One of the longest-running rodeos in Canada is back for its 102nd year in Falkland with record-breaking crowds of 5,000 attending each day.
Falkland is a small community of less than 900 but over the course of the stampede long weekend, the community expects to welcome thousands of visitors. Three days of rodeo action, entertainment and cowboy tradition are returning to the stampede grounds.
“We have all the main rodeo events. Everything from steer wrestling, calf roping, ladies barrel racing, ladies breakaway roping and of course everyone’s favourite, bull riding,” said Melissa Seaman, Falkland Stampede rodeo manager.
The crowd fill the grandstands to watch cowboys and cowgirls from across North America compete. Saskatchewan’s Cruz McNulty, a professional Bareback Rider.
“You basically tie your hand in a suitcase-type handle and hope for the best,” said McNulty.
The three-day rodeo started out as a community picnic to mark the end of World War I. It’s an event steeped in tradition but it’s also an opportunity for fresh local faces to cut their teeth.
“Somebody brought a horse and said it had never been rode, so somebody bet they could ride it and that’s how it all got started,” said Mervin Churchill, Former stampede manager.
“They didn’t have no corrals or fences or anything, all they had was a ball field.”
All funds raised from the volunteer-run event are put back into the community, this year organizers are putting the money to good use by building a roof for the community skating rink.
The Falkland Stampede continues until Monday, May 23. The rodeo begins at 1 p.m. and the beer gardens are open to 7 p.m.
— With files from Megan Turcato