Stampede season returns 0
While it may not feel like summer just yet, that doesn't mean the usual summer activities are out of reach and with Canada Day long weekend days away, make sure you get out and enjoy the festivities.
One of the most popular events is the Ponoka Stampede which runs from June 26 through to July 2 at the Ponoka stampede grounds.
Each year the stampede brings competitors from all around North America, some from as far as Texas. But if you don't feel like cheering on an out-of-town cowboy there are plenty of local guys and gals heading out to prove their worth in the competitions this weekend.
One of these local guys is Dustin Round.
A resident of Lacombe, Round grew up around horses and rodeos. His father had tried his hand at roping and eventually Round became interested. Soon he was competing at different rodeo events around North America. This year will be his first year competing in the Ponoka Stampede.
"I qualified last year," said Round. "I won enough money last year to enter and then this year they actually opened it up to all the semi-pro guys."
Money is an important part of rodeo sports. Contestants have to pay entrance fees when they want to compete and many compete in multiple events a year, which can add up.
Everything costs money, from the horses to the trucks to the fuel to get the trucks on the road, nothing is cheap, said Round.
But if you're winning enough competitions the payoff can be great. Winning, however, depends a lot on skill and chance, especially when it all comes down to about 15 seconds.
"I always just try and think about slowing it down," said Round. "If you can slow it down everything goes faster."
This will be the first competition this year for Round and his partner Ty Patten, from Buck Lake. Round is confident they can place high in the standings, especially after all the hard work they've put into training.
"Every single night we practice, I got three horses at home and I rope on them every night," said Round. "We run about 15 times or so on each horse every night."
That may seem like a lot of work, but the rewards make the whole experience worthwhile, said Round.
"When you win you feel like you're at the top of your game," said Round.
Last year Round won his first pro roping event at the Innisfail Stampede, something that was definitely the highlight of his career thus far, said Round.
While Round has done a bit of tie down roping, team roping is his favourite. When it comes to the team roping event, things are a little different than the other events, most of which are mainly single person competitions. In team roping a lot depends on if your partner can complete his part.
"(You) go out and try to do your end and hope for the best the other way," said Round.
At the end of the day though, it's really all about winning and gaining satisfaction for all your hard work, said Round, when you win you know you've done your best.
Ladies Barrel Racing
Cranna Roberts, Lacombe, 1p.m.
Ladies Barrel Racing
Janet Bjornson, Clive, 1p.m.
Justin Meston, Tees, 1p.m.
Steve Lloyd, Alix, 1p.m.
Tyrel Flewelling, Lacombe, 1p.m.