The weather couldn’t have been better for the 2023 edition of the Castor Rodeo held on June 23.
Clear skies and some wind kept the temperatures bearable for the nearly record attendance at the annual event which kicked off shortly after 5 p.m. for the evening performance.
Sanctioned by the Lakeland Rodeo Association, competitors came from all over to take part in the 13 traditional rodeo events including bareback bronc riding, ladies’ barrel racing, steer wrestling, and more.
Big River cowboy Lonnie Dunn was the first novice horse rider out of the chutes, and his ride nearly ended with a trip to the hospital. His bronc refused to depart the chute after the first attempt, and then after the reset the horse reared, falling over backwards landing on its back, and on Dunn. Neither the rider nor the animal were hurt and Dunn was able to do his saddle bronc ride a short time later as he needed to hit the trail to head for another rodeo.
After Dunn, the first event up was bareback, won by Flatbush, Alta., cowboy Ryley Borris with a score of 75 on a cantankerous bronc named Desparado. Flowing straight back into novice horse riding, Rocky View County cowboy Clay Greenslade picked up the high score with 67 points.
Events then moved to the timed event end of the Castor Rodeo grounds for breakaway roping and steer wrestling, between which Castor’s own Daring Diva’s Trick Riders took to the infield for a performance. Castor’s Codi James won the breakaway roping with a blistering time of 2.9 seconds. As for the steer wrestling, a broken barrier cost Mannville’s Owen Harder the top time, Jace Powell slid in and won the event with a time of 7.4 seconds. Of 10 entries, only two had qualifying rides.
Rodeo youth were on display at the Castor Rodeo, with 10 riders registering in the Junior Steer Riding event. Caroline cowboy Daxton Pringle won the event with a ride of 72 points.
Tie-down roping finished off the first half of the rodeo, where Garrett Zieffle won the top spot with a ride of 12.7 seconds out of a dozen riders.
After the intermission, events moved to the new barrel racing entry that was built at the south end of the rodeo grounds. Three levels of completion took place, pee wees, juniors, and ladies. Brylee Harper won the pee wees with a time of 20.050; Paiten Axton won the juniors with a time of 17.104; and Ponoka’s Tegan Poitras won the ladies with a time of 17.239.
With unfinished business, events moved back to the chutes for the saddle bronc event. Nine riders, including Dunn, took part, however only three ended up with qualifying rides. Vernon, B.C., cowboy Jaret Cooper ended up taking the top score with his 75-point ride on the back of a bronc named Diesel Smoke.
One final event awaited at the timed events end: team roping. The calves in the team roping proved equally as uncooperative as in some of the earlier events with only three teams earning qualified rides. The event was won by Travis and Brian Spady of the Castor and Alliance areas with a time of 7.7 seconds.
Ending the evening, 10 cowboys faced off against the bulls. Only Red Willow cowboy Armondo Davila had what it took to ride, earning 74 points.
The ever-popular foot race, hide race and wild-pony races also took place mixed in between the main events.