Julie Bertrand / Independent Reporter
The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede committee received good news at its meeting Aug. 3, just 10 days before the opening of this year’s event, which kicks off Friday.
The Canadian Cowboys Association (CCA) sent a report stating that the 2011 Steel Wheel Stampede has the most entries of all CCA rodeos so far this year.
“It is amazing. It’s really nice,” said Susan Strandquist, member of the Stampede committee.
“We are very excited, but we are not really surprised.”
The CCA is a semi-pro rodeo association that was founded in 1963 with 60 members. At that time, the association sanctioned 15 rodeos throughout the season.
Today, the CCA sanctions more than 50 rodeos within the provinces of Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Ontario.
The Stampede committee is quite happy about the event’s popularity.
“Our local entries are quite as big as they were last year,” said Strandquist.
“Our cowboys are from quite a few different associations. We have Pro Cowboys, Lakeland, FCA, CCA, CAA. We have a very good cross reference.”
The high number of entries this year means the purse will be bigger.
“There will be a $2,000 prize for each event, plus the entry fees,” said Strandquist.
“We are looking at $4,000 for barrel racing, because there are more than 100 girls entered. It is going to be well-worth the winning.”
The committee wishes for only one thing: sunny weather. Since 2009, cowboys have had to compete in the rain during the whole weekend.
“After what we have been through, we are just about ready for anything,” laughed Strandquist