Rodeo tries to scare off Ol’ Jack Frost

By Britany Bingham

Stand back Butch Cassidy, move over Wyatt Earp, the real cowboys are coming to town!

Mar. 17-20 marked the unofficial opening of the Stampede season: the Roughstock Rodeo Royal–an exciting western festival that knocks winter on its butt.

As well as four days of rough and tough rodeo action, the event included a free celebration of agriculture, a saloon with a life of its own and the Acreage Lifestyle Show.

The attractions included pro cowboys competing for more than $120,000, with the champion of each event receiving a spot in the 2005 Calgary Stampede $50,000 bonus round. Winners included Rod Hay in the saddle bronc, Kyle Bowers on bareback, Chris Hansen in bull riding and Mark Roy for steer wrestling.

The Stampede Corral allowed spectators to get close to all the action, including the team cattle penning competition.

If any of you country boys and girls own an acreage or plan on buying one, ample information on a variety of products geared to acreage living was readily available at the Acreage Lifestyle Show in the Roundup Centre Mar. 19-20.

Aggie Days added to the festivities, with interactive displays and demonstrations explaining agriculture in a very real way. The program was designed to introduce local school kids and the public to Alberta’s oldest industry.

The Blackstar Saloon was the place to kick up your heels and enjoy live entertainment until the wee hours. This was definitely one of the weekend’s highlights. One thing to always remember: though some of them may look little, cowboys can drink you under the table!

One comical event was Midnight with the Bulls, which included bullfighters’ poker. Imagine four cowboys trying to play a game of poker with a bull roaming the arena. The last man sitting at the table is the winner. But no matter how good you are at poker, this event had loser written all over it.

If you didn’t make it out this year, this is one event you won’t want to miss next time around.