Stettler resident Armando Rodriguez on his way to win the bull-riding buckle at the Canadian Cowboys Association Finals Rodeo.

Stettler resident Armando Rodriguez on his way to win the bull-riding buckle at the Canadian Cowboys Association Finals Rodeo.

Stettler’s Rodriguez wins bull-riding buckle at CCAFR

Stettler-based Armando Rodriguez won the bull-riding buckle at the Canadian Cowboys Association Finals Rodeo (CCAFR) on Saturday, Nov. 27.

Stettler-based Armando Rodriguez won the bull-riding buckle at the Canadian Cowboys Association Finals Rodeo (CCAFR) on Saturday, Nov. 27 in Regina, Saskatchewan.

Rodriguez, a native of Mexico, who moved to Canada five years ago to attend the rodeo program at Olds College on exchange was “quite pleased” with his win.

“It feels good to win the buckle because it was my first year in CCA and it was one of my goals to win the finals,” said Rodriguez.

Rodriguez has ridden bulls for the college, and fell in love with the place to make Alberta his home.

Now, a resident of Stettler, Rodriguez has won the season leader and finals a couple of times, becoming quite popular at the local bull-riding circuit.

“This year I went to five finals and won the FCA, WRA and CCA finals,” said Rodriguez.

Surrounded by bull riders from Alberta, Manitoba and Saskatchewan, Rodriguez was the only Mexican in the CCAFR.

“I am attracted to bull riding for the adrenalin and competition,” added Rodriguez. “I enjoy meeting new people on the road.”

With Lane Frost as his inspiration since he was young, Rodriguez has been quite dedicated to what he loves.

“My family has always been there to support me and my goals in bull riding, especially my mom who is always waiting by the phone to hear how I did and if I got to the next rodeo safe,” said Rodriguez. “My family didn’t have a lot of involvement in rodeo until I started riding bulls.”

Having moved to Stettler in 2013, Rodriguez who works with Rocky Ross appreciates the time he gets off pursuing his passion for bull riding, and says his advice for someone young who would like to follow in his footsteps would be to

“work hard and be dedicated”.

“Make sure you prepare yourself,” said Rodriguez said. “Riding bulls should be fun and you should enjoy what you do.”

Jeremy Harden of Coronation takes the All-Around

Coronation’s Jeremy Harden won the All-Around at the CCAFR on Saturday, Nov. 27 in Regina.

“It’s pretty special, I started out the year knowing that I was going to retire in the saddle bronc riding and wanted to do it at my home town rodeo where I grew up in Wood Mountain, Saskatchewan,” said Harden. “My goal from the beginning was to win the steer wrestling but to qualify for the all around and win it too is awesome!”

Harden started steer wrestling in high school rodeo but never got on broncs until he was 22.

“The thing I love about rodeo is the camaraderie with the guys you compete with, where everyone is friends and they would all step up to help you out,” said Harden. “I got started in rodeo with our neighbours the Reschs, who put me on my first horse to rope on and from there it grew into a passion.”

Being a first generation cowboy, the Harden family was always involved in cattle and horses, but it was Harden who led everyone towards the rodeo arena.

“They have been a great support team for me and I can’t thank them enough for all they have done to help me,” said Harden.

Harden’s best score in the saddle bronc was 94 at Dawson Creek in BC in 2003 on Keslers horse Cool Alley.

“That stands as the second highest mark in the world of rodeo ever recorded,” added Harden. “My quickest time in the steer wrestling was 3.1 at Lacombe in 2003.”