There was a special guest at the Ponoka Stampede Wednesday. But it wasn’t his first trip to the world famous rodeo. In fact, legendary rodeo stock contractor Harry Vold was at the very first Ponoka Stampede, 75 years ago.
“When I was a kid, I rode my horse all the way from where we lived out east of Ponoka in here,” recalled the 86-year-old cowboy, who makes his home now southeast of Pueblo, Colorado. “I did watch them ride three broncs, and my brother Cliff won the bronc riding that day.
“Back in those days there was no money. They paid him six dollars to win the bronc riding, and he was tickled to death to get it. Now this rodeo rates among the best in the world. They’ve got $45,000 in each event, which is unheard of, and that’s a lot of prize money.”
Vold was back to his home country to ride in the famous mile long Ponoka parade with his entire family, as part of the 75th anniversary celebrations. Yes, that’s ride, as in on horseback.
“Heck yes, I rode a horse in the parade,” he chided. “What did you expect me to do, walk? I rode the full length of the parade.”
Vold is in the National Cowboy Hall of Fame, and has been named the PRCA Stock Contractor of the Year in the U.S. an unprecedented 11 times. He still runs, with the help of his daughter Kirsten, one of the largest stock outfits going down the road. And he slipped away from his duties at Prescott, Ari., to take in the fun at Ponoka.
“I ride every rodeo I go to. I lead the grand entry, and stay a-horseback for all our rodeos. I’m going back to Prescott tomorrow and I’ll be riding there.”
Harry is also the father of Canadian stock contractor Wayne Vold, whose horses were featured in the bronc riding of the third performance of the Stampede. And they emerged the victors in the round, throwing some big name cowboys into the dirt. None was more disappointed than Ponoka’s own Luke Butterfield who lasted only three jumps on the aptly named horse Awesome.
The senior Vold was impressed with his son’s pen of horsepower.
“Outstanding,” he commented.
“I’d like to have a truck and trailer and steal part of them,” he added, with a twinkle. “I could use ‘em. They’re great horses. He’s really got a good set.”
The best ride of the day came from young Kryreon Geiger, at 79.25 points, and that’s likely a long shot to make it among the top 12 returning for Sunday’s finals. Taos Muncy’s 86.25 remains the leading mark in saddle bronc riding.
Erskine’s Traci Macdonald made a great run around the barrels, clocking at 17.46 seconds Wednesday, and that put her fourth on the leaderboard, where they’re still chasing the 17.11 from Idaho’s Susan Smith. It was a solid section of steer wrestling, with half a dozen cowboys moving into good position for a finals qualification. Best among them was Straws Milan of Cochrane, with a total of 10.5 seconds on two, and he’s sitting just behind leader Sean Mulligan’s 9.2. Idaho roper Matt Shiozawa wrapped up his pair of calves in 16.1 seconds, and that puts him third behind the 15.2 posted by Utah’s Jake Hannum. There were no challenges in the third performance of bareback riding to leader Jason Havens and his 88 score.
Utah brothers Kaden and Rhen Richard sizzled in the team roping, getting their two steers caught in 11.3 seconds, and a just three tenths behind leaders Trevor Brazile and Patrick Smith.
The bull riding lead changed four times and when the dust cleared, it was Steven Woolsey emerging as number one, for his 87 points on Vold’s Bomb Digity.
“That was a big stout bull,” said the cowboy from Payson, Utah. “He kind of fired out of there, and scared me that first jump. He was pretty strong, and I wasn’t sure I was going to get by him, and he fell out of there spinning after he had that first big one to the right, and was pretty good.”
All-Around champion Steven Turner of Cochrane was only a point behind him on the bull Torn A Part. He’ll be part of the steer wrestling, his other event, in today’s lineup.
The fastest time of the night in the pro chucks came from
The Ponoka Stampede continues today at 1 p.m., with the wagons rolling at 6:30 pm.
• Mark Sutherland had the fastest time on the second night of chuckwagons at the Ponka Stampede.
He worked his Swamp Donkey Oilfield Servie rig around the track in a time of 1:13.91 seconds, Mike Vigen in the White Owl Whiskey by Highwood Distillers Ltd. Wago was second in a time of 1:14.13 whil Kirk Sutherland had the third fastest time in the EMCO Cooperation wagon at 1:14.13.
Mark Sutherland also leads the agate at 2:27.74, Kirk Sutherland is second at 2:29.65 and Grant Profit is third in the Ja-Co Welding & Consulting wagon at 2:29.82.
Dianne Finstad is a regular contributor of the Red Deer Advocate and is the agriculture/rodeo director for Newcap Radio/CKGY/CIZZ FM in Red Deer.