Local athletes invade rodeo slack day
Nine of the scheduled 149 competitors to take times at the slack performance of the Airdrie Pro Rodeo on June 28 live within a stone’s throw of the Airdrie Rodeo Ranch.
Of those nine, two competed in the ladies barrel racing and two bound calves in the tie-down roping event, while the remaining five wrestled steers to the ground in the bulldogging event.
Slack is the term used for the rodeo contestants who have either opted to not participate in an evening performance, or are part of the large group of entries that could not be put into the five evening performances of the Airdrie Pro Rodeo.
The first to take times were Cochrane ladies Carlee Jo Edge and Val Nelson. Edge had a clean trip around the barrels, but couldn’t eclipse the 15-second speed that would put her near the money with a 15.505 second run.
Nelson, who said she competes in local rodeos only to help develop her horses, ran a 15.730.
“He is a colt, so he is kind of green,” said Nelson of her horse.
Nelson has been competing in barrel racing all her life. She said she does it for the adrenaline rush.
The next event of the day was the tie-down roping, which saw Les Facca and Baillie Milan compete.
Milan broke the barrier, not giving his calf enough of a head start, turning his 9.7-second run into a penalty-enhanced 19.7-second run.
Facca on the other hand got to his calf quickly, but the steer fought back kicking out of control, forcing Facca to take a time of 22.3 seconds.
“He ran a little bit, I should have thrown a little earlier. I will get him on the next one,” said Facca. “I have been having fun rodeoing, just giving ‘er. They are doing a hell of a job here, (the prize money) is up to $8,000 now and its close to (Calgary). You can’t go wrong coming here and roping a calf.”
Facca won’t take any prize money home with him from Airdrie, but plans to head to both the Ponoka Stampede and the Williams Lake Rodeo to try to take home some cash.
The final event for the slack performance was the steer wrestling. Four contestants from Cochrane and one from Crossfield took part, including one well-known cowboy.
2011 Calgary Stampede Steer Wrestling Champion Straws Milan (see related story on page 23) ran the quickest time on the day at four seconds flat, but was sent packing after incurring a ten second barrier penalty.
“I have never had any luck here in Airdrie,” said Straws. “It would be nice to win one close to home.”
Crossfield’s Kevin Tacs ran an 11.7-second time, sending him to the next rodeo empty handed. Airdrie’s Todd Maughan came close to the money times, but will be travelling up the road to Ponoka to try again after his 5.9 second run.
Cochrane’s Steven Turner, who also competes in bull riding, achieved a time of 4.5 seconds, which will keep him in the running. Harley Cole, also from Cochrane, ran five seconds flat, which will most likely not hold up after five days of rodeo in Airdrie.