CHARLES TWEED/Ponoka News
Joelle Buss was pushed by her Shadow into the rodeo arena — and it’s a good thing.
Buss, along with more than 60 other future rodeo stars, recently competed at the Canadian National College Finals Rodeo in Edmonton.
She finished fifth in the barrel-racing event but it was in pole bending where Buss really shined.
After placing sixth on the first day in the pole-bending event, Buss rattled off two sub 22-second runs to finish first on day 2 and 3. She and Jamie Roworth earned 250 points throughout the three-day competition but by virtue of winning two of the rounds Buss was awarded the top average and another 100 points to take top spot by 10 points.
“I was extremely excited and pretty proud of my horse. I didn’t have the best spring, I came into the pole bending in fourth spot but I was extremely excited when I won for sure,” said Buss. “A lot of time and effort goes into it. I probably spend two hours a day with my horse (Shadow) and it comes down to practice. Not just in the rodeo arena but taking your horse out of that element so that your trust is built past just the pole bend or barrel run.”
Buss is in her second year of equine sports therapy at British Columbia College of Equine Therapy and said it was her horse, Shadow, who prompted her move into rodeo.
“Shadow started off as a showing horse and to use in 4-H. I had just finished 4-H and I learned so many skills through 4-H that helped me get out of my shell and into the rodeo world. Shadow kind of dragged me into the rodeo world because he didn’t like showing and he kind of chose the path,” said Buss.
The rodeo being hosted in Edmonton also meant Buss’ family could be there to cheer her on during the finals.
“It takes the excitement to a different level because you’re sharing your success with others and the people who poured their time and energy into you,” said Buss. “For them to be there it was pretty phenomenal. It was pretty exciting too because my neighbours were there and they put a lot of horse energy into me so it was nice that they could be there too.”
Buss plans to join the amateur rodeo circuit next year before testing her mettle on the pro tour.
She doesn’t see herself ever not being involved with rodeo and horses and in the future could see herself combine another one of her passions, children.
“I’ve been working with some of the horses for some of the girls in the program (Ponoka Composite High School Rodeo Academy). Actually this weekend, myself and Casey Crandall will be putting on a pole bending clinic for the Ponoka Riding and Roping Association and I love giving back my time,” said Buss. “Winning is exciting because it adds some credibility behind your name and I love spending time with kids.”
Buss is certainly out of the shadows now and don’t be surprised if her Shadow pushes her all the way to the pro rodeo tour someday.