August/September 2012


Canadian Brothers Take on NIRA

Orin Larsen won the short go in bareback at the NIRA
Photo by Dan Hubbell Photography

Tyrel Larsen earned the title of 2012 NIRA Saddle Bronc Champion
Photo by Dan Hubbell Photography

Congratulations to Tyrel Larsen of Inglis, Man., who attends Southwestern Oklahoma State University. The young gun competed in the 2012 National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association Finals in Casper, Wyo., and was crowned the 2012 Saddle Bronc Champion with a total of 301 points on four head to accumulate 275 championship points. Tyrel’s younger brother, Orin Larsen, who attends the College of Southern Idaho, won the short go in the bareback riding with a huge 80.5 score.

It’s been a long, dry spell since a Canadian has emerged a champion in this “Rose Bowl” of college rodeo?—?29 years in fact. In 1983 Guy Shapka brought home the saddle bronc trophy and Ivan Daines won the bronc riding at this prestigious showdown in 1966.

Stocking the Herd

Tyke (left) and Hunter (right) Harden
Photo courtesy Jamie Harden

Tyke David & Hunter Johnny Harden

Congratulations to Josh and Jamie Harden of Big Valley, Alta., on the birth of their twin boys, Tyke David and Hunter Johnny. They were born June 1 and weighed in at 5 lbs 6 oz and 5 lbs 14 oz respectively.

Josh, a horse trainer as well as a pro cowboy specializing in saddle bronc and steer wrestling, is the first cowboy to earn a place in the running for the 2012 CPRA All Around Cowboy title.

Beaver & Bison 1912 Souvenir

A rare 1912 Calgary Stampede souvenir —?just how rare is unknown at this point. Underneath the quintessential Canadian symbol, the beaver, are the words; “Sunny Alberta Souvenir” and beneath the Bison is printed; “Stampede Calgary, Alta. Sept. 2–7 1912”.

One of our faithful subscribers sent us this image of what is believed to be a rare souvenir from the 1912 Calgary Stampede. It is unknown how many of these souvenirs still exist today.

This collector’s pin was acquired by her Grandfather, John George Wylee Coulson.  He made the trip from the family outfit, The Blackmud Ranch near Leduc, to the Stampede. This pin was passed down to her mother, and she in turn passed it down to our subscriber. Again, just like the J.??T. Garissere engraved pass from the 1912 Stampede (showcased in the last issue) the provenance on this pin is unimpeachable.

It is interesting to note that on this souvenir at least, it was not called the Calgary Stampede. It is souvenirs with these types of aberrations that seem to catch the public’s fancy and rise in value.

a photo and information to the editor at

Great Westerner Recognized

Temple Grandin, PhD
Photo courtesy National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum

Dr. Temple Grandin, PhD is being inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners in the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma City, Okla.

First presented in 1961, the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum Western Heritage Awards were established to honour and encourage the legacy of those whose works in literature, music, film and television reflect the significant stories of the American West.

The awards program also recognizes inductees into the prestigious Hall of Great Westerners and the Hall of Great Western Performers as well as the recipient of the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award, named in honour of the Museum’s founder.

This year’s honorees are Bruce Boxleitner and the late Fess Parker for the Hall of Great Western Performers, Temple Grandin, PhD and the late Walter Prescott Webb, PhD for the Hall of Great Westerners and the late Jerry Cates for the Chester A. Reynolds Memorial Award.

Dr. Grandin is a designer of livestock handling facilities and a Professor of Animal Science at Colorado State University. Facilities she has designed are located in Australia, Canada, Europe, Mexico, New Zealand, and the U.S. In North America, almost half of the cattle are handled in a center track restrainer system that she designed for meat plants. Curved chute and race systems she has designed for cattle are used worldwide, and her writings on the flight zone and other principles of grazing animal behaviour have helped many people to reduce stress on their animals during handling.

