The rodeo community, across Western Canada, was in Ponoka over the weekend to celebrate 50 years of Dee Butterfield’s contributions.
On August 6, 7 and 8, Dee Butterfield Alumni Classic 50th Anniversary Barrel Race was held at the Calnash Ag Event Centre. Due to COVID-19, last year’s activities were cancelled.
Over the weekend guests at the event enjoyed barrel racing on Saturday and Sunday, as well as time onlies on Friday. Other activities planned included a meet and greet and a steak supper.
Her son Chance Butterflied was the rodeo announcer over the weekend.
“Everybody had a great time at the event,” said Dee Butterfield.
She says that the atmosphere was unique and there was a sense of comradery.
Dee Butterfield says that she used her teachings, passed down in her rodeo family, and early successes in barrel racing to develop her famed rodeo clinics.
“My passion for teaching came from my early successes in rodeo. People wanted to know what I was doing and that’s how the rodeo clinics started,” said Buttfield.
Butterfield was raised in the rodeo community. She was raised on a working cattle ranch, back in the bush, a little west of Williams Lake, B.C. at a place called Big Creek.
A social media post by the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of fame says, “Her cowgirl foundation was firmly laid by her late father Bruce Watt who lived and breathed rodeo.
“She could ride and rope, as well as any man and the nickname she was given by the native cowboys of the area, was ‘cowboy’.
“Her grandmother had the first English riding Academy in Western Canada and Dee rode with her until she was sixteen.
“By 1991, Butterfield made major contributions to the boards at CFR. In 1994 Dee made her eleventh and final appearance at the CFR. She had qualified eleven times on five different equine superstars.
“Dee has always actively pushed for the advancement of barrel racing as a sport.
“She was successful in training and racing her own horses right from the early days of her career competing at amateur circuits and CGRA (Canadian Girls Rodeo Association) events and collecting fifteen championships.
“In 1975, Dee was awarded the ‘Canadian Pro Rodeo Woman of the Year’ during the International Women’s Year celebration. In 2006, she was awarded the Bill Kehler Award at the Ponoka Stampede.”
Butterfield says Ponoka’s Calnash Ag Event Centre was an ideal location for the event. She says that Ponoka is very lucky to have a world-class facility.
“It’s a one of a kind facility,” said Butterfield.