The rodeo grandstand gates opened at 11 a.m. and you could shop in the Western Marketplace for all things country – boots, belts, jeans, saddles, hats, jewellery, food, beer and shots of Jack…
The Kids’ Rodeo started at 12:30 and the professionals at 2 p.m. The pros are the world’s best cowboy athletes competing in bull riding, bareback riding, saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, tie-down roping and team roping, while top-ranked cowgirls take the reins in barrel racing. Seven cowboys were from Alberta which brought a louder than usual cheer from all the Canadians in the stands. The rodeo runs each of the 4 days culminating in the finals this past Sunday.
Just some of the rodeo highlights –
Bareback Riding Competition [2 Canadian contestants]
must ride for 8 seconds, hold on with 1 hand, 100 points possible – 50 for the rider based on control, spurring technique and handling the strength of the horse and 50 for the horse based on speed, power, kicking action, bucking rhythm and how high in the air they buck.
Steer Wrestling [4 Canadian contestants]
healthy steers must weigh between 450 and 600 lbs. As the contestants horse pulls even with the steer, he slides off the right side grasping the steer’s horns. He slows and turns the steer by digging his heels into the ground. Clock stops when the steer is stopped, brought to the ground and all four legs are facing in the same direction. Fastest time wins.
healthy steers may weigh as much as 650 lbs. The Header attempts to rope the head or horns of the steer. The Heeler attempts to rope both heels, or hind legs, of the steer. The clock stops when both ropes are taut and the two ropers and their horses have turned to face each other.
Saddle Bronc Riding
must ride for 8 seconds and hold on with 1 hand. 100 points possible – 50 for the rider based on synchronized spurring motion with the bucking motion of the horse (being “in time” with the horse). Horses’ s score of 50 is based on speed, power, kicking action, bucking rhythm and how high in the air they buck.
Tie-Down Roping [1 Canadian contestant]
healthy calves must weigh between 220 and 280 lbs. After the calf leaves the chute the contestant must rope the calf, dismount and flank the calf to the ground. If the rope comes off the calf before he has a hand on the calf, the roper is disqualified. He must then tie any three legs of the calf together with a half hitch knot and remount and ride forward to remove the slack from his rope. The calf must stay tied for 6 seconds.
Women’s Barrel Racing
to race in a cloverleaf pattern around three barrels arranged in a triangle. While contestants may touch the barrels in order to keep them standing upright each barrel knocked over results in a five second penalty. Fastest time wins.
must ride for 8 seconds. 100 points possible – 50 for the rider based on good body position, control and use of the free arm. Bull’s score of 50 points is based on how strongly a bull bucks, the power and speed with which he bucks and how much he spins, jumps and kicks. Riders are on the small side, 5’8″ is about average while the bulls generally weigh at least 1, 200 lbs up to a ton.
What a great fun afternoon – but wait – there’s more!
You just have to start talking to people and you never know where it will take you. Look at what happened to us at the Tucson Rodeo – saying “hi” to our bench mates.
Chuck: You’re from Canada? [They were cheering pretty good for the Canadian contestants, so it was a safe question…]
Him: Yes, Ontario
Chuck: Us too, we’re from Oakville – where are you from?
Him: Owen Sound
Me: My sister and brother-in-law live near Owen Sound – in Tara
Him: I lived most of the time in Northern Ontario though – in Matheson and Timmins.
Me: Matheson??? I lived there also! On Quinn Crescent.
Him: Me too – house #xx (I don’t remember what he said – I’m in shock). What’s your name?
Jacquie: Jacquie Koselek
Him: Oh my gosh – I know Jeanne Koselek
Jacquie: That’s my Mom!
Him: I know. What a great lady! I read all of her “Good Mornings”!
Jacquie: What’s your name?
Him: Mike Donovan and this is my wife Marie. [I didn’t remember any Mike Donovan but he sure knew enough about Mom that I wasn’t going to question him any further.]
Him: Wait! Are you the ones travelling in the motorhome?
Him: Wow, I’ve read everything about your travels that your Mom puts in her Good Mornings! What an adventure, etc., etc.
Me: I’ve got to take your picture! (and I did)
The conversation continued, I missed most of the ladies barrel racing (why there’s just 1 pic) and we ended up with an invitation to Owen Sound and to park at their house (with my Mom and her husband, Gil).
Go figure! Just a simple “you’re from Canada?”