Rodeo fans rejoice — the Cranbrook Professional Rodeo romps into the Wycliffe Exhibition grounds this weekend, bringing with it all the rough-stock action you can handle.
The 29th Annual Cranbrook Professional Rodeo gets underway Friday, Aug. 15, with evening rodeo events beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Saturday festivities begin at 6:30 p.m. with a rodeo dance to follow.
Saturday’s event also functions as “Support STARS Day,” with a portion of proceeds going to support STARS Air Ambulance.
The annual Canadian Professional Rodeo Association sanctioned event will feature a handful of well-decorated cowboys from across Canada, the United States and elsewhere around the globe.
Zeke Thurston of Big Valley, Alta., won the 2015 Calgary Stampede saddle bronc championship on July 12, collecting a $100,000 prize along with the coveted buckle.
Thurston is set to ride Friday at Wycliffe.
In the bull-riding arena, Dakota Buttar will look to build upon his impressive rodeo resume.
The 22-year-old native of Kindersley, Sask., claimed the 2014 Canadian Finals Rodeo bull-riding title and will ride Saturday evening at Wycliffe.
Buttar didn’t have much luck at the 2014 edition of the Cranbrook Professional Rodeo, but Chad Besplug did.
The native of Claresholm, Alta., took home the 2014 championship and will once again return to defend his title.
In tie-down roping, Curtis Cassidy will grace the Wycliffe Exhibition Grounds with his presence this weekend.
The native of Donalda, Alta., is fresh off a second-place finish at the 2015 Calgary Stampede. He is scheduled to rope Friday evening.
On the heels of Cassidy was Clint Robinson of Spanish Fork, Utah, who finished third at the 2015 Calgary Stampede. He is set to ride Sunday afternoon at Wycliffe.
Cassidy and Robinson aren’t the only tie-down ropers to find success at the Calgary Stampede before bringing their ropes and saddles to Cranbrook.
Morgan Grant, a native of Granton, Ont., claimed the $100,000 prize at the 2014 Calgary Stampede and will ride Saturday night at Wycliffe.
In steer wrestling, 2014 Cranbrook Professional Rodeo co-champs Baillie Milan (Cochrane, Alta.) and Tyson Willick (Blaine Lake, Sask.) return to defend their title.
Willick will get first crack at the title defence as he is set to ride Friday night. Milan will follow-up on Saturday afternoon.
In bareback riding, 2014 Cranbrook Professional Rodeo champion Colin Adams will mosey into the Wycliffe Exhibition Grounds intent on snatching a second consecutive title.
The native of Deloriane, Man. will ride Sunday afternoon.
Jake Brown, 2014 Cranbrook Professional Rodeo saddle bronc champion, also makes his way back to Wycliffe for the 29th running of the local dust up.
The Ponoka, Alta., native is set to ride Sunday afternoon.
In ladies’ barrel racing, Tara Muldoon of Hinton, Alta. registered the quickest time (17.96 seconds) in the long go at the 2015 Calgary Stampede before finishing fourth overall.
Muldoon will take her turn around the barrels on Sunday at Wycliffe.
Julie Leggett of Kamloops, B.C., will look to defend her 2014 Cranbrook Professional Rodeo ladies’ barrel racing title. She is due in the arena Saturday evening.
In addition to a strong contingent of Canadian cowboys and cowgirls, the Cranbrook Professional Rodeo will welcome the likes of competitors from New York and Texas as well as riders from as far as Australia and New Zealand.
Rodeo stock at the 29th Annual Cranbrook Professional Rodeo will be provided by Vold Rodeo Ltd., while steer-wrestling and tie-down-roping cattle will come courtesy Lazy B Timed Event.
If you’re looking for a little more than just good, old-fashioned rough-stock rodeo, you can look forward to entertainment from trick rider Shelby Cummings and rodeo clown Dennis Halstead.
Tickets for the 29th Annual Cranbrook Professional Rodeo are available for purchase at Alpine Toyota, Top Crop Farm and Hill Billy Hardwear.
Adult tickets cost $20 in advance or $24 at the gate. Senior and youth tickets cost $18 in advance or $20 at the gate, while children aged 10 and under are free.
Rodeo dance tickets are available at the door for $10 or only $5 with a Saturday rodeo ticket.
Cranbrook Professional Rodeo committee chair Dallas Mackie was unavailable for comment prior to press time.