Healthy-ish Steven Peebles back at it at Calgary Stampede
Published on: July 11, 2017 | Last Updated: July 11, 2017 5:44 PM MDT
Steven Peebles of Richmond, Ore., scored a 90.50 on Yipee Kibitz to win the bareback event at the Calgary Stampede rodeo, Tuesday July 11, 2017. GAVIN YOUNG/POSTMEDIA
Just like last year, Steven Peebles was happy to play in the mud at the Calgary Stampede.
And just like last year, the Redmond, Ore., bareback rider is healthy … enough.
After capturing the 2016 Stampede rodeo championship last summer and pocketing a much needed $100,000 cheque, Peebles tried to keep his roll going but eventually required back surgery to repair the damage caused by breaking his back twice.
One of the injuries happened right before last year’s Stampede, making him one of the best feel-good stories of the 10-day event.
“There’s still a few things in there that are wrong,” said the 28-year-old with a grin. “My SI joints, my pelvis … there was a disc hanging out and pinching a nerve really badly. I was starting to lose feeling in my legs, so they went in there and cut that outta there to relieve some of my nerve pain.
“Another year — like every year — I’m coming off an injury and trying to get stronger again. But when I nod my head, it’s eight seconds of hard work and I give it everything I’ve got.”
Behind the scenes, Peebles requires a lengthy pre-game routine which includes stretching, resistance band work — basically, a workout before he hops on a horse.
Afterwards, more rehab.
“I gotta find somewhere to get my hips lined back up and put into place,” Peebles said. “You’ve gotta watch what mattresses you sleep on. I wear a lot of SI belts to keep them compressed down pretty good and ice and heat and stretching.
“I come in the next day for one ride and do it all again the next day. No extra-curricular activities for me, other than riding.”
And that is more than is enough.
Riding in the muck on Tuesday — the first day of Pool B competition — Peebles posted a 90.5-point ride aboard Yipee Kibitz, a solid performance for his first day back at the Stampede.
“That was worth it,” Peebles said. “(Last year), everyone said, ‘If you’re going to win this deal, you have to head-slide in this dirt.’ I was so tired. After we had that shoot-out round and the rematch, I got to my pick-up man, and then just went facedown in the dirt. I wasn’t even mad about it.
“Hopefully I can come back and do it again this year.”
Rain or shine, muddy or dry, Matt Shiozawa was simply happy to get the first round in the bag.
The cowboy from Chubbuck, Idaho, along with his veteran horse, Chuck, managed to tie down his calf in a respectable 7.3 seconds.
The time was decent, considering the muddy infield — a seven-second performance would be good enough for a cheque on most days.
“My biggest objective of the day was to get off on the right foot,” said Shiozawa. “Whether it’s first or last, my biggest concern was trying to make a good quality run and get a good start … 7.3 is OK. It’s acceptable, especially for the conditions.
“I think they tied some 6s on the last set, and that was in perfect conditions. I’m good with it — 7s would probably win something every time.”
And this time, it won him $5,500 — first-place money on the first day of Pool B of competition.
“You come up here with a plan,” Shiozawa said. “If you can get off on the right foot, it helps you get a little momentum. But for me, it’s a little more confidence in the fact we did some preparation in the plan coming up here … and we know what to expect when we get here.”
AROUND THE HORN
Despite the muddy and wet conditions in the infield on Tuesday, Lisa Lockhart of Oelrichs, S.D., managed to clock a 17.68-second trip around the barrels …Bray Armes of Gruver, Texas, cashed in a first-place payout in steer wrestling with a 3.7-second performance … Jacobs Crawley of Boerne, Texas, posted an 86.5-point ride aboard Spanish Pair, the best score of the day in Pool B saddle bronc competition. But Cody Wright of Milford, Utah, will receive a re-ride Wednesday before dishing out Tuesday’s day-money … The Stampede rodeo paid tribute to Winston Bruce, a long-time figure at the Calgary Stampede, former rodeo athlete and supervisor for the rodeo stock breeding program. Bruce passed away on Monday.
