Exclusive “Club” Expands

NIRA Team Roping Champions: heeler Sawyer Barham of Oklahoma and header Kolton Schmidt of Barrhead, Alta. Photo by Dan Hubbell.

Membership in this exclusive “club” is reserved for Canucks that won a championship in the National Intercollegiate Rodeo Association.

Bronc rider Ivan Daines started the club in 1966. He was the president, secretary and treasurer until Guy Shapka won the bronc riding title in 1983. Membership grew again in 1991 when Shawn Vant won the NIRA All Around and Bareback titles; Shawn repeated his Bareback win in 1992. Davey Shields joined up in 1998 when he claimed the Bareback crown.

NIRA Saddle Bronc Riding Champion, Clay Elliott of Nanton, Alta. Photo by Dan Hubbell.

When the club was 45 years old, it still had only four members but it has doubled in the last four years. Tyrel Larsen started the onslaught in 2012 when he won the Saddle Bronc riding. The following year, his kid brother Orin Larsen came through in the Bareback competition, then defended his title in 2014.

On June 20 of this year, history was made as two members were accepted into the exclusive guild when Clay Elliott won the Saddle Bronc riding title and Team Roping header Kolton Schmidt opened a new chapter of the club when he became the first timed-eventer to win an NIRA championship.