage Ranch Rodeo. Once again, the ever-increasingly popular rodeo had record attendance, providing plenty of excitement for the crowd.

Congratulations to everyone involved, from the announcers to the pick up men, stock contractors, timers and judges, fans, sponsors, and especially to the participating ranches for putting on another terrific show.

The winners of the prestigious three-day competition was the Gang Ranch of B.C.: Wacey Marr, Matt Robertson, Curtis Smith, and Ryan McGlennen with 49 pts; second went to the cowboys riding for the High Plains Ranch of Sask.: Ross Beierbach, Ryan Beierbach, Ralph Corcoran, and Jim Orr with 47 pts; third was the Douglas Lake Cattle Co of B.C. crew: Stan Jacobs, Cameron Jacobs, ?Jesey Hickling, and Steve Brewer with 43 pts; fourth was Mesabi Ranches of Alta.: Mike Sears, Rem Holowath, Derek Sears, and Cody Sawley (Colter Schlosser, Alternate) also with 43 pts; fifth went to Roseburn Ranches and their crew: Jonathan Morrison, Kendal Miller, Clint Swales, and Greg Coffin with 37 pts; sixth place went to the Bar U National Historic Ranch: Kent Nelson, Tav Nielson, Tyler Duce, and Tyrell Smith with 25 pts; seventh went to the Nicola Ranch cowboys: John Parkes, Mike McCormick, Josh Klassen, and Mark Elliott with 23.5 pts; and in eighth place was Bluebird Valley Ranch: John Hunt, Riley Jenkins, Co Bie Herr, Ben Herr, and John Esser with 19.5 pts.

CrAsh Cooper Wows ’Em in Vegas!

His supreme athleticism and timing, plus never
repeating his jokes, made CrAsh Cooper a massive
hit at the WNFR
Photo by Mike Copeman

Six-time CPRA Entertainer of the Year, CrAsh Cooper, of Senlac, Sask., was voted in by Professional Rodeo Cowboy Association (PRCA) rodeo announcers and bullfighters to be the barrelman at the 2011 Wrangler National Finals Rodeo.
Lindsay Sears of Nanton, Alta., was the only Canadian that qualified to compete at the 53rd annual WNFR. When it was announced that Cooper was named to the position, he responded by saying, “I’m sure fans in Canada will be proud. Both their representatives will be wearing makeup.”

Cooper joins an elite list of Canadian icebreakers on the WNFR payroll. The first was Canadian Rodeo Hall of Famer Wayne Vold, who was voted in as a pick up man in 1977; then Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame bullfighter Ryan Byrne was voted in to ply his trade in 1986; and yet another Canuck, Kate Rumford, nee Kathy Cornelson, 1983 Miss Rodeo Canada was voted in as one of the timers at the 2000 WNFR.

The WNFR also resumed broadcast in Canada this year, allowing all of us here in Canadian Cowboy Country to share in the excitement.

Northlands Stock Dog Competition

Northlands Stock Dog Trials winner Thad Buckler
and Nic
Photo by Grant Rolston Photography

Held during Farmfair International in November, the Northlands Stock Dog Competition, a timed event where stock dogs manoeuvre sheep through obstacles with only their handler’s voice or whistle to guide them, attracted top dogs and handlers from across the country.

After two close rounds the top five dogs advanced to the Finals. Congratulations to Thad Buckler of Evansburg, Alta., and his dog, Nic who emerged the 2011 Champions, pocketing a cool $2,500 in added prize money.

No stranger to the winners circle in Canada or the U.S., this is Buckler’s second win at Northlands. Buckler is the president of the Alberta Stock Dog Association.

Horse Slaughter Plants to Open Again in U.S.

Horses could soon be butchered for human consumption in the U.S. after Congress quietly lifted a five-year-old ban on funding horse meat inspections, and activists say slaughterhouses could be up and running in as little as a month.

The last U.S. slaughterhouse closed in Illinois in 2007. The shutdown saw a massive increase in neglect and the abandonment of horses.

Pro slaughter groups say they are scrambling to get a plant going, possibly in Montana or Wyoming. They estimate a slaughterhouse could open in 30 to 90 days with state approval, and eventually as many as 200,000 horses a year could be slaughtered for human consumption. Most of the meat would be shipped to countries in Europe and Asia, including France and Japan.

Sue Wallis, a Wyoming state lawmaker, said ranchers used to be able to sell horses that were too old or unfit for work to slaughterhouses, but now they have to ship them to butchers in Canada and Mexico where they fetch less than half the price.

The federal ban devastated “an entire sector of animal agriculture for purely sentimental and romantic notions,” she said. The closures also devastated horse prices in Canada.

Federal lawmakers’ lifting of the ban on funding for horse meat inspections came about in part because of the recession, which struck just as slaughtering stopped.

The report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office determined that at least 138,000 horses were transported to Canada and Mexico for slaughter in 2010, nearly the same number that were killed in the U.S. before the ban took effect in 2007.

Canadian Cowboys’ Association ?2011 Champions!

Pick up man Wade Rempel of Kyle, Sask., grabs
bareback rider Colter Bannow of Marsden, Sask.,
preventing the young cowboy from going off the
wrong side and potentially getting hung up. Both
Rempel and fellow pick up man Travis Erickson of
Consul, Sask., made some terrific, almost-unnoticed
‘preventative’ saves at this year’s Finals.
Photo by Lewis Images

The Canadian Cowboys’ Association (CCA) Finals, sponsored by Ford, were held in Regina on Nov. 22–26 during the Canadian Western Agribition. Congratulations to the 2011 CCA Champions!

The High Point Champion is Dustin Walker of Vanscoy, Sask; Cowboy of the Year is Kelly Brice of Regina, Sask; and Cowgirl of the Year is Sherry Quam of Montmart, Sask.
The 2011 CCA Champions: Bareback: Brad Dyck, Gladstone, Man.; Steer Wrestling: Dustin Walker, Vanscoy, Sask.; Saddle Bronc: Jim Berry, Rocky Mountain House, Alta.; Tie-Down Roping: Riley Warren, Stettler, Alta.; Steer Riding: JB Moen, Elrose, Sask.; Barrel Racing: Danielle Dinius, Stewart Valley, Sask.; Team Roping: Tuftin & Scott McLeod, Waldeck, Sask.; Jr. Barrel Racing: Jody Doenz, Milk River, Alta.; Bull Riding: Stetson Lawrence, Williston, ND.

Founded in 1963, the Canadian Cowboys’ Association (CCA) is a semi-pro rodeo association that sanctions over 50 rodeos within Alberta, Manitoba, and Saskatchewan. In 2005 the CCA expanded into Ontario with a new tour of rodeos.

Often called a “springboard to the pros,” the association’s Past Champions reads like a Who’s Who of professional rodeo. The CCA is the largest geographical rodeo association in Canada.