The Ponoka Stampede has always taken pride in its efforts to preserve and promote the history of rodeo, and western culture. It is because of this constant desire to honour the rich traditions of the past that they introduced Women’s Ranch Bronc Riding to their venue in 2022.
Blair Vold is one of the directors on the Stampede board and says that the event had six riders and was well received last year. Organizers are happy to have it return to the line-up.
Vold says that rodeos in the 30s and 40s frequently had the event on their rosters. Over the years the event faded from many rodeos, but it’s starting to regain popularity.
In 2016, the Women’s Ranch Bronc Riding Championships was created. The organization’s goal is to help women achieve their dreams of becoming ranch bronc riders. The championships are often referred to as the Trail to Cheyenne Tour.
In addition to receiving a buckle at the Ponoka Stampede, the winner of the event in Ponoka goes on to the championship in Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Vold explains that the women who participate are professionals in a variety of fields. Ranch Bronc Riding gives them a chance to compete. It also allows event organizers a chance to present more riding events to their patrons.
Bronc riding came from ranch hands who would compete against each other while breaking in new horses.
Ranch bronc riding is slightly different from the more common bronc riding. Those who compete in ranch competitions are allowed to hold the reigns with both hands, as opposed to having to keep one hand off the reigns.
Riders also use regular saddles for ranch events. The requirement of keeping their spurs against the horse’s shoulders seen in professional bronc riding, isn’t a part of ranch rules.