Philanthropist Bill Siebens Gifts Calgary Stampede Foundation

The entrance gate to the historic OH Ranch
Photo courtesy Calgary Stampede Foundation

Local philanthropist, rancher and businessman Bill Siebens has gifted the Calgary Stampede Foundation with the almost 8,000-acre southern portion of the historic OH Ranch, in southwestern Alberta. The gift also includes the OH brand and the ranch’s historic buildings?—?such as the 1885 ranch house, the old cookhouse and the replica North West Mounted Police cabin.

“Alberta has been my home for 54 years. I made my career in the oil business, raised my family here and have a deep attachment and love for the Foothills country west of Calgary,” said Siebens, who also owns the neighbouring Tongue Creek Ranch. “Things turned out well for me and I want to make this gift to the Calgary Stampede Foundation for a few reasons. The Stampede is 100 years old this summer. I’ve been at 54 of those Stampedes. I know that in their hands the southern portion of the OH Ranch will be well cared for the next 100 years,” noted Siebens. “This is my gift to the people of Alberta.”

“Everyone is familiar with the legendary generosity and community vision of the Big Four,” said Steve Allan, vice-chair, Stampede Foundation, referring to the financial backers of the first Calgary Stampede. “Today Bill Siebens has shown his community vision and generosity is as powerful as that of our founders. We are truly grateful to Bill and his family for their gift of this historic ranching property.”

The Stampede Foundation will work with the Stampede to develop a management plan for the ranch that furthers the organizations’ shared mission to preserve and promote Western heritage and values. In operation as a ranch for close to 130 years, the OH ranch consists of deeded (private) and leased (public) land. Siebens’ gift is valued at more than $11 million and is the largest private gift ever received by the Stampede Foundation.

The OH Ranch is Alberta’s second ‘heritage rangeland’ protected area, and operates under an easement agreement with the Nature Conservancy of Canada for the purposes of the protection, conservation and enhancement of the environment, biological diversity, natural, scenic and aesthetic values, natural habitat and similar purposes. As a historic rangeland, the ranch is not focused on recreation opportunities and the area is under grazing lease–with hunting and access restrictions.

For more on the Calgary Stampede Foundation visit

Empty Saddles

Dr. Gary Houston with a tranquilized cougar in the Cypress Hills in January 2012
Photo courtesy Gary Houston

Dr. Gary Houston

Dr. Gary Houston of Cypress Hills Park passed away May 22, 2012; he was 71.

Gary was a frequent photographic contributor to Canadian Cowboy Country.

Where in the World is Canadian Cowboy?

Photo courtesy Kylie Kuchnerek

Since 1123, golf has been played on the isthmus of land in the Eden Estuary known as St Andrews, Scotland Links when King David I’s charter ratified that the Links land belonged to the townspeople of St Andrews.

By the 1400s golf was being played on the Links at St Andrews on a simple track hacked through the bushes and heather. By 1457 the game had become so popular that it was banned by King James II of Scotland, who felt it was distracting young men from archery practice. Succeeding monarchs repeated this ban, until James IV became a keen golfer himself in 1502.

In 1764 The Old Course consisted of 22 holes, 11 out and 11 back, with golfers playing to the same hole going out and in. The golfers decided that the first four holes were too short and they were made into two holes. This reduced the number of holes in the round from 22 to 18, and that is how today’s standard round of golf was created.

Today, St Andrews Links is the largest public golf complex in Europe with seven golf courses, three clubhouses and a wealth of amenities. The original track cut through the gorse bushes is a golfing mecca attracting pilgrims from around the world, including the editor’s son, Greg Kuchnerek of Camrose, Alta.

And They’re Off!

Colt Richards on the woolly; Billy Richards either trying to catch him or hang on to his son. Billy’s right toe is the only thing touching the arena dirt; everything else is airborne.
Photo by Slade Rogers, Dreams Alive Imagery

A good grip on his sheep riding gear turned a belly rope into a flank strap, as a barely three-year-old Colt Richards rocketed out of the chutes in his rough stock debut at the 35th Annual Pete Knight Rodeo held in June in Crossfield, Alta.

