Some things in life are meant to go together. The Beierbach family and rodeos, for instance.
William and Donna Beierbach were outstanding rodeo athletes in the 1990s and 2000s, winning a dazzling array of provincial and national awards.
Now their 14-year-old son, Tate, is carrying the family banner with pride after a super-strong showing at the Saskatchewan High School Rodeo Association finals in Maple Creek.
In the junior high category, he won the chute dogging and team roping, came second in goat tying and tie-down roping, and placed third in ribbon roping.
He was also declared the Reserve Boys All Around Provincial Champion. His successes earned him five buckles, two silver spurs, a halter and an engraved hat pin presented during a ceremony on Saturday under a tent at the High Chaparral Arena.
“It feels really good,” he said. “I’ve put in a lot of practice.”
Tate was the only Maple Creek contestant in the junior high division finals.
There were three local contestants in the high school division: Olivia Parsonage, Sydney Murphy and Lily Wilson.
Their performance will be highlighted in Thursday’s newspaper.
Scores of up-and-coming rodeo stars took part in the June 17-20 event. They came from all over the province, including Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Carnduff, Ceylon, Coronach, Domremy, Elbow, Fiske Kyle, Lake Alma, Lloydminster, Paradise Hill, Quappelle, Weyburn, and Whitewood,
Campers and trailers created a mini-village outside the rodeo grounds, providing a much-needed boost to the town’s economy.
Tate is believed to have been the only Maple Creek contestant in the junior division. Three local contestants in the senior division were: Olivia Parsonage, Sydney Murphy and rookie Lily Wilson. Their performances will be highlighted in Thursday’s paper.
As many as 160 up-and-coming rodeo stars took part in the June 17-20 event; 59 in the junior division, 101 in the seniors. They came from all over the province, places like Prince Albert, Lloydminster, Carnduff, Ceylon, Coronach, Domremy, Elbow, Fiske Kyle, Lake Alma, Lloydminster, Paradise Hill, Qu’Appelle, Weyburn, and Whitewood.
Events ranged from chute dogging, goat tying, barrels, breakaway, poles, saddle bronc, steer wrestling, bareback, and bull riding, to tie-down roping, ribbon tying, and team roping
Campers and trailers created a mini-village outside the rodeo grounds, with people regularly going into town, giving the economy a much-needed boost. Fortunately the weather was kind, with the sun blazing on Thursday and Friday, before easing a little on Saturday and Sunday.
Although this was not officially a public event – and had not been well advertised – dozens of family members filled the seating. Some knelt by the perimeter fencing with their cell phones to capture key moments, determined to enjoy themselves in this COVID-disrupted year. Throughout the four days, the Piapot Lions Club food booth and an ice-cream stand did steady business.
Calling the action was Warren Allin, who livened up proceedings with his wit and knowledge, praising good performances and offering encouragement to a cowboy or cowgirl who suffered a mishap. Often he would ask the crowd to show their appreciation.
In the junior high division, the top five qualified for Canadians in Swift Current (August 6-8), while in the high school division, the top four in each event qualified for the Nationals at Lincoln, Nebraska (July 18-24), and the top six qualified for Canadians.
Through his success, Tate not only continued a fine family tradition, he also maintained the growing rodeo reputation of Consul School. Earlier this month, two Consul school students, Braden Brost, who is Tate’s cousin, and Paige Tully, excelled at the Alberta High School Rodeo Finals in Olds, winning tie-down roping and goat tying respectively.
Although he lives in the Maple Creek area, Tate also attends Consul School.
This was his first high school finals. He entered last year, but it was cancelled because of COVID-19.
“On Thursday, I was nervous because I’ve never been to the finals before,” he said. “Since then, however, every day has got easier because I felt a little more settled.”
He added: “It’s really good to have the finals in Maple Creek. It’s nice and close. I know the area and the set-up and know the cattle.”
Tate has a technique for maintaining focus amid the hubbub of a rodeo.
“I try to make it feel like a practice day., which makes it a little easier – a little less pressure. I don’t want to get distracted.”
Thanks to his rodeo background, Tate began building his skills early. He reckons he started team roping at about 7, along with goat tying. Three years later he began trying his hand at steer wrestling.
“I probably had the best chute dogging runs I’ve ever done on Thursday,” he said.
Unsurprisingly, Tate’s biggest inspiration are his parents, who were heavily involved in running the rodeo. His dad’s glittering rodeo career included many highlights. Although many of dad’s achievements occurred before he was born, Tate recalls going to watch him perform at places like Ponoka, which proved a particular favourite.
Donna also has an impressive resumé: she was a three-time Canadian champion goat tyer, and three-time Canadian Cowboys Association ladies barrels finalist. She recalls a provincial high school rodeo taking place in Maple Creek more than 20 years ago.
“I love them,” she said. “They are full of raw talent and pure emotion.”
Tate wants to continue doing rodeo as long as possible. Going to the Nationals and competing in steer wrestling – probably his favourite event – is one of his ambitions. After school, he would like to go to college in the United States.
“I am interested in firearms technology,” he said.
Of course, even at college, and afterwards, there will be time for rodeos, and yet more accolades.
TALE OF THE ‘TATE’
• Chute Dogging: Season leader and provincial champion; time scores of 2.200, 8.400, 100.00; total points: 166 (includes season points) – two buckles
• Team Roping (with Kohen Kaufmann): Provincial champion; time scores of 100, 100, 20.400; total points: 119 (includes season points) – buckle
• Tie Down (calf) Roping: Reserve Provincial Champion; time scores of 100, 100, and 17.400; total points: 86 (includes season points) – silver spurs
• Boys goat tying: Season leader and reserve provincial champion; time scores of 14.700, 14.300, 12.100; total points: 164 (includes season points) – buckle, engraved silver spurs
• Ribbon Roping (Finals Average Champion, engraved hat pin): 3rd place; time scores of 12.800, 10.200, 15.200; total points: 132.50 (includes season points) – halter
• Reserve Boys All Around Provincial Champion – buckle