Last weekend the Tees Rodeo took competitors and fans back to the simple roots of the rodeo sport.
“Tees is just very close-knit. It is the best rodeo in CARA I believe,” said rodeo judge Dennis Leis.
The rodeo, running Aug 2 to 4, has worked hard over the last 38 years to keep its message grounded; entertainment and support are what it’s all about.
Leis says the saddlebronc and bareback events saw many riders come out of retirement to carry that message. “It’s good to see them come out of retirement just for mentorship.”
Leis says aiding the younger competitors is important because they’re the future of rodeo. “I believe in the talent necessary for them to grow in the sport of rodeo, and this is the foundation for it.”
The saddlebronc and bareback events, along with having more riders, provided a high quality of rides.
Although some of the young cowboys came down early, Leis says many were riding at a level that would have given them a score around 80 if they’d stayed on the full eight seconds.
Although all qualified rides in the bull riding event happened Sunday, Leis feels that event also went well.
Bull rider Cody Meyn came down early off his bull but still enjoyed his time at the Tees Rodeo. “Everything is a whole lot more organized here compared to other places.”
With roughstock contractors, Bar Thompson and Cal and Cody Meston, fuelling the rodeo Meyn says they’ll also usually buck bulls both Friday and Saturday night if there’s time.
Trevor Purdie provided the roping stock.
This year numbers at the gate and the dance were both up. The two family dance nights and the official beer gardens entertainment night featured a DJ, as well as Jordan Doell and the Coal Creek Boys.
Overall, in the 38 years the Tees Rodeo has been running, attendance has decreased in recent years. “It was the rodeo to go to. I remember going here 20 years ago, it was the place to be,” said Leis.
He remembers when the stands used to be so packed with people a small child wouldn’t have been able to squeeze between the spectators.
Having a smaller audience didn’t deafen the roar of the crowd or lessen their appreciation. “They’re a very responsive crowd this weekend.”
Many family members came out to cheer on the young competitors. One cowboy met up with his family after his ride, a huge smile splitting his face.
Easton Thorburn, a competitor in the 13-to-15-year-old steer riding event, rode at Tees for the first time this year; his second ride ever. He also rode at the Bowden Rodeo.
“I like hanging out with my friends and I get to watch the rodeo,” he said.
Thorburn is also attracted to the adrenaline rush that comes with rodeoing.
Although Thorburn came down early, there was no disappointment. “Just realize you can cover it the next rodeo, you’ll get it eventually.”