ranch rodeo cowboysby Heather Mitchell-Matheson

The week of November 6 - 15, 2009, the Horse Industry Association of Alberta made its home in Edmonton, Alberta for Farmfair International. Over the course of the 10-day event there was much to see, do and learn. This being my first time to Farmfair International I felt compelled to write about it.

Farmfair International entertains, educates and engages visitors with our beefed-up cattle shows and events, world class equine sales, competitions, and clinics, as well as a variety of small and specialty livestock programs. After 37 years, Farmfair International continues to be a top business destination for the global livestock industry. Each year, over 100,000 guests come together to see, show and sell top quality livestock in Edmonton, Alberta. Since, its inception in 1974, Farmfair International has grown as a world-class showcase with over 1000 head of cattle, 800 horses, alpacas, goats and stock dogs, along with exciting entertainment programs. In addition to the premier cattle genetics, and wagonload of western excitement including, draft horse pulls, stock dog trials, and team penning competitions comes the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the professional rodeo championships of Canada. Farmfair International welcomes international guests and local ranchers to come together to experience country life first hand and enjoy some great western hospitality!
(Excerpt taken from the Farmfair International website home page, http://www.farmfairinternational.com)

The very first experience was with our Getting Started with Horses Seminar that was held the morning of Saturday November 7. It started first thing in the morning with coffee & muffins and then got right down to business at 9 am. Topics covered were: Myths, Mysteries & Miseries, Choosing Your Path, Basic Care & Nutrition, Understanding Equipment, Stable Selection, Keeping Horses at Home, Buying the Right Horse and included a question and answer period afterwards.

The very first experience was with our Getting Started with Horses Seminar that was held the morning of Saturday November 7. It started first thing in the morning with coffee & muffins and then got right down to business at 9 am. Topics covered were: Myths, Mysteries & Miseries, Choosing Your Path, Basic Care & Nutrition, Understanding Equipment, Stable Selection, Keeping Horses at Home, Buying the Right Horse and included a question and answer period afterwards.

Special thanks to everyone who attended, our speakers, Ron Anderson, Muffy Knox and Doug Milligan and to Teresa van Bryce, Manager, Horse Industry Association, for setting it all up. Northlands also did a great job of advertising and promoting the event; which resulted in a good turnout. When it comes to horses and education there is always room to grow.

In the Draft horse pull there were three weight classes and here were the exciting results.

In the light weights first place went to Dennis Weinberger with his team Rex and Barney (team weight 3097lbs) pulling a total of 8212 pounds. In the middle weights Dennis Weinberger was again first with his team Dillon and Dallas (team weight 3415lbs) pulling a total of 8585 pounds. In the heavy weights class first place was awarded to Stan Grad and his team Jim and Ben (team weight 4969lbs) pulling a total of 7531 pounds.

Congratulations to the winning horses and their owners in this always exhilarating event!

Farmfair also brings in the top Heritage Ranches in Western Canada to compete in the annual Heritage Ranch Rodeo. Ranches contend for top honours in the following events: saddle bronc riding, team doctoring, team sorting, working ranch horse competition, wild cow milking, team branding and a wild horse race.

 

Photo courtesy of http://farmfairinternational.com/events/heritage-ranch-rodeo


These events test the cowboys' skills in aspects of every day ranch life, providing plenty of challenges for the teams and excitement for the crowd. First place this year went to Bar U Ranch out of Longview, Alberta with a total of 55 points overall. Congratulations!

For the Good Year Canadian Snaffle Bit Futurity, Brad Pedersen took top honours with Have A Drink On Me in the open division. Rose Debogorski won first and second on Smart Marina & Miss Flicka Freckles in Intermediate Open Snaffle Bit Futurity. Dale Clearwater was second in Open & Intermediate Open. Bart and Teri Holowath were first and second respectively in Non-Pro & Intermediate Non-Pro. Congratulations to you all.

I was also able to attend Canada’s Greatest Horseman competition. The 2009 winner of this event was Cayley Wilson from BC with 575.5 points. Congratulations Cayley on a job well done. 

Now this was my first time at this event and I have mixed reviews. The event involved a steer stop and roping, as well as reined patterns and fence work. The dynamics were in place for a great show but I was left wondering if there could be more than just cow and pattern skill. I think this competition is great for displaying the talents of horse and rider teams but I think there could be more to it. Perhaps a trail element that would have contestants walk over a tarp or through a water obstacle, open a gate under adversity, load a horse into an unknown trailer, side pass a set of trot rails, or walk, trot or jump over a bridge.

The last event, and the highlight of my trip, was the Canadian Finals Rodeo. The events were well organized, the entertainment was top notch and the competition itself was thrilling as always. I did think the crowd could have been larger; but perhaps a sign of an economy still in recovery mode. For the first time attending this event I found that people were friendly, happy to be watching rodeo and of course well dressed for the event!

For the complete list of Rodeo scores and times go to http://www.rodeocanada.comGo to Home Page

 

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