In 2013, Winston Bruce, right, returned to his old stomping grounds as the honourary parade marshal of the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede. FILE PHOTO

Winston Bruce, a Stettler Rodeo legend passes

Earlier this month, Winston Bruce passed away at the age of 79.

  • Jul. 25, 2017 4:35 a.m.

The rodeo world has been mourning one of its legends. Stettler-born Winston Bruce passed away on Monday, July 10. He was 79.

Four years ago, Bruce was named honourary parade marshal of the Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede parade.

I had the pleasure of interviewing the congenial cowboy prior to his visit to Stettler.

Bruce said he was honoured to be the parade marshal as he had always considered the Stettler area to be home.

Bruce grew up on a farm in the Gadsby-Donalda area, not far from the Battle River, where his grandparents had homesteaded in the early 1900s. He attended a one-room school named Willow Park.

The decorated cowboy won the 1961 World PRCA Championship and qualified for the National Finals Rodeo for 10 consecutive years, 1959-1968.

Bruce was inducted into the Pro-Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1989, becoming the first Canadian to receive that honour.

He was also inducted into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995 and the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in 1998.

The Stettler-native’s name was also synonymous with the Calgary Stampede. After retiring as a champion bronc rider, he had a 33-year career with the Calgary Stampede as arena director, rodeo manager and manager of the rodeo stock breeding program. During his stint as arena director he was always seen riding his Appaloosa horse.

Bruce’s roots run deep in the Stettler area. His father, Laurence Bruce, was a local stock contractor and bronc rider instrumental in organizing some of the early Stettler rodeos.

Following in his father’s footsteps Bruce said he entered his first rodeo at Stettler and in his words, “cut his eye-teeth on rodeo in Stettler.” He recalled riding many broncs in the Stettler arena.

Bruce related he got nostalgic whenever he visited Stettler.

“I get a warm feeling every time I drive past the Stettler grandstand — it’s the same one that was there when I competed,” he said.

During the interview Bruce said he still had family in the Stettler area, his cousins the Cassidys.

He also reflected on his long and productive career in the rodeo business, that he “didn’t count life in years” but rather “counted moments of life.”

Just Posted

Theresetta School News – March 22nd

Theresetta students and staff are loving the change in weather, which brings a rejuvenating feeling

NDP Leader Rachel Notley stops in Red Deer on campaign trail

Notley promises hospital expansion, cath lab, pipelines and energy industry expansion

Town of Castor celebrates CAO Sandi Jackson’s retirement

Retirement party was held at the Castor Legion on Mar. 15

County of Paintearth to help STARS keep flying in 2019 with a per capita increase

Paintearth County voted to raise the county’s per capita funding of the service from $3 to $5

VIDEO: Restaurant robots are already in Canada

Robo Sushi in Toronto has waist-high robots that guide patrons to empty seats

1,300 cruise ship passengers rescued by helicopter amid storm off Norway’s coast

Rescue teams with helicopters and boats were sent to evacuate the cruise ship under extremely difficult circumstances

B.C. university to offer first graduate program on mindfulness in Canada

University of the Fraser Valley says the mostly-online program focuses on self-care and well being

Sentencing judge in Broncos crash calls for carnage on highways to end

Judge Inez Cardinal sentenced Jaskirat Singh Sidhu to eight years

‘Families torn apart:’ Truck driver in fatal Broncos crash gets 8-year sentence

Judge Inez Cardinal told court in Melfort, Sask., that Sidhu’s remorse and guilty plea were mitigating factors

WestJet sticking with Boeing 737 Max once planes certified to fly

WestJet had expected to add two more of the planes this year to increase its fleet to 13

Fierce house cat spotted as ‘aggressor’ in face off with coyote in B.C. backyard

North Vancouver resident Norm Lee captures orange cat versus coyote in backyard showdown

Wilson-Raybould to reveal more details, documents on SNC-Lavalin affair

Former attorney general has written to the House of Commons justice committee

Most Read