Big Weekend For Brett Williams at Buffalo Lake

May 27, 2024 #sport
Brett Williams and VirgilBrett Williams and C5 Rodeo's F-13 Virgil. Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement Pro Rodeo

May 27, 2024

Game Changer? How about Career Changer.

The text came in the middle of the night to Nanton, Alberta bareback rider Brett Williams from travelling partner, Wyatt Maines. Maines had news. Big news.

“I woke up about four in the morning and saw that text telling me I had drawn Virgil at Buffalo Lake. I didn’t get a lot of sleep after that,” confided Williams. Not surprisingly, there was an immediate mix of feelings. “There was excitement for sure, some fear and, most of all, knowing that I had been given an opportunity. The fear part …  I just didn’t want to waste that opportunity.” (C5 Rodeo’s F-13 Virgil is a World, Canadian, CFR and NFR Champion bareback horse).

The Buffalo Lake Metis Settlement Pro Rodeo (Gateway to the North) is the first stop on the SMS Equipment Pro Rodeo Tour and Williams definitely did not miss his chance. The 28 year-old rancher/bareback rider was 89.5 points for a $2658 first-place cheque and a big jump in the standings from 15th entering the weekend to solidly inside the top ten.

“It’s incredible. He’s a pretty special horse,” Williams added. “You don’t get a lot of time to think during the ride—you just have to trust your body and let it react. I’ve been on lots of horses and none of them felt like him.”

And as one might expect, the Williams family was pretty excited as they watched the ride on the Cowboy Channel including Grandpa Don Williams who is a former Chair of the Stavely Pro Rodeo.

“I think I got the call from him almost before I got my riding glove off,” the younger Williams laughed.

It hasn’t always been smooth sailing for the southern Alberta competitor. After a CCA (semi-pro) career, Williams’ intention was to start rodeoing hard at the pro level but along came COVID, which put a whoa on that plan. Then last year, a broken leg and subsequent the surgery and plate and screws that followed resulted in pretty well an entire season lost. All of which makes what happened in Buffalo Lake more impactful.

“I was talking with Vern (McDonald) after the ride and he said you have no idea how much you just changed your career after riding that horse.” And the stock contractor is absolutely right. The immediate impact will hopefully be the shot in the arm Williams needs for a trip to Edmonton in October.

“Yeah, one hundred per cent. The Canadian Finals Rodeo—that’s the plan.”

One thing is for sure. Williams’ new best friend—the much-decorated gray called Virgil—will be at the CFR. Who knows, maybe they can renew acquaintances.

Brett Williams wasn’t the only newer name on the results board from Buffalo Lake. Second generation cowboy, Chase Tkach, captured the steer wrestling honours with a blistering 3.3 second run. The Coronation, AB hand (dad Doug Tkatch was a CPRA bareback rider) who is attending New Mexico Junior College on a rodeo scholarship took home a tidy $2944 with the win.