About $130,000 of prize money was dished out as Cowboy Christmas rolled through Airdrie last week.
More than 600 contestants competed between June 29 and July 3 at the 43rd annual Airdrie Pro Rodeo, the 13th largest overall in the country, and by all accounts it was another successful year.
“Overall, the rodeo was excellent,” said Rob Brietzke, president of the Airdrie Rodeo Ranch Association. “I think we might be up slightly in attendance and we’re going to look through those numbers in the next couple of days. The competition was excellent and we had lots of good feedback from the contestants.”
Tuf Cooper of Decatur, Texas, won the tie down roping with a time of seven seconds flat, while Baillie Milan of Cochrane rode an 8.5 and Airdrie’s Duane Gervais had a 10.3 to finish just outside of the top 10.
Russ Hallaby had the best local score in the bareback, riding Beaver to a 77.5. Canyon, Texas’ William Lowe won the event with an 83.5 aboard Indian Princess.
Tyrel Miller of Wainwright and Steven Gilbert of Viking tied for the best time in steer wrestling with a 3.8, while Steven Turner of Cochrane earned 10th with a 4.3. Gervais had a 4.7 and Cochrane’s Tanner Milan finished with a 15.9.
Iowa’s Wade Sundell, who rode Classic Angel to a score of 85.5, won the saddle bronc. Billy Richards of Crossfield earned a 76 aboard Dark Town. Jeff Robson of Airdrie, with teammate Travis Booth of Calgary, was the best local in the team roping with a time of 10.7. Miles Kobold of Big Horn, Wyo., and Charles Lenning of Billings, Mon., won the event with a time of 4.7 seconds.
The ladies barrel racing was won by Okotoks’ Lauren Chad in a time of 14.36, while Cochrane’s Carlee Jo Edge and Brooke Ramsey finished sixth and eighth respectively with times of 15.20 and 15.23. Airdrie’s Geraldine Metcalfe also clocked a 17.85.
Tanner Girletz from Cereal and Ty Patten from Strathmore tied atop the bull riding with matching scores of 86. In the boys’ steer riding, Bailey Hlus of Innisfree won with a score of 75, while Airdrie’s Kyler Hooper finished fourth with a 62.
Deloraine, Man., native Colin Adams claimed the novice bareback with a 69 and Wyatt Thurston of Big Valley won the novice saddle bronc with a score of 65.
“There were some really good bull rides, some great horse rides and some great times,” Brietzke said. “And we have such a great group of local contestants here. It’s neat to have that close relationship with the contestants and follow how they’re doing throughout the year.”
This year marked the first time the entertainment was moved to a tent outside, separate from the beer gardens, and Brietzke said it proved to be a good decision.
“Although it was on a bit of an angle and people were dancing on the grass, the feedback was positive,” he said.
He also discussed some changes for next year including the potential building of a retaining wall to level the surface and a larger tent for the entertainment.
“That would really help us in the future,” Brietzke said. “Even though it’s temporary because the Ag Society’s initiative to build a new rodeo grounds, we still have to be progressive here and continue to grow. We’re always looking for improvement.”
Full results of all the contestants is available at www.airdrieprorodeo.com