Under a fierce sun, 110 children had a chance on Saturday to test their budding rodeo skills.
Many took part in several disciplines, showing what they have learned at their home ranches, while dealing with the pressure of a public arena.
The annual Little Britches Rodeo is seen as important to the development of cowboys and cowgirls. It is where they get their start in the rodeo world; some may go on to become rodeo stars.
Three categories of competitors were on show at the High Chaparral Arena: Pee Wees (8 and under); Juniors (9-12); and Seniors (13-17).
They came from all over the area. Maple Creek was well represented, so too were Eastend, Consul, Gull Lake, Glidden and Shaunavon. There were several competitors from Swift Current and Medicine Hat.
Events included steer riding, barrels, poles, goat tying, breakaway, undecorating (pulling a ribbon off a steer), and team roping. There were even two displays of bullriding.
Calling the action was Jory Vine, who was assisted by Tyler Cronkhite.
The morning belonged mainly to the Pee Wees who took part in barrels, poles and goat tying. Afterwards, each Pee Wee participant received a bag of goodies.
The crowd was at its fullest for the Pee Wee performances, with some spectators using umbrellas to shield themselves from the sun.
Refreshment and food was available from Shylo Mosquito’s booth, which did brisk business through the day. At times Shylo was rushed off her feet dealing with queues of customers.
Vine told the crowd that it was great to witness so many youngsters getting their start in rodeo. Many had entered multiple events.
“It’s pretty awesome to see,” he said.
The Maple Creek Little Britches Rodeo comes under the auspices of the Southern Saskatchewan Little Britches Rodeo Association.
Principal Maple Creek organizer is Brandy Bandy, who is helped by an enthusiastic team of parent volunteers.
“I would like to give a huge shout-out to the parent volunteers, as well as our sponsors,” she said.
More than $3,000 was paid out to about 40 children through the day in prize money.
The “hi-point” prize was awarded to the junior or senior participant who had accumulated the most points through the rodeo.
The winner was Brandy’s daughter, Kate, who competed in junior barrels, poles, goat tying, breakaway, and undecorating.
After the rodeo, Kate was presented with a gift certificate from Ross Pollock; he and his wife, Claire, are pastors at Diamond C Cowboy Church. They sponsored the “hi-point” prize.
Sponsors were Creekside Veterinary Service, Cowtown Livestock Exchange, Diamond C Cowboy Church, Dave and Sue Elliott, Ross and Claire Pollock, Ken Wright Custom Leather Goods, Wade and Laurie Bertram, IY Quarter Horses, Hill Country Clothing, Robertson Imnplements, Dion Briggs, and Ross and Heather Beierbach.