Local bull rider and Alberta movie stuntman's biggest stunt yet: The Calgary Stampede
Published on: July 11, 2017 | Last Updated: July 11, 2017 9:26 PM MDT
Brock Radford from Dewinton Alberta was bucked off Something' Cool in the bull riding event at the Calgary Stampede rodeo, Tuesday July 11, 2017. GAVIN YOUNG/POSTMEDIA
For only being 22-years-old, Brock Radford’s resume is lengthy.
The Dewinton-raised, Longview resident has performed stunts on Fargo, AMC’s Hell on Wheels, The Revenant starring Leonardo Decaprio and a Netflix movie called Hold The Dark, which was filmed in Alberta.
Of course, when he is on camera, he is only acting.
But the three seconds or so that he spent on a bull named Somethin’ Cool?
And the moments he was flung into the air and onto the dirt at the Calgary Stampede’s infield?
And those few seconds before he was able to pick himself up and get out of the way of the bull?
That was all real life.
Tuesday’s opening day in Pool B competition was a tough one.
Seven of the 10 cowboys in the field were bucked off including Canadians Tyler Pankewitz of Ponoka, Prince Albert’s Tanner Byrne, and Cody Coverchuk of Meadow Lake, Sask.
The winner — J.B. Mauney — had a score of 88 points on Bomb Shell.
“When you come up here, that first day, if it’s your first time, it’s a pretty big deal,” Mauney said. “You have those jitters in you. When you get that first one under your belt, it’s kind of alright, ‘We know how to do this. We know what’s going on. Now let’s just ride bulls.’
“It fires me up every time I come here.”
Ditto for Radford, who is basically a local.
“That’s what makes it big for me,” Radford said. “I grew up in Dewinton, and it’s kind of on a hill that overlooked pretty much all of Calgary.
“I’m 25 minutes from the rodeo grounds from where I grew up, so I always wanted to go to the Stampede and watch, and my grandma was heavily involved in it.
Radford’s father, Max, who is from Australia, has a transport business which works with incoming film crews in the Alberta area.
But Max Radford really got into the movie scene through his mother-in-law (Brock’s grandma), Isabelle Miller, a two-time Canadian champion barrel racer and a pioneer of rodeo.
“She was in Shanghai Noon with Jackie Chan and Owen Wilson and wrangled the horses and all the animals,” Brock explained. “So when when my dad came over here (from Australia), he started wrangling on movies and rode horses and eventually switched.”
And, of course, roped Brock into the business.
But this week at the Calgary Stampede, he has other goals.
“I’ve worked some movies with my Dad, so I’ll do transport and I’ve done stunts before,” Radford said. “But, yeah, that’s not really my main career focus. If I need money in the winter, I’ll go work stunt stuff. But I don’t like thinking about that stuff right now.
“I’m having fun winning money and riding bulls.”
After years of watching it from afar — and steadily climbing up the professional ranks — Radford finally qualified for his first Calgary Stampede by finishing top-four in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association standings in 2016.
“It’s been kind of a Great White Buffalo I’ve been chasing for a few years,” Radford said. “It’s the biggest rodeo in the world, but, for me, it’s my hometown rodeo.”
“I’m one of the weird ones that can honestly say I’ve dreamed of winning Calgary more than I’ve dreamt of winning a Canadian title.”
Bull riders rally around serious injured rodeo cowboy Faircloth
Published on: July 11, 2017 | Last Updated: July 11, 2017 7:23 PM MDT
Dakota Buttar, from Kindersley, Sask, rides Range Boss at last year's Calgary Stampede on July 5, 2014. CRYSTAL SCHICK / CALGARY HERALD
Jess Lockwood survived a scary incident in the feature event at the Calgary Stampede rodeo on Sunday.
So, he was happy to hear that a fellow bull rider is getting some support after suffering a compound fracture of his right leg at the Ranchman’s Renegades Charity Bullbustin’ event last Wednesday.
Josh Faircloth, of Randleman, N.C., was rushed to hospital after being thrown off a bull named Fire Nails at the annual Ranchman’s event and underwent emergency surgery.
