Glencross event a perfect partnership

Calgary Flames forward Curtis Glencross is a familiar face around the chutes at central Alberta rodeos and chuckwagon races. Although he makes a living on the ice, his rural roots mean he’s not afraid to get his boots dirty. So when he and his wife Tanya decided to do some charitable work, centering it around a rodeo event wasn’t surprising.

Calgary Flames forward Curtis Glencross is a familiar face around the chutes at central Alberta rodeos and chuckwagon races. Although he makes a living on the ice, his rural roots mean he’s not afraid to get his boots dirty. So when he and his wife Tanya decided to do some charitable work, centering it around a rodeo event wasn’t surprising.

Cowboy friends were eager to lend a hand, and Friday’s third edition of the Glencross Invitational Charity Roughstock Event showed what a successful partnership it has become.

Glencross’s desire to make it a first-class show means he goes looking for top stock, and some of Canada’s best competitors in bareback, saddle bronc and bull riding.

This year, thanks to sponsor MountainView Dodge in Olds, the riders were also shooting for a one year lease on a Dodge truck. That was a big draw for invitees to take a detour to the Daines Ranch during the busy late rodeo season run.

The 12 riders are whittled down to the four best, who then choose the animal they want from the Short Go pen, based on their placing.

Bareback rider Ky Marshall came in first in the opening action for the third straight year. He chose Outlaw Bucker’s famous Ross River, and came up with an 84.5 point mark. But then three-time Canadian champion Kyle Bowers got on board another Outlaw horse called American Trip. His high-flying spur ride under the lights was given 87 points by the judges, so he claimed the Glencross title for the first time, and the keys to the black truck.

“They definitely made me work for it,” chuckled Bowers, who now calls Calgary home.

He’d been given a re-ride on his first horse, had the flank fall off the second, and had to get on a third in order to qualify for the final round — and a fourth horse — in just over two hours.

“I didn’t mind that when I was 20 years old, but as the announcer said tonight, I’m not 27 anymore. I’ve got to add another 10 years to that.

“This Glencross charity deal is an awesome event and it’s only getting better every year. Obviously when there’s that big of a prize at the end, every time they told me I had another re-ride, it’s tough to say no. At a regular rodeo, I probably would’ve quit after the second one. Here, you’ve got such a great prize at the end of the deal, you just keep going and hope it works out.”

Although both Bowers and American Trip are seasoned contenders, it’s only the second time they’ve met at a rodeo, and both times have been victories. There was no time to relish the win, though, because Bowers jumped back into his rig and was making a quick dash to Kennewick, Wash., for a regular rodeo the next day.

Marshall, meantime, did pick up some cash for finishing second in the bareback riding finals. He’s still excited about earning his third required placing in the tie-down roping last weekend to now qualify for the Canadian all-around race. He managed to do that in Pincher Creek, and then added in a bonus one at Cranbrook. With the success he’s had in the bareback riding, he showed up in first place for the all-around standings.

The Bowden cowboy was relieved to get his homework done.

“I was getting kind of nervous,” admitted Marshall.

“We were running out of rodeos. Every time you back in the box, every rodeo puts more and more (pressure) on you. Once you get that third one out of your way, then you’re just laughing from there. It’s going to be a good race.”

It was a first-class saddle bronc riding finals at the Glencross Roughstock event. Sam Kelts led the charge after marking 83 for a classy ride on Lady Hawk in the opening round. In the short round, his rodeo travelling partner Dustin Flundra made an outstanding 86-point ride on Devil Who, then Canadian champion Rylan Geiger bettered that by half a point on Quittin’ Time. Finally Kelts got his shot, nodding for his pick from the pen, Wild Cherry.

He made an aggressive ride and the horse gave him plenty to work with, and the result was 88 points, and a year with a new Dodge. The normally low-key cowboy was so excited he tried to fan the horse after the whistle blew. While that didn’t work out, he did pump the air with his fist, and give a whoop when he got back on the ground.

“From a bronc riders point of view, he was good to ride,” Kelts said about the horse, more calmly, a little later. “He took a bunch of rein and was really snappy. That’s why I picked him. I’ve seen him a couple of times. He’s just a really young horse, but he’s been outstanding. So I took my chances on the colt over the old proven horses, and it worked out.”

Kelts was still pumped about the new wheels for a year.

“It lets us park our vehicles at home, and it’s that much less expense we have going down the road.”

Like Bowers, Kelts and Flundra were loading up and heading out to a rodeo in Lethbridge the next day, before going south of the line in their bid to make the NFR, as well as the CFR.

“We’re still going down there pretty hard. Dustin’s in there and he needs to keep going. He’s real close to having it tied up, but he needs to win a little bit more. I’ve got an outside shot still. I’ve got to get to really winning, but things have been feeling good here lately.”

The crowds at the Daines ranch Friday had plenty to cheer about in the bull riding as well, with nine of the dozen riders scoring 80 points or higher. But in the finals, only Scott Schiffner was able to make eight seconds, and his 89.5 on Wrangler Extreme ensured he got the Dodge truck keys.

Although it seems like the Strathmore cowboy, who won the $100,000 at the Calgary Stampede, is on a roll this summer, Schiffner feels his season is actually a little cold.

“I haven’t been capitalizing at the rodeos,” stated Schiffner. “I’ve got some winning to do to make the CFR. Things like this are great, and I love this charity, and the truck is awesome, but I need to make the Canadian Finals. I’m in there right now, but I’m not safe.”

Schiffner’s a two-time Canadian bull riding champion, but he holds the record in his event for the most CFR appearances. He’d extend that to 14 if he could make Edmonton this November.

Yet not only did Schiffner ride at the Glencross occasion, he also lent a hand recruiting bull riders and stock for it.

“I’m a true believer, especially having my three little girls, in the charities they help here.”

With the Roughstock Event, a sponsor’s poker tournament the night before, a silent auction and concert after the rodeo, Curtis and Tanya Glencross hope to better last year’s $280,000 donation to Hockey Alberta and the Ronald McDonald house. They’re still doing the calculations for this year’s total, to be presented before Christmas.

But now Glencross will have to put his boots away and sharpen his skates, in preparation for the season ahead with the Calgary Flames.

“After we get the numbers stuff, and everything cleaned up here, I’ll be right back at the gym,” pledged Glencross.

“It’s a lot of work, but I’m excited to get back, and get that focus back on, and get skating and ready for camp. I’ll be on the ice five days a week now.”

At this weekend’s pro rodeo in Lethbridge, Ponoka’s Jake Vold split first in the bareback riding, for $1,726, while another Ponoka cowboy, Luke Butterfield, split first in the saddle bronc riding for $2,016. Butterfield also got a share of first in Coeur D’Alene, Idaho, to win $1,472.

Todd Gallais of Olds and his partner Grady Branden won the team roping in Lethbridge for $1,432 each.

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