Professional cowboys are saddling up for another Rodeo Masters Ultimate Cowboy Challenge and many of them will also work to help bring up the next generation of bareback and saddle bronc riders.
Along with the Ultimate Cowboy Challenge, several cowboys are volunteering at the bareback and saddle bronc school, held Dec. 29 and 30.
Ponoka’s own Jake Vold and Linden’s Steven Turner are excited for the opportunity to work with the youths. “(I’ll) just try to help the young kids starting up in rodeo,” said Turner.
Turner says the biggest thing he wants to do is tell the youths rodeos can be as mentally tough as they are physical.
Vold is looking forward to teaching riders the basics of bareback riding and watching their skills improve. “I had pretty good teachers when I was starting out. A lot of kids kind of get in there without any help or without a lot of help. I want to be the guy they can rely on.”
Last year neither Turner nor Vold was able to compete in the challenge, although they’d both hoped to. Right before the challenge took place, Turner took himself out of the running with an injury.
“I’m really looking forward to it. I’m really excited because you have to do every event and that’s something new,” said Turner.
Vold says the challenge fell on a busy part of his rodeo season last year and the time wasn’t right. “I’d gotten kind of banged up and was looking for some time off.”
This year he was called by the challenge’s co-ordinator, Scott Wyzykoski. “I hemmed and hawed, but I was like, what the hell.”
Vold is also looking forward to riding in every event. “It’s been a long time since I’ve done every event.”
“It should be pretty good, pretty entertaining, and that’s what fundraisers are all about,” he added.
A majority of the proceeds from the challenge will be donated to the Ponoka Broncs Rodeo Academy. “Any fundraiser is a pretty good idea and it’s on New Year’s so it couldn’t have fallen on a better date,” said Vold.
“I’m just glad that it’s being put back into the community,” added Turner.
The Ultimate Cowboy Challenge will have team roping at 1 p.m. and a 7 p.m. performance of bareback riding, saddle bronc, bull riding, calf roping and steer wrestling.