Because the injury will significantly impact Faircloth’s ability to not only do what he loves to do, but to take care of his family, Stacey Meyer spearheaded a GoFundMe campaign (www.gofundme.com/josh-faircloth-bull-rider-relief) to support him.
“It’s probably going to put a pretty good wrinkle in his rodeoing for sure,” said Meyer, who helps Snyder put on the Ranchman’s event each year.
The goal of the campaign is to raise enough funds to cover Faircloth’s hospital bills and send him home to Randleman.
“Whenever you get hurt, you want people to help out, for sure,” said Lockwood, who was impressed that the campaign had raised more than $1,200 in just one day. “That’s nice to see and hear.”
Although Lockwood racked up three first-place showings over four days in the bull-riding event at the Stampede, he was bucked off a bull named Gambler on Sunday.
“I kind of got off the side of that bull and my hand popped out, but I had the tail of my rope wrapped around my hand and it drove me right underneath him and he stepped on my arm pretty good and both my legs,” said Lockwood, of Volberg, Mont., who rebounded on Monday with a spectacular 90.5-point ride aboard Blue Stone. “I’m a little bit sore, but that’s part of bull riding.”
Brett Monea was one of three bull fighters who came to Lockwood’s rescue and even got tossed up in the air by Gambler in the process.
“He was alright,” said Monea of Lockwood. “I guess he’s got kind of a sore elbow and a groin that’s a little sore, but when you’re getting on 1,800-pound bulls, you’re bound to get a little sore once in a while.”
Lockwood gave the trio of bull fighters credit for jumping in harm’s way and making sure that Gambler didn’t do any more damage.
“They did a really good job – as good as they could,” said Lockwood, who finished with $16,500 in earnings over four days to top the Pool A standings and automatically earn a Showdown Sunday spot.
Monea was also on the spot when Faircloth was tossed to the ground and he did his best to make sure the situation didn’t worsen.
“That’s all we can do is do the best that we can to prevent the injury,” said Monea. “Sometimes injuries still happen. If I know I was doing the job to the best of my ability and if they still get hurt, I can live with that.”
He was also happy to hear about the GoFundMe campaign to support Faircloth.
“Wow,” he exclaimed. “When one of us gets hurt, we kind of pool together to help out in whatever way we can.”
Monea’s no stranger to sustaining injuries, including one that kept him from plying his trade at the Stampede last year.
“I ended up breaking my leg at the Petroleum Show in June here in Calgary at the Agrium Centre,” said Monea, who has been able to stay injury free this season. “It’s great to be back. It’s awesome.”
Bull rider Dakota Buttar also had a rough ride from a bull named Wyoming Strom on the first day of the Stampede on Friday.
“The bull stepped on my neck and poked a little hole in my lung,” recalled the cowboy from Kindersley, Sask., who’s going to take some time off to heal several nagging injuries. “It’ll be about 10 days for the little hole to heal. I’ll probably take a month off and let everything heal up good and then come back.”
Buttar also sent out his well wishes to Faircloth on his road to recovery.
“If you’re not riding, you can’t be making any money, so it makes it harder on a guy to get going again when you’ve got no money,” he said.
In addition to Lockwood, Ryan Dirteater, Joao Ricardo Vieira and Garrett Smith qualified from Pool A to go straight through to Showdown Sunday.
Dirteater, of Hulbert, Okla., finished second behind Lockwood with $14,000 in earnings, while Vieira, of Sao Paulo, Brazil ($11,500) and Smith, of Rexburg, Idaho ($10,000) also finished in the top four.
Chuckwagon outrider Eddie Melville cherishing final runs at Rangeland Derby
Published on: July 11, 2017 | Last Updated: July 11, 2017 9:58 PM MDT
Eddie Melville. Photo by Leah Hennel/Postmedia
Eddie Melville was crumpled in the dirt, his leg undoubtedly broken.
The longtime outrider had just completed a race at the 2015 Battle of the North in Dawson Creek, B.C., and was headed back to the barns when his ride spooked, flipping over backward and snapping Melville’s right femur.
