By Kimberley Hartwig
In many ways the 107th annual Murraydale Stampede & Picnic was no different than those in previous years — it was a roaring success and a great time — but this year the community came together in a new way.
The day before stampede action began a team roping event was held to benefit local cowboy Kent Harrigan. Harrigan is currently undergoing physiotherapy at the Wascana Rehabilitation Centre in Regina after becoming paralyzed earlier this year.
It’s no surprise that the event was a huge success. The benefit raised just over $15,000 through the team roping on Saturday which saw 132 teams competing and an auction held on Sunday during the stampede.
Part of the benefit money was also meant to go towards the Arnal Boys Memorial Bursary for Young Farmers, but the family decided to pass their share on to Harrigan.
“I think the real story is the community support of one of our own,” said Art Unsworth, president of the Murraydale Stampede Society. The individual and community support went over and above what organizers were expecting.
Harrigan was able to attend the event and spend time watching the rodeo he had taken part in for so many years and visit with those who had come to support him.
A new feature of this year’s event was a cowboys versus Indians event — a head-to-head team competition featuring rough stock riding, roping and barrel racing. The teams were tied after the first two events and so it came down to the barrel race. The cowboys were victorious and took home the prize of $200 each and trophy buckles. The event is expected to become an annual tradition to celebrate the shared heritage and partnership between Murraydale and the Nekaneet First Nation.
Regular stampede action kicked off with the bareback bronc event. The top score went to Noah Suchorab of Prince Albert. Next up was saddle bronc which was won by C.J. Wolfe of Wynyard. Danny Dubeau and Stran Dyck claimed the top prize in calf roping.
Christa Needham of Maple Creek placed first in the ladies barrel race followed by Kasondra Amon, Kylie Mackie and Jocelyn Wilson. In oldtimer’s roping Al Moorhead edged out Bob Laing.
The pair of Mark Osadczuk and Jared Pancoast were the quickest team ropers followed by Clinton Brost and James Blakely. Coming in third was Mark Osadczuk and Garth Ruzicka with Iane Palichuk and Taryn Parsonage taking fourth.
The day came to a climactic end with bull riding. Zane Kubik of Scandia, Alta. took home the top prize and Brody Hagel of Medicine Hat claimed second.
In the day’s junior action, James Perrin hung on for the best steer ride followed by Zane Tully and William Perrin. Fourth place saw a tie between Tatym Scheller and Staecen Udal.
Ty Murphy of Maple Creek and Cooper Grisak of Medicine Hat tied for first place in cow riding. Zane Tully took third and Kole Dolgopol claimed fourth.
Twenty-one contestants vied for the tiny mite barrel racing title and Lily Wilson of Maple Creek emerged victorious. She was followed by Brana Thomson, Juanita Humphrey and Kaylee Moorhead.
Junior barrel racing was another heated competition between 24 young riders. Janae Wilson of Maple Creek took the top spot with Ally Kielstra behind her. Third place went to Erica Brost, and Bailee Humphrey placed fourth.
In the day’s most hectic event — the calf race — the team of Sarah Beierbach, Brette Tully and Peyton Moorhead wrestled their way to first place. Lily Wilson, Olivia Parsonage and Rayna Gold made up the second place team.
In the wild steer race, Jeff Udal, Ty Murphy and Staecen Udal hung on for first place. Rayel Jamieson, Victoria Briggs and Sydney Windjack came second.
In junior roping action Houston Long and Levi Bowyer nabbed their calf the quickest. Second place went to the team of Braeden Brost and Zane Tully. Brost also came in third with partner Codee Smith.