Ivan Daines is already a member of one hall of fame — soon, it will be two.
The inductee of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame is now gaining high recognition for preserving Alberta’s cowboy history in song.
Nearly half a century of his homespun singing/songwriting contributions have earned Daines an induction into the Alberta Country Music Hall of Fame by the Association of Country Music in Alberta.
To receive this tribute in his home province at a Jan. 26 ceremony in Red Deer “is a tremendous honour,” said the former saddle bronc riding champion who was born and raised in Innisfail.
“It caught me off guard, but … I am very proud, because I’m from Alberta and this is the Alberta Country Music Hall of Fame.”
Like his hero, the late Stompin’ Tom Connors, Daines said he’s always aimed to boost his country and his province through his music — as well as the heroes of the rodeo world.
“The songs just fly in,” explained the Innisfail native, “and a lot of times, they don’t leave me alone unless I write them down…”
His latest singles honour the achievements of legendary saddle bronc riders Marty Wood, of Bowness, and Deb Copenhaver of Washington state. Both were idols of Daines, who had an illustrious career himself as a saddle bronc Canadian champion in 1965 and 1966.
Daines attained top 15 world standing five times between 1968 to 1980. But when his rodeo career began winding down, he began paying homage to the sport through his cowboy songs — many of which can be heard on YouTube.
Daines, who has three children — country singer Denver Daines, WestJet pilot Dusty and realtor Brandi, who is married to former NHLer Phil Crowe — has released 11 albums in a career that was honed in the back of a pickup truck.
He recalled being among a bunch of cowboys who took turns singing country tunes to kill the monotony of the road between rodeo events.
“We would pass the guitar back and forth, and whoever wasn’t driving would sing his latest songs,” he recalled.
Daines’s first original tune, He’s Going Down His Last, Long Trail, about the demise of a family friend, was written when he was about 18 years old.
He later wrote tunes about the heroes of the Fort McMurray wildfire rescue and other people he’s been inspired by.
His musical chronicling has become so well known in the rodeo community that people regularly stop and ask when he’s going to write a song about a recent milestone.
“I just feel responsible for getting these songs written,” said Daines.
On Saturday, he will perform his Wood tribute at the closing of the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas.