Family will reunite to celebrate 35th year of Pete Knight Days
This year marks the 35th anniversary of Pete Knight Days in Crossfield.
Calgary resident April Walters plans to make the event a memorable one by hosting a Knight family reunion on June 16 at the Pete Knight Memorial Center.
“For the last 30 years, I personally have wanted a family reunion and with this being the 35th anniversary of Pete Knight Days, the 75th anniversary since Uncle Pete’s death and the 100th anniversary for the Calgary Stampede, I thought it was now or never,” she said.
Knight was Walters’ great uncle on her father’s side and she has been told tales about her famous relative for her whole life.
“Crossfield was always close to his heart and although he was living in Texas when he passed away, he always told people that he was from this area,” she said.
“We don’t want his memory to die and we appreciate the Town of Crossfield keeping that alive. It’s been 75 years since he passed away and people are still talking about him and that is pretty cool.”
This year’s Pete Knight Days will take place at the Crossfield rodeo grounds on June 15 to 17.
According to an article in the July/August 1984 edition of the Anvil, a newspaper out of Craig, Colo., Knight was “the best bronc rider of all time.”
Knight was born in Philadelphia, Penn., May 5, 1903 and moved to Crossfield in 1914.
When he was 15 years old, Knight entered his first rodeo, winning second in bronc riding. In the 1920s, he lived on a local ranch and owned bucking horses.
He was known as a talented bronc rider and competed in a number of rodeos, including the Calgary Stampede.
According to the Anvil article, Eddie Woods, a contemporary of Knight’s, said, “Over the year, I won second best to Pete so many times I quit counting. One year, I was second to him 16 times.”
In the 1930s, he started touring the United States rodeos.
From 1932 to 1936, he won the World Saddle Bronc Riding Championship four times.
On May 23 of 1937, he prepared to ride Duster, a brown gelding that he had ridden eight times before. Knight was bucked over the horse’s head and stepped on. He walked out of the ring but died on the way to the hospital when a broken rib punctured his spleen.
Walters said it will be great to see all of the family members together to honour Knight’s memory. She said about 200 people are planning to come to the reunion.
“Some of these people have never been to Crossfield and they don’t know much about Pete so this will be a great experience for them,” she said.
Knight’s great-granddaughter Liz Mitchell and great, great-granddaughter, six-year-old Bailey Fisher from Arkansas, will be attending the event.
“It is great for the younger generation to come together and know where they come from,” said Walters.