Val Marie’s 50th Anniversary

Signs highlighting two of the three main 'claims to fame’ held by Val Marie; Bryan Trottier, and Grasslands National Park which is home to Canada’s only prairie dog colony. The third claim is that Val Marie was the end of the Western Trail; the cattle drive route that began in Texas and wound its way to Canada in the late 1800s.
Signs highlighting two of the three main ‘claims to fame’ held by Val Marie; Bryan Trottier, and Grasslands National Park which is home to
Canada’s only prairie dog colony. The third claim is that Val Marie was the end of the Western Trail; the cattle drive route that began in Texas and wound its way to Canada in the late 1800s.

In Sept, 1965 Val Marie, Sask., staged an invitational rodeo in the skating rink; local rancher and bucking horse man Bobby Larson provided the broncs. The following year the event was sanctioned by what is now the Canadian Cowboys Association and has been ever since.

Many believe it is the oldest consecutive indoor rodeo in the province. Amongst the local kids entered in the Boys Steer Riding those first couple of years was a Metis youngster by the name of Bryan Trottier. You may have seen or heard his name before; it’s engraved on the Stanley Cup seven times. “I rode in a couple of them,” explains Bryan. “I borrowed Donnie Gillespie’s equipment. Dad would have just loaded us up, brought us to town and plunked me on a steer.”

“Oh yeah, I remember it all,” laughs Bryan. “Merv Timmons and big Rene Cornet hollering, ‘Are you ready? Are you ready?’ Even though I hollered, ‘No, I’m not ready!’ they’d open the gate anyway.”

This year from Sept 19 – 21 the folks in southern Saskatchewan will be whooping it up and making more memories at the 50th Annual Anniversary. Some things remain the same, but other things change. Even though it’s in the same building it’s no longer just the Val Marie indoor rodeo. It’s now known as the Bob Larson Memorial Rodeo and it’s held in the Bryan Trottier Arena.

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