“That’s about 1,100 pounds coming down on you,” Melville said. “I knew it was busted as soon as I hit the ground.”
This would have been an understandable occasion for any guy — even a tough-as-all-heck cowboy — to feel sorry for himself.
Melville, the grandson of chuckwagon legend Orville Strandquist and truly one of the feel-good stories of the Calgary Stampede’s 2017 Rangeland Derby, insists he never did.
“I’m being honest when I say that when I was laying there, I just thought about people that were worse off than me,” Melville said. “I was actually quite thankful I was going to be able to walk again someday, because it was pretty close to not.
“I knew I had a road ahead of me. Laying there in the dirt, I knew that right away. But when I could move everything else except that leg, I knew I could deal with it. I knew, or I was confident anyway, that I was going to get back to normal. It was just going to take a while.”
A while longer, it turns out, than he initially imagined.
Melville had surgery in Dawson Creek and then another when he returned to Calgary.
When he was still hobbling around on crutches about seven months later, doctors opened him up again, inserting a rod into his leg. He couldn’t climb aboard a single horse during the 2016 season, missing the Rangeland Derby for only the second time in more than a quarter-century.
The 45-year-old realized it was nearly time to retire from the outriding game. He hated the thought, though, of capping his career with that ambulance ride in Dawson Creek.
“I wanted to ride one more heat in Calgary, but I didn’t want to embarrass myself,” Melville said. “I went to Grande Prairie (in May) and threw my outriding bag in, just to see if I could get on a horse in the morning. And Roger Moore ended up hiring me before I even knew if I could jump on.
“We’ve been going ever since.”
Melville has been outriding for both Moore and current aggregate leader Chanse Vigen at the latest instalment of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.
This, his 25th appearance at the Rangeland Derby, will be his last. He is retiring after Sunday’s races.
“My grandpa’s last year was 1991, after 50-plus years, and I got to outride for him in his last race at the Stampede. That’s something I’ll always cherish,” Melville said, reminiscing about some of his favourite memories at his hometown show. “It took me a while to win Calgary, but we finally got it done in 2005 with Luke Tournier. That was amazing coming down the lane and seeing Luke in front after all the years and finishing second quite a few times. I’ve won it four times since then.
“And just the excitement of riding out into that arena and seeing all those people and knowing you’re at the Calgary Stampede. I grew up on those chutes, watching as a kid. To actually be out there running with your idols and your heroes . . . Really, I’ve had the best seat in the house for the last 25 years. I’ve watched a lot of history unfold right in front of me.
“I’m just thankful for the career that I’ve had.”
And thankful for these final spins at Stampede Park.
Melville was trying to avoid a mouthful of mud Tuesday, probably the only time this week that he has stopped smiling for even a second.
“I’m having an absolute blast,” Melville said. “I felt like a lot of guys were rooting for me this year, and that’s what I love about the wagons. It’s such a family.
“To have guys like Chanse and Roger believe in me, I want to prove them right.”
AROUND THE BARRELS
John Walters (Shaw GMC) finished his business Tuesday in 1:16.18, the top clocking on a night that the times were slightly slower due to the mucky conditions . . . With Melville hot on his trail, Chanse Vigen (Bluestar Engineering) tied for the third-fastest run of the evening and continues to sit atop the aggregate. The only driver within two seconds of Vigen on the overall leaderboard is Kurt Bensmiller (West Industrial Ltd.), who blazed around the Half Mile of Hell in 1:16.28 on Day 5 and is only .54 seconds off the pace in the aggregate.
Chuckwagon driver Mark Sutherland focused on his own title aspirations during father's farewell season
Published on: July 11, 2017 | Last Updated: July 11, 2017 10:29 AM MDT
Stampede rodeo Mark Sutherland driving the Cowboys Casino Posse wagon in heat four of the 2017 GMC Rangeland Derby at the Calgary Stampede. AL CHAREST/POSTMEDIA Postmedia Calgary Stampede2017 Al Charest, Al Charest/Postmedia AL CHAREST / POSTMEDIA
The song is titled ‘Last Time for Everything,’ and Brad Paisley’s latest single is currently climbing the country music charts.
