THE CPRA CELEBRATES CANADA’S 150TH BIRTHDAY WITH 150 OF CANADIAN RODEO’S GREATEST MOMENTS
*Send in your ideas for Great Canadian Rodeo Moments to be included in this feature - which will run throughout the 2017 CPRA season. Contributors whose suggestions are used will be eligible for CPRA merchandise prize draws. Email email@example.com
Great Canadian Rodeo Moment #12
The year was 1992.
Fir Mountain, Saskatchewan native Mark Roy followed up his first Canadian Steer Wrestling win (1991) by capturing a second Canadian title, the NFR Steer Wrestling average and the World Steer Wrestling Championship. Mark was the first Canadian to win the World in the steer wrestling event.
The Canadian Pro Rodeo and Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Inductee went on to win the NFR average for a second time in 1996. Mark, who called Dalemead, Alberta home during and after a career that spanned three decades, retired in 2008.
Great Canadian Rodeo Moment #11
The year was 1999. Canada Post issued a set of four 46-cent stamps honouring famous Canadian horses. Franklin Rodeo Company’s Hall of Fame gelding, Kingsway Skoal, was part of that elite groupwhich also included thoroughbred racing’s Northern Dancer, harness racing’s Armbro Flight and show jumping’s Big Ben.
In his amazing career, Kingsway Skoal won five Canadian saddle bronc titles, three Canadian bareback awards and was selected world champion bareback horse in 1988 and was twice named world champion saddle bronc (1995-96).
The cowboy getting bucked off on the saddle bronc image used for the stamp was CFR qualifier Ian Freeman.
* Thank you to Canadian Cowboy Country magazine editor, Terri Mason, for this suggestion. Terri's name will be entered into a draw for CPRA merchandise.
The year was 2015. Legendary tie-down roping horse, Sid, owned by CFR roper Dean Edge was named Canadian Professional Rodeo Association Tie-Down Horse of the Year for a record 7th time!
The 22-year-old grade gelding has been in Edge's stable since 2000. A popular choice among ropers over the years, the bay with the funny white spots has brought some of the biggest names in rodeo to pay windows across North America.
The world of Canadian tie-down roping is proud to have a horse like Sid.
The year was 1972. Canadian cowboy Mel Hyland became the first man to win both the Canadian and World saddle bronc riding titles in the same year.
Hyland would go on to win a second saddle bronc world championship in 1976 and a total of five Canadian titles (4 saddle bronc and one bareback). The singing cowboy was inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1996 and the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (in Colorado Springs, CO) in 1999.
The year was 2010. In a sport where generational successes abound, no rodeo family has enjoyed more of that success than the Walter family of Lethbridge.
When Rana Walter Koopmans emerged as the Canadian barrel racing champion in 2010, she was the fourth member of that family to earn Canada’s top rodeo honour. Her dad, Oscar, was the 1979 tie-down roping champion; one year later, mom - Mary Lynn - won the barrel racing title while oldest daughter Raylee (Walter) Edwards enjoyed her moment in the spotlight in 2003. Rana’s victory made it a perfect ‘4 for 4’ for this outstanding rodeo family!
The year was 2008. Tie-down roper Cliff Williamson of Madden, Alberta capped off a remarkable career with his 29th Canadian Finals Rodeo appearance - a record that may never be broken.
During his storied career that began with a Rookie of the Year title in 1980, Williamson won five Canadian Championships, was named Cowboy of the Year at his final CFR in 2008 and was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 2012.
The year was 1964. The first edition of the Canadian Rodeo News made its appearance.
It was while Pearl and Harold Mandeville were returning from competing at a rodeo in Toronto in 1963, that they first began talking about a rodeo newsletter to keep people posted on the latest goings on.
“The newsletter idea came up about Brandon, Manitoba,” Pearl recalls, “and by the time we got to Regina, it was a newspaper”.
And thus Canada’s professional rodeo newspaper was born. The Mandevilles sold subscriptions at the Edmonton Spring Rodeo, dispensed free copies of that first edition to anyone looking like they might have a ranch background and Harold even put free copies on the windshield of every car in the parking lot. The paper was printed in Taber (twice a month back then), and the Mandeville family dutifully headed to the town almost an hour away, picked up the pages and brought them home where Harold and Pearl, with the kids (Bryan and Vicky) assisting, collated, folded papers, then bundled them according to the towns they were destined for—and headed back to Taber for mailing. “Canada Post had a special rate that you only got if the publication was mailed from the same place it was printed”.
