After too long, the grandstand at the agricultural grounds was full fans cheering on the competitors in Stettler’s Steel Wheel Stampede during the first night of rodeo action on June 10.
Reduced to a one day rough stock rodeo in 2021, the 2022 edition of Steel Wheel brought back the full Canadian Cowboy Association sanctioned event with stock provided by Northcott Rodeo Inc.
The fans were not disappointed, with rodeo action starting at 6:30 p.m. with the bareback riding event. Blade Young and Ben Juhasz acted as pick up men for the riders.
Action then moved to the timed end of the new arena with tie-down roping and ladies breakaway roping. Unfortunately for the local cowboys, Curtis Cassidy of Donalda and Murray Pole of Erskine, the stock during the evening’s rodeo performance were uncooperative. Cassidy earned a time of 14.2 seconds while Pole earned no score.
Before moving to the steer wrestling, the Castor-based Daring Divas trick riders performed.
In the steer wrestling, Cassidy continued to have no luck, or score. The winner of the event ended up being Tate Beirbach of Maple Creek, Sask, with a time of 7.5 seconds. Morgan Grant of Didsbury, Alta, coming in second with a time of 9.7 seconds.
After the intermission, the ladies barrel racing kicked off with Rebecca Beebe of Big River, Sask, earning the top time of 18.02 seconds.
Once the barrel racers finished, it was time to move back into the rough stock for the Jerry Sinclair Memorial Saddle Bronc.The high score of the night was earned by Aussie Ben Wickham on the bronc Holy Grail with an 88 point ride. In between halves of the saddle bronc event, the Ladies of the Heartland performed.
The team roping was next up, with the team of Colt Kornfeld of Val Marie, Sask, and Kade Christianson of Nanton, Alta, winning with a blistering time of 5.5 seconds.
Finally it was time for the main event: bull riding!
As with the previous events, the stock continued to be uncooperative with only one rider, Orrin Marshall of Cornach, Sask, earning points, and prize money, on both his rides with scores of 79 and 78 respectively.
Day two is shaping up to be busy in Stettler as well, with a free breakfast served at the agriplex from 8-10 a.m. followed by the stampede parade at 11 a.m. Immediately after the parade, the north end of Main Street is turning into a raceway with a Heartland Youth Centre supported soap-box derby. A show and shine put on by the Stettler Magnetos Car Club will also be running 11:00 a.m. until 2 p.m. Finally, the Stettler Antique Tractor Club will be holding a demonstration at 1 p.m. at the agricultural grounds.