Building The Sport of Rodeo: The Foothills Cowboy’s Association



Red Deer, AB:  From October 5th to 7th, this weekend, the 57th FCA Cowboy Classic Finals will take place at the Stockman’s Pavillion of Westerner Park in Red Deer, AB.

It’s now been 57 years since the inception of the Foothills Cowboy’s Association known for short as the FCA. As one of the Semi-Professional Rodeo Associations of Alberta, it’s a place where Family is one of the highest values. Cowboy’s and Cowgirls alike are brought up often with their family or for others their “Rodeo Families” and often learn the sport and their respective events. Some go on to the Full Professional ranks of the CPRA, PRCA, or the PBR and some will rodeo as part time as work might not permit them to pursue it full time.

For others, it’s a place to go back to rodeo with their family once they are finished in their Professional Career since it’s where they started. Smokin’ Joe Lucas would be one example when he came back to rodeo with his kids Katy and Kyle while they were of age.

Current FCA President Dave Clark noted that it is a building association.

“When they go on to those professional ranks, we know we’ve been successful.” He said over coffee last week in Aldersyde, AB.

Building and successful can be said for hundreds if not thousands of past FCA Members, Contestants and Finalists. Looking back to the beginning of it all, you’ll see one who’s even being inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame himself in 2012 as a builder. As a FCA Champion in the Steer Wrestling, Bareback Riding, Bull Riding and the All Around, the late Harvey Northcott is who you will find.

Harvey and his wife Eileen were a big part of the creation of the Foothills Cowboys Association. Their Grandson Dawson, who’s been selected as a bull fighter many times to the finals, said over the phone this morning that his grandma Eileen “Ran the office off of their kitchen table for a number of years.” Dawson wen’t on to tell about his Dad, Del had been a pick up man at the FCA Finals for at least 12 years and even won the Steer Riding in 1970 which was one of the year’s Harvey won the Steer Wrestling.

You’ll also find Harvey’s Son, Ace in the books as the ’87 Bull Riding Champion. This year, you’ll also find Dawson’s Mom, Debbie in the timers booth with Maxine Baird.

The Northcott’s aren’t the only family either that’s been a huge part of the FCA.

It seems this judges sure do have a lot of connections family wise as past champions themselves with now their children winning at the same level they did and going on past where they might have themselves even. Jim Turner has been a mainstay as an FCA Finals Judge as well as throughout each season. His son’s Jody and Steve and daughter Heather are all past Champions. Steve and Jody have gone on to both be Canadian Pro Rodeo Champions as well.

Doug Goodine won the bull riding in 1983 and 1985, his wife Judy was the 1986 Ladies Barrel Racing Champion. Their son Cole has won the Bareback Riding the past two years as well as the Novice Horse Riding once as well as qualify for the CFR in the same event. Their daughter Kayley is also a many time FCA Finalist.

Rick Nash and Ken Ullery are also judges with a number of family members involved in the association. Rick’s son’s Wacey won the bull riding on two separate occasions and will be bullfighting once again at this year’s finals. Wacey’s son will surely make his way up the ranks in the years to come.

Stock Contractor Doug Richards was the 1972 Saddle Bronc Champion. His son Billy won the same title in 1999 and went on to many CFR Qualifications until retiring this very season only a month ago in the Cochrane, AB FCA Arena. Both Billy and his brother Jimmy now help their Dad with the stock and will go on with the family tradition on their own someday.

Kevin Girletz won the Bull Riding in 1980 and was a pick up man for a number of years at the Finals with Del Northcott. Kevin and his wife Rita’s son Tanner won the same event in 2004, then went on to win the Canadian Championship only two years later.

Someone that has to be mentioned is 1973 Rookie of the Year Don Johansen who has been the FCA Finals Chute Boss and Arena Director for a number of years. The same job he does nearly every fall in Edmonton.

That Edmonton job is one that 1976-78 FCA Bareback Champ Dave Shields has done. Shields and his son Dave Jr. could arguably be the best father son Bareback Riders Canada has ever seen. Greg “Sleepy” Schlosser was the 1979 Bull Riding and All Around champion. Sleepy went on to ride Bodacious and win Canadian Championships.

Other notable past champions include Cliff Williamson, ’79 Tie Down Roping; Traci Dawson, ’97 & ’99 Ladies Barrel Racing; Kyle Thomson ’98 & ’99 All Around;  Dean Edge, ’02 Tie Down Roping; Murray Pole, ’03 Tie Down Roping; and Travis Reay with the ’03 to ’07 All Around Championships.

Moving onto today, you’ll see names like Ky Marshall, Reed Sparks, Riley Warren, Derek Frank, Billy West and Brendan Laye making their way between the ranks of the FCA and Professional Rodeo.

For a full list of the 2012 Contestants, check out this link:

You’ll see many of these names and others this weekend at the 57th Edition of the FCA Cowboy Classic Finals. It’ll be announced once again by 2011 CPRA Announcer of the Year Brett Gardiner. Keith Pengelley and Jim Kelts will be the pick up men. Both of those families have a number of years of involvement with the FCA that will have to be written about one day.

Former Bull Rider, Junior Bull Rider, Steer Rider, Bullfighter and Stock Contractor, often all at the same time and rodeo, Ty Prescott will be teamed up with Wacey Nash as the bull fighters this year.

$96,000 will be paid out over the four performances and three days of competition in Red Deer this weekend. What that $96,000 doesn’t include is the 13 Season Leader Saddles, 13 Champion Buckles as well as the awards for the Cowboy and Family of the Year and Rookie of the Year.

Friday October 5th’s Performance will start at 7:00pm with Denver Daines to perform before the rodeo and after the Calcutta. The Calcutta and social will take place behind the timed event chutes directly after the rodeo.

Saturday October 6th will feature two performances with the first one starting at 1:00pm and the second at 7:00pm

Sunday October 7th the 2012 FCA Champions will be crowned with the performance starting at 1:00pm.

That night starting at 5:00pm the Awards Banquet will take place over at the Sheraton Hotel.

It’s going to be an outstanding weekend of rodeo in Red Deer, AB. One that you won’t want to miss!

Tickets are available at the door or at Jones Boys for $15.

Stay tuned to for video highlights, results, payout and interviews from the weekends events!