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PHOTOS: Halkirk Elks host 27th annual Bullarama

The 27th annual Halkirk Elks Bullarama is in the history books.

The 27th annual Halkirk Elks Bullarama is in the history books.

A warm Aug. 26 made for almost ideal conditions as the gates were thrown open and spectators from all over began descending on the Halkirk Bullarama grounds.

With gates opening at 4 p.m., spectators had ample opportunity to hit the beer gardens, concession, and face-painting before finding their seats for the start of the kids’ events at 4:30 p.m.

As usual for the Bullarama, rodeo clown Johnny D acted as master of ceremonies and got things going with the mutton bustin’ around 4:30 p.m., giving the opportunity for rodeo’s next generation to dip their toes into the sport.

Following the mutton bustin’, it was time for the wild pony races; the ponies were particularly feisty this year and only one team managed a ride with just over three seconds.

Before the opening ceremonies for the main event, a number of foot races for varying age groups, including adults, were held. In the foot races, races leave their shoes at a mark, go to the other end of the infield, then, after the shoes have been mixed up at the other end, race back, try to find their shoes, put them on, and race back to the start point. While the kids raced for candy, the adults raced for a large, and largely contested, bottle of rum.

After a short intermission between the youth activities and the opening ceremonies, the opening ceremonies began shortly after 5 p.m. with a riding performance by the Ladies of the Heartland, the singing of O Canada (performed by Andrea Cress), and the recitation of the cowboy’s prayer.

Opening the Bullarama was a new event for 2023; three riders took part in the inaugural edition of ranch bronc riding. In ranch bronc riding, cowboys — or cowgirls — climb aboard a bucking bronc using a traditional riding saddle.

Strathmore, Alta., cowboy Austin Quiring won the event with a 72-point first ride; he was the only rider to score on either ride.

After the first go of the ranch bronc riding, it was time for the bull riding to begin.

Three of 11 riders scored points on rides in the first go, with Brazilian cowboy Marcos Gloria taking the lead with 83 points. Australian Chris Young was nipping at his heels with 82 points and Forestburg cowboy Keaton Martz came in a distant third with 71.

Once the first go concluded, a presentation by the Red Deer Aboriginal Dance Troupe took to the infield. The troupe performed traditional dances such as the motherhood dance, the men’s grass dance, the ladies’ jingle dress dance, the men’s chicken dance, and the fancy dance.

At the conclusion of the presentation, there was a short intermission before the second go began.

In the second go of ranch bronc riding, only two of the three took part, and no one scored points.

Moving into the bull riding once again, 10 of the riders took part, though Lane Jenson was granted a re-ride as his first bull stumbled coming out of the chute; only Gloria picked up points in the second go, ending with a total of 168.5 for the afternoon.

With his successful ride in the first go, Quiring picked up the high-point saddle for the ranch bronc event.

Gloria, with his two successful rounds, won the high-point buckle which was presented by the family of David Chick. The 2023 edition of the Bullarama was presented in Chick’s honour as he was one of the original organizers of the event who passed away in the fall of 2022.

Following the presentation, the beer gardens remained open until the dance started at 9 p.m., followed by fireworks as darkness fell.

Kevin Sabo

About the Author: Kevin Sabo

I’m Kevin Sabo. I’ve been a resident of the Castor area for the last 12 years and counting, first coming out here in my previous career as an EMT.
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