Stuckey family to lead parade for Stettler’s annual stampede

Stettler plans to get “Back in the Saddle” for the fourth annual Steel Wheel Stampede, slated for Aug. 17 to 19.

Stettler plans to get “Back in the Saddle” for the fourth annual Steel Wheel Stampede, slated for Aug. 17 to 19.

“Although we are a semi-pro rodeo, we feel we offer a professional production,” said Tana Nixon, the acting co-chair of the Stettler and District Agricultural Society rodeo committee.

Performances are set for Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m., with the final show Sunday at 1:30 p.m.

Events area co-sanctioned by Canadian Cowboys’ Association and Chinook Rodeo Association, as riders come from throughout Alberta and Saskatchewan to compete in Stettler.

“We will again have the top cowboys in the CCA and CRA, along with local professional cowboys,” Nixon said.

For the second straight year, rodeo families with deep roots in the Stettler area will be celebrated in the Friday parade, which begins at 4 p.m.

Vic Stuckey and his family have been selected as the honorary parade marshals.

“The Stuckeys have strong ties to rodeo history, dating back to 1931, and Vic has personally been involved since 1948,” said Stacey Benjamin, manager of Stettler Regional Board of Trade and Community Development.

The Stuckeys 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.

Other longtime local families will also be honoured this year.

“Families with strong ties to Stettler will be celebrated, along with their accomplishments and accolades they have brought to the community,” Benjamin said.

“We encourage families with a rodeo heritage and those who have been celebrating centennials in Stettler to join us in the celebration.”

Last year’s Friday parade attracted the most entries and the largest crowd, after two years of a Saturday parade, Nixon said.

Local rodeo fans will have something new to cheer about.

“This year, we are excited that we will have novice bareback and saddle bronc,” Nixon said.

“Those young guys get a chance to come out and show their stuff, and it will be a stepping-stone for them to compete in the open event.”

Riders will battle in a variety of events, such as tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, bareback and saddle bronc, bull riding, novice bareback and saddle bronc, and women’s barrel racing.

Organizers hope to have at least 10 competitors in each category.

“Rodeo is definitely for all ages and family-oriented for spectators and contestants,” said Nixon, who grew up in a rodeo family.

“That’s one of the greatest feelings about rodeo — the family.”

Rodeo clown Tyson Wagner is expected to add humour, said Nixon, noting the event last year didn’t have a clown.

Two nights of entertainment are also on tap after each evening rodeo, with Tim Hus in concert Friday and local Domino on Saturday.

Cowboy church returns Sunday at 11 a.m.

Lots of food and fellowship are also on the menu, with beef on a bun Friday from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., a tailgate party at 4 p.m., and two pancake breakfasts — downtown Saturday from 8 to 10 a.m., and Sunday at the Agriplex from 9 to 11 a.m.

As the stampede evolves, organizers also plan a midway in the next few years.

“We are working on it,” Nixon said.

Organizers continue to try to recruit volunteers and more financial sponsors.