Top rodeo riders from the local area and from across Canada will be in town this weekend for the fourth annual Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede.
“We will have local riders in every event in every performance,” said rodeo director Jerry Sinclair.
Performances are set for Friday and Saturday at 6 p.m. at the rodeo grounds, with the final show Sunday at 1:30 p.m., co-sanctioned by Canadian Cowboys’ Association and Chinook Rodeo Association.
“The Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede is a young event — 2012 is its fourth year — but it has fast become a favourite for competitors due to the calibre of competition,” CCA general manager Mark Bencze said in a news release.
He said a host of past champs, along with the current regular season’s points and prize-money leaders, are set to compete in Stettler, which should make for an exciting and competitive event.
“Our membership represents the very best and most talented semi-professional competitors in rodeo today,” Bencze said. “Expect to see top-notch and very competitive performances in every event.”
While it does offers some of the richest prize purses in western Canada, winning much-needed points to quality for the national finals is often the prize every competitors are after at this point in the season.
Top points-winning competitors earn a berth to the CCA Rodeo Finals, the marquee attraction at the annual Canadian Western Agribition in Regina, set for Nov. 20 to 24.
This year’s Stettler stampede will feature 232 entries, Sinclair said.
“We are in excellent shape, with a high calibre of riders, and we’ve got a very good roster of cowboys.
“This is a semi-pro rodeo, but the CCA allows professional cowboys to enter, which is good, because it gives younger guys the opportunity to compete against their rodeo heroes.”
Riders will battle in a variety of events, such as tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, bareback and saddle bronc, bullriding, novice bareback and saddle bronc and women’s barrel racing.
“Friday night, in steer wrestling, the first six guys are Canadian finalists or champions,” Sinclair said.
Those will include local riders Cody and Curtis Cassidy of Donalda, Jeremy Harden of Big Valley and Matt Mailer of Botha.
Austin Vanderlee of Stettler will be one to watch in saddle bronc on Friday night, Sinclair said.
“He’s due for a win,” said Sinclair, who also noted Harden and Wyatt Thurston of Big Valley.
Mailer and Curtis Cassidy are among the top contenders the rodeo organizer listed.
Sunday afternoon features Steve Thiessen in calf roping and Melissa Thiessen in barrel racing.
Other local riders in action include:
Saddle bronc — Layton Green.
Bareback — Huston Stewart, Colter Harden.
Bull-riding — Chad Davidson.
Tie-down roping — Curtis Cassidy, Bailey Milan, Matt Mailer, Mark Neitz, Quinton Van Straten, Tanner Spady, Shane Hogan, Brandon Van Straten, Monty Gertnol, Curtis Butterfield, Dale Butterwick, Todd Gallais, J.T. Robinson, Brady Davis, Riley Warren, Dale Skocdopole, Connor McComish.
Steer wrestling — Travis Milan, Todd Maughan, Cody Cassidy, Matt Clary, Jorge Butterwick.
Barrel racing — Deanna Millard, Jessie Chary, Tanna Millard, Lisa Nault, Brooke Cooper, J.C. Davidson, Laura Ramsey, Diane Skocdopole, Christine Ross, Shannon Leguerrier, Tracey McDonald, Brandi Love, Halley Spady.
Team roping — Browod Taylor, Travis Gallias, Jenner Meston, Tyrell Gordon, Tel Flewelling, Rock Carson, Darcy Roin, Clayton Smith, Logan Spady, Travis Spady, Jim Cooper, Matt Fawcett, Rocky Ross.