Stan Pennington has been competing in the Tees Rodeo since its inception 40 years ago and was honoured this past weekend for his involvement.
After his run with son-in-law Sherman Robb in the team calf-roping event, Pennington was highlighted by the rodeo’s announcer and received a special shirt and buckle for his dedication to the rodeo.
“It’s always been a blast at Tees. I get to see a lot of people that I haven’t seen in the past year or years. Some of them I haven’t seen in a long time, but we usually get over there and camp and visit with everybody. I have friends who I’ve been doing rodeo together with since I started,” Pennington said.
“We’ve been friends for a long time and now their grandkids are competing, and it’s been a real family affair for them. There’s been people helping out from the start that still organize it and it kind of stays in the blood to help out there.”
Pennington began riding horses in bareback competition at age 17. He said he did that for a few years before switching to riding bulls, which he continued for about 12 years.
He said that over his time at Tees, a lot has changed but he has always loved coming to the area.
“I think for the first few years at Tees there we just had cattle riding. We had a lot of cows just for practice, and a lot of the amateur rodeos back then had cow-riding events. I know in Tees we used to see horse racing and cow milking,” he said.
“Back then there weren’t a lot of indoor arenas going on so we could practice in the winter. Things have changed so much. Nowadays there’s much more opportunities, more indoor arenas and you can pretty well go year-round full time.”
He said he’d always enjoyed the bull riding but eventually became more drawn into roping activities. He said when he quit riding bulls he dedicated more time to roping and now very much enjoys the team-roping events.
“I don’t rodeo as much as I used to but I still do a lot of practicing for the enjoyment of it,” he said.
Pennington’s family has become heavily involved in the rodeo. His daughter, Sharla Robb, barrel races and his son is pro rodeo bull rider Miles Pennington.
The Tees Rodeo is, for many, a family tradition. Throughout the weekend children, parents and grandparents sit together cheering on friends and family members.
Pennington said he’s glad to see this kind of atmosphere. He said he has been around to see many changes, but the family aspect of Tees has always remained the same.
“It’s one of the most fun rodeos I go to every year. I’ve seen a lot of changes. When they first started they didn’t have bleachers on the one side where the beer gardens are. They had an old tarp tent with a dirt floor,” he laughed.
“I remember the very first rodeo and I don’t think they expected such a big crowd. Big Valley Jamboree wasn’t going on, and there wasn’t as much stuff going on. It’s a great place for kids to get their start in rodeo. I know my grandkids started the sheep riding a couple of years ago and it’s great that they have somewhere to do it. The stock is a little more suited to their abilities and they learn from there.”
Often times, junior Central Alberta Rodeo Association (C.A.R.A) riders will ride at Tees throughout juniors and high school level competitions. On such rider is Jalaine Anderson, winner of the ladies’ barrel racing competition over the weekend, with a time of 15.589 seconds.
“The rodeo today went pretty smooth, the ground felt good. I ran here with C.A.R.A junior in the 7-12 barrels and I ran at the high school rodeos here. I hadn’t been here for about five years or so, and it was nice to come back,” she said.
“(Bucky, her horse) felt really good and he’s been running awesome. These last few weeks over the summer here we’ve really kicked it up a notch and he’s feeling good. I’m hoping to hit some more rodeos here in rest of the season to prepare us for a harder season next year.”
Anderson competes in a variety of rodeos and will head to the Alberta Barrel Racing Association (ABRA) Finals in August at the Ponoka Ag Event Centre.
“I love what I do. I work full-time at a pharmacy and come home and ride three or four horses in the evenings but when you get good results and the hard work pays off, it’s a good feeling,” she said.