As Mark Sutherland acknowledged, it’s a fitting tune for this famed family of chuckwagon racing.
Mark’s father, Kelly ‘The King’ Sutherland, will retire after this season. These are his final runs at the Calgary Stampede, where reminders of his legacy will be as commonplace all week as deep-fried goodies and drained Budweisers.
It’s fun for fans and followers of the sport to reminisce about Kelly’s incredible career, but Mark can’t be too sentimental.
“It’ll be a lot different next year but to be honest with you, I’m trying to not think about that,” said Mark, one of 35 other drivers trying to deny Kelly a fairytale finish. “It’s not like I’m trying to not think about it, but I’m trying to go out and win a chuckwagon race. I know it’s Dad’s last year and I want him to do well, but I’m trying to do well, too.
“Now, when you hear them talk about him and with the media and fans and friends and signs all over saying ‘Thanks for the 50 years, Kelly,’ then obviously you recognize it then. I’m not trying to ignore it. But when the horn goes, for that minute and 12 seconds, you aren’t thinking about anything except trying to win a race.”
Asked about his father on the second night of the 2017 Rangeland Derby, Mark told a jam-packed grandstand: “We’re proud of him as a family. And I’m just hoping he finishes second to me in the $100,000 dash.”
The 46-year-old, raised in Grande Prairie and now based in Okotoks, wasn’t joking.
That has to be his mindset.
Mark Sutherland and the Cowboys Casino Posse wagon races alone to the finish in heat 4 of the GMC Rangeland Derby at the 2017 Calgary Stampede, Monday July 10. Gavin Young/Postmedia GAVIN YOUNG / POSTMEDIA
Driving on behalf of Cowboys Casino Posse, Mark blazed around the track Monday in 1:12.03, the second-fastest run of the night before a thunderstorm and heavy rains forced a 50-minute delay and eventually the cancellation of the three remaining heats. Stampede officials announced that Monday’s times won’t count toward the aggregate standings, an unlucky break for Mark, who would have climbed several spots.
He remains in 13th with four more nights of racing on the road to Semifinal Saturday.
“In my mind, I’m one of the 10 guys that should make the top-eight,” said Mark, a sixth-place finisher in his past two trips to the Rangeland Derby. “I have the horsepower so if I drive smart and we get a little luck, I’ll be in the final eight.”
He’s confident, but he’s not crazy.
In his 46 years, Mark has celebrated every Canada Day at the Ponoka Stampede. He’s never been anywhere but Calgary in the second week of July.
From diapers to the driver’s box, he’s watched as his father claimed a record dozen Rangeland Derby championships and 12 world titles.
He never figured he would be the next coming of The King.
He’s certain that nobody will be.
“If I won literally half as much — just half, 50 per cent — as he has . . . ” Mark started, not foreshadowing his future but instead trying to add some perspective to Kelly’s legendary resume. “He’s won 12 of these. So I win six. He’s won 12 worlds. So I win six. He’s won 90-some shows. So I win 45. If that were to happen in the next 10 years or the next 15 or say I go to 60, which I will not, I promise you that, then I will be the second-winningest driver by such a huge margin that the other guys will think I’m a legend. I mean, it’s not even realistic.
“You’ve got George Normand, who was wonderful, one of my dad’s very closest friends. An amazing wagon driver, just never won the Calgary Stampede. He won, I think, five world titles. Ralph Vigen, who was a great, great competitor and one of my dad’s mentors, taught him how to drive the way he does. He won Calgary, I think, three times. Tommy Glass. What did he win, four times? And Tommy was an icon in the sport. Dallas Dorchester …
“I’m just trying to win one. And then once I do one, then I’ll try to win two.”
Mark would love to claim his first Rangeland Derby bronze on Sunday, the same night The King bids farewell to the Calgary Stampede, and vice versa.
“This isn’t the end of chuckwagon racing for me, but it’s the end of chuckwagon racing as I know it. It’s emotional,” Mark said. “But there’s a last time for everything.”