Active in rodeos in Stettler for almost 70 years, the Vic and Joyce Stuckey family will ride high as the honorary parade marshals this Friday for the fourth annual Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede.
“We are quite honoured,” said Vic Stuckey, 79, who celebrated his 58th anniversary with his wife Joyce on Aug. 11.
The Stuckeys have strong ties to rodeo history, dating back to 1931, and Vic has personally been involved since 1948.
They have participated in the Calgary Stampede 75 times from 1931 to 2011, and generations of the Stuckey family continue to carry on the family tradition, participating in saddle-bronc riding and calf roping and barrel racing.
While his father Vic Stuckey Sr. was part of a team that revived a Stettler rodeo in the late 1940s, daughter Val Johannson rode steers and barrel-raced for many years, son Gene became an amateur champion calf roper, and sons Jay and Shawn rode steers and some junior bulls. Grandson Lane has become the fourth-generation Stuckey to compete in saddle bronc.
“We hope there will be more come along in the future to keep the Stuckey name alive in the great sport of rodeo,” said Vic Stuckey Jr.
“It’s been a good life.”
Just like the current stampede was started four years ago after an absence of many years, his father Vic Stuckey Sr. was instrumental as the Stettler rodeo was resurrected in the late 1940s.
“Stettler had a good rodeo grounds with a race track, grandstand, and bucking chutes, but they had not been used for a few years,” Stuckey Jr. said.
“So a few of the businessmen in town and some local farmers decided it was time to put on a rodeo again.
“My dad was elected to be the president of this group and they put on a rodeo in 1948 and continued until his death in 1953.”
During that time, the senior Stuckey was president of the Central Alberta Stampede Association and vice-president of the Canadian Stampede Managers’ Association.
Richard Strandquist and Jim Davidson were other names he mentioned as part of the organizing committee.
Back in those days, the Stettler rodeo was one of the two major stampedes in central Alberta.
“Ponoka and Stettler were just about the same, with huge crowds and number of competitors,” Stuckey said.
And the local stampede was a major event of the year for all ages from miles away.
“It was a big deal for us as kids, because we had to pull all the weeds in the garden before we could go to the rodeo,” said his wife Joyce, who grew up the in Red Willow area.
Stampedes and rodeos serve a key role in the life of rural communities.
“It carries on the tradition of old ranching life and we don’t want to see it disappear,” said Stuckey Jr., who’s optimistic about the future of rodeo.
“It amazes me to see the young cowboys coming up.”
Writing cowboy poetry for 12 years, he also published a book, Cowboy Memories, a few years ago.
The Stuckeys are also one of the leading couples that established the Stettler Cowboy Church that continues with services the first and third Tuesday of each month at the Agriplex at 7 p.m., and attract about 90 people each time.