Painted Smile, NFR December 2001. Photo by Mike Copeman for Rational Media
August 11, 2016 · by Admin2015 · The South Peace News
Judy Kesler, middle, of Kesler Rodeo, receives a plaque to acknowledge the horse Painted Smile’s induction into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame by the Canadian Rodeo Historical Association. The ceremony took place at the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo on Aug. 2. Left-right are association president Earl Klapstein, director Brenda Vold, Judy Kesler, secretary-treasurer Catherine Laycraft, and first vice-president Lester Gurnett.
South Peace News
A horse with a long history at the High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo and storied life on the rodeo circuit was honoured at the local event.
Saddle bronc horse Painted Smile of Kesler Rodeo was inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame by the Canadian Rodeo Historical Association in a ceremony at the local rodeo on Aug. 2.
Judy Kesler accepted the honour for the horse, trained by her late husband Greg, who passed away Feb. 1, 2016.
“I wish Greg would have been here to receive it because it was his pride and joy,” says Judy Kesler.
They chose High Prairie for the ceremony for the community’s special place in their hearts.
“High Prairie Elks Pro Rodeo has stood behind us and our family for 56 years,” son Duane Kesler says.
“That horse competed in a lot of rodeos in North America and High Prairie.”
After an illustrious career, Painted Smile passed away in August 2015.
“Today we pay tribute to a true legend and Hall of Famer in the sport,” says Lester Gurnett, association first vice-president, who read about the horse.
“Horses like Painted Smile are one in a million, but the Canadian Pro Rodeo was lucky enough to have one of its own amongst the greats of Greg Kesler’s string.
“Painted Smile is a product of many years of dedication to the sport and hours of care and hard work by the Kesler family.
Born on the Kesler ranch in 1993, Painted Smile came from a long line of Greg Kesler’s famous bucking horses, but the 1,300-pound Paint mare went on to stake her own claim in the record books.
With three world championship buckles, three Canadian Pro Rodeo Association Horse of the Year halters, two Calgary Stampede top saddle bronc horse bronzes, three Canadian Finals Rodeo trucks, and one National Finals Rodeo award, Painted Smile has received countless awards.
“She is a horse cowboys loved to draw, but would still send a bead of sweat down their brow when she trotted into the chutes,” Gurnett says.
“She carried many champions to the pay window, but also racked up an impressive buck-off rate, which could still hold records to this day.”
List of Awards for Painted Smile:
– Canadian Champion Saddle Bronc in 2000, 2001, 2002.
– Saddle Bronc of the Canadian Finals Rodeo in 1999, 2000, 2001.
– World Champion Saddle Bronc in 2001, 2002, 2003.
– National Finals Rodeo Saddle Bronc in 2000.
– Calgary Stampede Champion Saddle Bronc in 2000 and 2002.
– Selected both to the Canadian Finals Rodeo and National Finals Rodeo in 1999, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006.