Clay Elliott grew up watching his father and brother ride the bulls at the Calgary Stampede. Unlike the rest of his family, the 24-year-old from Nanton, Alta. chose to be a Saddle Bronc rider, and he’s the best in Canada.
On Wednesday, he thrilled almost 3,000 kids during Aggie Days at Stampede Park–the same day he found out he’ll be one of the 120 competitors at the 2018 Calgary Stampede Rodeo.
“To be on that list means a lot,” Elliott said.
“I’ve put a lot into rodeo and to see results like this, and get selected to be part of the 120 best rodeo cowboys in the world, is very special to me.”
Elliott is just one of 120 rodeo superstars announced Wednesday to compete in this year’s Calgary Stampede. Canada, the United States and places as far away as South America will be represented, but southern Alberta–as always –will have a very strong contingent.
Manager of western events Kynan Vine said selecting the field is always tough, but one thing remains constant: strong family ties.
“It’s a family event so a lot of them are third, fourth, fifth generation competitors like Clay Elliott,” Vine said. “Of course, through our novice events and our junior steer riding, we’re bringing up another generation of competitors.”
Elliott will have stiff competition if he wants to take his first title.
Zeke Thurston from Big Valley, Alta. is going for a record-breaking fourth straight Calgary Stampede Saddle Bronc championship.
And it all starts in less than three months for the Stampede Rodeo competitions.
For the full list of 2018 Calgary Stampede competitors, go to CalgaryStampede.com.