The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede committee got a surprise when they traveled to the Canadian Cowboys Association convention in Regina, last month: Stettler’s Stampede was voted for the Final 4 for CCA Rodeo of the Year.
“It was quite an honour. There are about 60 rodeos in that circuit and this was just our second year,” said committee chair Don Lynn.
“We were voted on by the cowboys themselves.”
Tana Nixon, a member of the rodeo committee said there were several important factors leading the competing cowboys to vote for the Stettler event.
“One of the most important factors is the amount of prize money offered,” Nixon said.
“In addition, we give them great stock to compete on, which is also very important.”
“We have well-produced and directed rodeo and cowboys are not used to that as they generally go to small town events,” said Nixon.
She added the friendly nature of people of Stettler and their volunteer spirit were greatly appreciated by the competitors.
The CCA is the largest semi-professional rodeo association in Canada. It sanctions rodeos across Alberta, Manitoba, Saskatchewan, Ontario and Montana.
The committee had the CCA approve the rodeo’s dates at the convention. The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede Rodeo will thus take place on August 12, 13 and 14 this year. The parade will be on Friday, August 12 at 3 p.m.
Yet, the committee believes there is further room to enhance Stettler’s annual equine event.
So, at its regular meeting on March 1 at the Stettler Regional Board of Trade building, the committee started discussing the option for a junior rodeo.
“We don’t know if we are going to have the time to do it or not,” said Lynn.
Instead of having a junior rodeo, the committee could also decide to use the time to have a promotional plug at intermission for the High School Rodeo and highlight some of the riders. However, the committee is aware that a junior rodeo would bring relatives and friends of the riders, which would mean more admission tickets sold.
“We’re thinking about maybe having the junior rodeo at 8:30 a.m.,” said Tana Nixon, committee member.
One thing is sure: the committee is looking forward to the 2011 rodeo.
“We want to make it the biggest and best yet,” said Lynn.
The committee also hopes that Mother Nature will be cooperating this year.