TEES — It’s a family affair in Tees.
The Meston clan remains front and centre in running the popular Tees Rodeo, the latest version of which was held last weekend.
“Tees Rodeo goes back 37 years,” said organizer Cody Meston, a stock contractor who farms between Alix and Tees.
“Going back to when they first started building the grounds, our family has been involved right from the start.
“It’s been said that it’s the biggest little amateur rodeo in Canada. It’s been a really good event for a lot of the guys that are riding pro and have won Canadian championships. They started here and got going, so that’s always good to see … when the kids progress.”
While the Mestons travel far and wide as established contractors, the Tees event is an annual homecoming of sorts for the family — and the community.
“This is your hometown rodeo,” Meston said. “It’s very good for the community, with the amount of volunteer work and stuff people have done. It was all farmers and volunteers from around the community that built the beer gardens barn and the bathrooms. Every year, we try to improve on stuff. It’s teaching good values to the kids when they come down and see we’re working, and they get involved with volunteering.”
Family and children are recurring themes for the Tees Rodeo, which includes events for the tiniest cowboys and cowgirls in hopes of spurring a long-term interest in the various rodeo disciplines.
Along with the standard events, the expanded evening program includes wild pony rides and the pony express race, a throwback exhibiting the blazing speed of horses and showcasing the method of mail delivery in an earlier era.
Meston’s son, Cassidy, celebrated his 18th birthday in style as he won the pony express race in a flashy finish Sunday evening.
It was apparent that his team of horses didn’t read the 30-kilometre speed-limit sign at the entrance to the rodeo grounds, which were packed with trailers during the August long weekend.
“It’s kind of a generational thing,” Cody Meston said of his son’s participation in the pony express race. “My dad ran in it quite a bit and I used to run in it quite a bit, and now my son ran in it, so that’s kind of special.”
Cassidy Meston added his first buckle to the family collection. His grandparents — Cody’s parents Cal and Susan — remain part of the Tees Rodeo production.
“Everybody is very involved,” Cody said. “My grandparents used to be involved, too, when it first started.
“And then, my brother is still riding pro saddle bronc. I rode broncs and bulls for quite a few years before I got into contracting, too, with my dad. My brother (Justin) generally picks up for us, too, but he was riding on the pro circuit this weekend, so we called in a buddy and he ended up getting squashed and mashed.”
Meston was referring to a Sunday night accident during the bull-riding event, when pickup man Ron Boston, 31, of Alix injured his left leg after a bull knocked his horse in a chute and the horse landed on Boston.
“The odd person gets bumped around, but that’s the sport,” Meston said. “It’s a rough sport, comparable to football and hockey — bones get broke and stuff, but once you get involved in it, it’s hard to quit. It’s quite an enjoyable thing.”
Boston was still at the rodeo grounds a couple of hours after the crash.
“He wouldn’t even go to the doctor,” Meston said, gesturing toward Boston. “He wouldn’t miss a minute of it.”
Medics on site tended to Boston, along with bullfighter Lane Stuckey, who was shaken up when the chute door was being swung shut to block the bull from re-entering the section where Boston was in distress.
After a few anxious moments, the hushed crowd cheered when the horse was pulled out of the chute and again when Boston returned to his feet, with the help of fellow cowboys.
In cowboy fashion, Boston downplayed the wreck.
“The bull came in and it was my fault,” he said. “I got pinned in the corner — the horse landed right on me.
“Other than that, it’s no big deal. The horse is good, thank God, and I’m good. I buggered up my (left) leg a little bit, kind of fractured it.”
Boston said he wasn’t knocked out and he appreciated the applause from his hometown crowd.
“But I was kind of worried about the horse’s safety and wanted to get the rodeo (back) going. That’s what I was more worried about.”
STETTLER SHOW: A couple of local up-and-comers, Quinton Van Straten of Stettler and Hope Skocdopole of Big Valley, finished second and third, respectively, in the breakaway roping at Tees.
The next big event on the local rodeo circuit is the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede, which runs Aug. 17-19.