June 2018- Brittney Chomistek
After a dry spell on the prairies, the much needed rain was welcomed throughout Alberta. It did however result in some challenging rodeo conditions.
I started the month off at the 50th anniversary of the Leduc Black Gold Rodeo, where some past and present Canadian Champions secured the top spot. Steer Wrestler Tanner Milan had the fastest time with a 3.4 second run; Layton Green, the current Canadian Saddle Bronc Champ had an 84.5 ride aboard Big Stone Rodeo’s Gone Fishing; and Logan Bird, the current Canadian Tie Down Roping Champion stopped the clock at 4.7 in the Team Roping, with his partner Stacy Cornet. In addition to the traditional rodeo, I had the privilege of helping out at the Rodeo of Smiles, which consists of adapted rodeo events for children with special needs. A special thanks to Dennis Halstead, rodeo clown, for always making the children smile.
After two days in Leduc, I was on the road again to the Grand Prairie Stompede and Chuckwagon Races. While I was at the rodeo, I was able to meet up with Dominic Valine, of Dominic’s Spur and Silver. Not only is Dominic a very talented silversmith and artist, but he is a strong supporter of the Miss Rodeo Canada Program and the donor of my beautiful trophy spurs. I spent two days attending rodeo performances, wagon races, pancake breakfasts, cowboy church service and visiting their rodeo donors.
Plow winds, heavy rain, and periods of intense sunshine – the Brooks Kinsmen Rodeo experienced it all, but that didn’t slow down any of the cowboys. In fact, steer wrestler Matt Mailer, secured first place with a 4.4 second run in the mud and the rain! In an effort to encourage young rodeo competitors, the Kinsmen hosted a Little Britches Rodeo. The crowd cheered on as little ones competed in barrel racing, greased pig competition, calf scramble, pheasant catch and mutton busting to name a few. The afternoon was great medicine for anyone who needed a laugh.
Half way through the month I returned home for the Father’s Day weekend to participate in the World Professional Chuckwagon Races at Medicine Hat. Hundreds of school children toured the stampede grounds to learn about the world of chuckwagon racing, get autograph sheets from rodeo royalty and even meet a few of the drivers who were competing over the weekend. Congratulations to Cody Ridsdale who won the buckle at the Medicine Hat Chuckwagon Races before heading on to High River with his horses.
It was great to see my family for a few days before I drove up to Edmonton for the 40 Anniversary Celebration of the Steadward Centre. This formal gala event honoured an amazing man, Dr. Robert Steadward, who was the founding President of the International Paralympic Committee and an honourary life member of the Canadian Olympic Committee. Legendary Rick Hansen known as the Man in Motion, and country music singer and song writer Brett Kissel, were also in attendance to honour Dr. Steadward.
The next morning, I was back on the road and headed to High River for the Guy Weadick Days Rodeo. Gillian Grant, Trish Seitz and the C5 Rodeo team did an amazing job organizing this Old-Time themed rodeo. Despite the down pour of rain, rodeo fans enjoyed watching cowboys matched up with spectacular rodeo stock in the muddiest of arena conditions. But, the show must go on and fans were treated to a rodeo, the WPCA Chuckwagon races, a ranch horse race, trick roping and mounted shooters. I was very excited when Brinson James, the rodeo clown, asked me to play Flores Ladue in his trick roping act. Flores was not only married to Guy Weadick, founder of the Calgary Stampede, but was also the Champion Lady Fancy Roper of the World.
My final stop for the month of June is the World Famous Ponoka Stampede. Cowboys from all over North America enter this rodeo to compete for $800,000 in prize money, during seven days of rodeo action, and featuring the long alley in the timed events which is always a crowd pleaser. Ponoka is one of the high profile rodeos that make up the CPRA Finning Canada Pro Tour. Rodeo fans have prime seating for daily slack and rodeos performances, followed by evening chuckwagon races and concerts.
My Last day in June was spent at the Ponoka Stampede Rodeo Challenge for children with physical or mental challenges. Rodeo Royalty and Contestants partnered up with children to compete in modified rodeo events such as horseback riding, hand-rocked bronc and bull riding, and hand-pulled chuckwagon races. The rodeo contestants had so much fun with their partners, but the real winners of today were all the children who went home with many memories, big smiles, and new friends who are their heroes in the rodeo world.
Good luck to all the rodeo athletes as Canada kicks off Cowboy Christmas, the biggest rodeo payout week of the year
Miss Rodeo Canada 2018