Back in the Saddle Again!
Hats off to the Calgary Stampede for pulling off the most controversial and contentious Stampede ever. The crowds were less than half of what the Park was used to hosting, but perhaps most noticeable of all was the less-than-stellar trips in some of the bareback and saddle bronc events early in the rodeo. The Calgary Stampede horses are world famous — and for a good reason; they don’t hit the big time until they have “proved up” with a respectable number of trips under their flank strap. But consider this: when could these young horses have been bucked? Covid shut down everything, including training trips with cowboys keen to try out young bucking horses. But the bronc men of Calgary did their best to even up the pens to give every cowboy a fair shot — even if it meant some re-rides.
However, there were some absolutely spectacular trips early in the show, including Kolby Wanchuk’s arena-record-tying go on U-38 Urgent Delivery. As the rodeo surged toward the grand finale, with each click of the chute latch, the trips got better and better, culminating in what we are used to — cheering on the top cowboys on some of the greatest bucking horses in rodeo today. Hats off to the Stampede crew, most notably Stampede Ranch manager Tyler Kraft and the famous flankman Ken “Goose” Rehill. You pulled it off amidst the most controversy ever — and we enjoyed watching every minute of it.