Scrambling to catch his first born is Colt’s dad, Billy Richards, himself a six-time CFR qualifier and son of Richards Rodeos stock contractor, Doug Richards.

Complete with custom chaps and sporting the first pro buckle his dad ever won in boys steer riding, Colt (and Billy) were surprised at the rapid ground speed attained by the Secretariat-inspired ewe.

The rodeo, named after famed Crossfield resident, World Champion Bronc Rider and international superstar of Rodeo Pete Knight, enjoyed great weather, record entries and record crowds.

Rodeo Hall of Fame Class of 2012

The Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame is pleased to announce the champion-studded list of inductees. The Hall of Fame, now in its permanent home in the new Ponoka Ag Event Centre located along Hwy 2A on the south side of the city, was founded by dedicated rodeo enthusiasts, “To honour and distinguish outstanding contestants, animals and builders in the Canadian Rodeo Arena.”

The stellar list of rodeo greats includes 14-time qualifier and two-time Canadian Bareback Champion Roger Lacasse of Mirabel, Que., two-time Canadian and one-time World Steer Wrestling and National Finals Rodeo Aggregate Champion Mark Roy; nine-time Canadian All-Around, three-time Canadian High Point, two-time Canadian Saddle Bronc and four-time National Finals Rodeo Aggregate Champion Rod Warren; three-time Canadian Barrel Racing Champion Elaine Watt; five-time Canadian Tie-Down Roping Champion Cliff Williamson, (who holds the record for consecutive Canadian Finals Rodeo qualifications at 29); Caroline, Alta., stock contractor, the late Harvey Northcott and the Calgary Stampede’s six-time Canadian and six-time World Champion Bucking Horse, Grated Coconut.

The 2012 Legendary Achievement recipients are Bart Brower, Bob Gottfriedson (Tonto) and Tom Ivans.

The Hall of Fame ceremonies takes place on Oct. 20 at the Coast Plaza Hotel in Calgary, Alta. For tickets, contact the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association 403-945-0903 or visit

Stocking the Herd

Conner Lucas
Photo courtesy Judy Lucas, Lucasia Ranch

Conner Riley Lucas

Congratulations to Aaron and Rusty Lucas on the birth of their son, Conner Riley Lucas, born May 30. He weighed in at 8 lbs 4 oz.

Mom Aaron (Courchesne) is 2009 Miss Rodeo Canada and Rusty is the son of Judy and Wayne Lucas of Lucasia Ranch west of Claresholm, Alta. Lucasia Ranch, founded in 1881, is a working guest ranch. Besides their hospitality, the Lucas’ are well known for their award-winning black Percherons.

Foals Making History

Ultimately Fine and her stud colt, nicknamed The Wolf Pup
Photo courtesy Franklin Ranch

Born May 24 on the Franklin Ranch is a history-making colt known affectionately as “The Wolf Pup.” The black stud is the first-born sired by Wolfie, the cloned stallion of the famous bronc, Airwolf.

Shane Franklin handpicked the first mares to be bred to the cloned grey, including Ultimately Fine, a multi-trip CFR (saddle bronc, bareback) and NFR (bareback) mare.

“There’s been a lot of interest in him,” says Shane. “The folks down in Canyon, Texas (who cloned Airwolf) called us as soon as they got this same picture I sent to you, and they asked us 10,000 questions.”

There has been a steady stream of visitors to the Bonnyville-area ranch and worldwide interest.

“For all those who, for whatever reason, didn’t believe in cloning a horse, or that he couldn’t reproduce, well, the proof is running alongside his mama,” says Shane.

“Each spring we cut the two-year-old studs and I always think, ‘I hope we didn’t make a mistake’ like we did in 1984 (Kingsway) and 1986 (Airwolf). But it’s not a mistake; you can’t have a bunch of studs around. They’re OK when they’re on their own but bring other horses around and it’s like a prison riot,” says Shane.