Four years later, the Mandevilles turned the publication over the to the CPRA. In 2014, the Canadian Rodeo News celebrated its fiftieth anniversary but sadly the last issue was published just a year later. Today, CPRA news and features are in a special section (Pro Rodeo Canada Insider) of Canadian Cowboy Country magazine.
The year was 2004. Wildwood, Alberta’s Rod Hay laid claim to his eighth saddle bronc riding title - establishing a record for ‘most championships by a bronc rider’ in Canada.
That eighth buckle broke the tie with fellow superstar Mel Coleman. Hay, who has 20 WNFR qualifications to his credit and four Calgary Stampede wins, was named Canada’s Cowboy of the Year in 2014. He was among the first Canadian cowboys to top the million dollar career earnings mark.
The year was 1981. Midnight became the first animal to be inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
This black gelding was foaled on the Cottonwood Ranch in the Porcupine Hills, west of Fort Macleod, Alberta, in 1916. His mother was a thoroughbred mare; his sire a Percheron/Morgan cross. Due to the horse’s unreliable nature, Midnight’s owner, Jim McNab gave up on making the gelding into a saddle horse and decided to try him as a bucking horse at some of the local rodeos around the country. His reputation quickly grew as he reportedly bucked off all contestants until Pete Knight rode him in 1926.
After being sold into the US, Midnight was featured at major rodeos in the country; he was retired at the conclusion of the 1933 Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Midnight died in November, 1936 and was buried on the McCarty-Elliott Ranch in Johnstown, Colorado. Later his remains were moved to the National Cowboy Hall of Fame in Oklahoma City. Midnight was also inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in Colorado Springs, Colorado.
His head stone in Oklahoma City reads:
“Under this sod lies a great bucking hoss.
There never lived a cowboy he couldn’t toss.
His name was Midnight; his coat black as coal.
If there is a hoss-heaven, please, God, rest his soul.”
The year was 1977. Jim Gladstone became the first Canadian to win a timed event world title when he emerged as the World Champion Calf Roper at the (then) sudden-death NFR, pocketing $7166 in go round money and winning the average as well for a $5000 bonus. His total time of 119.7 seconds for ten calves was a record at the time, eclipsing the old mark by five and a half seconds, not bad considering he was nursing a broken finger throughout the final.
Gladstone who was born on the Blood Reserve north of Cardston, Alberta, and went on to a successful career in the legal profession, was the son of Canadian Rodeo Hall of Famer Fred Gladstone and grandson of Canadian Senator, James Gladstone. Jim, who passed away in 2015, remains the only Canadian to have won the Tie Down Roping World Championship.
The year was 1979. The Meadow Lake Stampede was the setting for one of the greatest saddle bronc rides of all time.Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame Legend, Doug Vold, rode the Verne Franklin Rodeo Canadian Hall of Fame bronc, Transport, to a CPRA and PRCA record 95 points (a score that was equalled by 2002 World Champion Glen O'Neill on another Franklin bronc - Skoal Air Wolf - at Innisfail Pro Rodeo in 1996). Vold, a six time CFR qualifier, made the spectacular ride on a horse that was at every Canadian Finals Rodeo from 1974 until his retirement in 1991. Transport also appeared at the National Finals Rodeo 15 times and lived to ripe old age of 32.
* Thank you to Cyndi Gomersall for suggesting this Great Canadian Rodeo Moment. Cyndi’s name will be entered into a draw for CPRA merchandise.
The year was 1974. Canadian Professional Rodeo had grown to the point that a high level national championship was needed. The CPRA (then the CRCA) set out to put together a governing body to bring the dream to fruition. That led to the formation of the Canadian National Finals Rodeo Commission including Bob Robinson, CRCA President; Len Perry, Chairman of the Edmonton Spring Rodeo Committee and Edmonton Northlands Director; C.N (Chunky Woodward, prominent retailer and rancher and Jerry D’Arcy, president of the Calgary Exhibition and Stampede.
The Canadian Finals Rodeo was staged that fall at the Edmonton Gardens with a total purse of $29,278 and attracted it almost 30,000 fans. The CFR moved to the Edmonton Coliseum the following year—and 43 years later, the coliseum remains its home.
*Send in your ideas for Great Canadian Rodeo Moments to be included in this feature - which will run throughout the 2017 CPRA season. Contributors whose suggestions are used will be eligible for CPRA merchandise prize draws.