Organizers of a 59-year central Alberta rodeo tradition are rarin’ to go.
Innisfail Pro Rodeo kicks off unofficially on Thursday with slack events beginning at 11 a.m. at Daines Ranch, just north of Innisfail.
The main draw storms out of the chutes at 7 p.m. on Friday. Competitors will show their grit in bareback riding, tie-down roping, team roping, steer wrestling, barrel racing, saddle bronc riding and bull riding.
The first night will feature a performance by trick rider Niki Flundra.
Organizer Dustin Daines said the rodeo is coming off two record years for crowds and based on pre-sales he expects another big turnout.
“The weather’s looking pretty good. It should be a great weekend and on par with the last couple of years, which have been record weekends at the Daines Ranch,” said Daines.
Environment Canada is forecasting temperatures in the low 20s C and sporadic showers, which is no problem for the rain-or-shine event.
Among the top Canadians competing are Airdrie saddle bronc rider Jake Vold, bareback riders Zeke Thurston, from Big Valley, and Ty Taypotat, from Regina. American competitors include South Dakota saddle bronc rider Chuck Schmidt and Oklahoma bull rider Sage Kimsey.
Many of the horses are descendents of some of the top broncs from the Calgary Stampede, he said.
“It will be good to watch these guys on good horses.”
Saturday begins with the Innisfail Rotary Rodeo Parade, which begins at 10:30 a.m. The second rodeo begins at 1:30 p.m., with Flundra back to entertain. The evening rodeo starts at 7 p.m. on Saturday and will include a performance by Full Throttle Trick Riders.
A dance hall, free with rodeo admission, takes place at 9:30 p.m. with country/rock music artist Dean Ray, from Three Hills, taking the stage.
Sunday’s rodeo starts at 1:30 p.m. and will include another Full Throttle performance.
For more information go to www.innisfailprorodeo.com