Meanwhile back at the ranch, out of the four mares bred two caught,  and while I wrote this, I received word that multi-trip CFR and NFR saddle bronc mare, Limited Edition foaled, giving birth to a filly.

One of the mares that didn’t catch is the famed Pop-A-Top. “Sometimes they’ll catch when they’re dry (not have a colt on them),” says Shane.

They are currently discussing the embryo transplant option for Pop-A-Top with the folks in Texas.

At press time, neither the colt nor the filly had been named. Do you think you have the perfect name for one or both of these history-making foals? Just for fun, send along your name suggestions to me at and I’ll pass them along to Shane.

First Major Exhibition?—?Watercolours of Charles M. Russell

Charles M. Russell, Watching for the Smoke Signal

From June 15?–?Sept 15, 2012, the C.M. Russell Museum in Great Falls, Mont., will become the second of only two museums in the United States to host Romance Maker: The Watercolors of Charles M. Russell, the first national exhibition devoted exclusively to the artist’s work in this medium.

Organized by the Amon Carter Museum of American Art, Fort Worth, Texas, the exhibition brings together more than 100 of the finest and best-preserved Russell watercolours from both private and public collections across the United States for the first time.

“The Russell Museum is thrilled to bring this important exhibition to the northwestern part of the country,” said chief curator Sarah Burt. “Watercolours are almost never loaned out because of their fragility.”

Until Romance Maker, the watercolours of Charles Russell (1864?–?1926), as well as his mastery of the medium, have never been examined in depth. During his career, he produced approximately eleven hundred finished watercolours. Russell himself thought he was a better watercolourist than oil painter, and many of his friends and family members agreed with him.

By the late 1890s, despite the fact that he lived and worked in relative isolation in Montana, Russell reached a pinnacle of achievement in watercolour that few American artists of his time managed to attain.

Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Larry Robinson competing at the 1985 National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, Nev.
Photo courtesy Alberta Sports Hall of Fame

Congratulations to legendary roper Larry Robinson of Innisfail, Alta., who was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in May.

Larry helped shape amateur and professional rodeo, as a contestant, organizer and instructor throughout his career and beyond.

In 1975 at age 17, he turned professional and qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo. For two decades he dominated the rodeo arena both in Canada and on the world stage. He qualified for the CFR 18 times, was a six-time Canadian Champion, seven-time National Finals qualifier and the 1986 Calgary Stampede Tie-Down Champion. In 1997 he received the prestigious C.N. Woodward Cowboy of the Year Award.

A top cowboy also needs top horses and Larry trained many, including his triad of Lucky, Fred and Duffer. The three won Rope Horse of the Year a combined six times. A master instructor, Larry held tie-down roping schools for more than 30 years.

Larry is currently the tie-down director of the Alberta High School Rodeo and a volunteer with the Bowden Junior High and High School Rodeo.

He was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2006.

Miles and Smiles

Miss Rodeo Canada 2012 Arleta Bowhay supporting small town rodeo as she rides in the close-to-her-hometown Big Horn Stampede parade in Caroline, Alta.
Photo courtesy Arleta Bowhay

Rodeo season is well under way and Miss Rodeo Canada 2012 Arleta Bowhay has been traveling all over Alberta. The First Lady of Rodeo shone at the Funny Money Casino Fundraiser for the Airdrie Rodeo Royalty, and then it was off to the Stavely Pro Rodeo for the weekend, followed by the Caroline Big Horn Rodeo and Parade.

She headed north to the Grande Prairie Stompede for an exciting week of rodeo?—?and got to help crown 2012 Miss Grande Prairie Stompede, Amy Foisy. She came home to support the Sundre and Bergen 4-H Show and Sale, and flew the flag at the Leduc Black Gold Pro Rodeo. Summer is plumb full of rodeos and special events for this dynamic gal, who is representing rodeo with flash and class.