Arte en la Charrería
The Artisanship of Mexican Equestrian Culture
By Terri Mason
The grande opening of Arte en la Charreria at the Royal Alberta Museum in Edmonton October 24 was rich in the sounds of mariachi music, ornately appointed dancers and shimmering cool lime margaritas.
The phenomenal exhibition introduces art patrons to the very essence of Mexico—the culture of the charro, or Mexican cowboy. It is a rich legacy of tradition and valour, of honour and custom, of war and peace. Charros take extreme pride in their highly developed horsemanship and roping abilities. To be a charro means to identify with a nearly 500-year-old heritage dating back to the introduction of horses and cattle to the New World.
The lavish gala, attended by the Mexican Consul General, Francisco Lopez Mena, Daniel Guttierrez of the Mexico Tourism Board, the benefactors of the exhibition, Gabriel Cabello of Guadalajara and his family, MP Laurie Hawn, MLA Mel Knight and a wealth of patrons toured the more than 120 examples of the excellent craftsmanship and design distinctive to the Mexican cowboy. The exhibition features leather work, costumes, textiles, silver and ironwork as well as works on paper that illustrate the life of the charro and the very identity of the Mexican nation. La Charreria is Mexico’s national sport.
This collection comes directly from Mexico and includes many never before seen splendors of the Mexican cowboy culture.
The spectacular objects in Arte en la Charrería—many dating from the late 1800s–come from prestigious collections throughout Mexico. Many have never toured outside the country. These pieces are more than vestiges of a nation’s folk traditions; they are examples of a rich tradition that continues to this day.
Arte en la Charreria at the Royal Alberta Museum is a must-see!
Arte en la Charreria Exhibition
Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton, Alta
October 25 2008 – January 25 2009
International Museum of the Horse, Lexington, KY
June 19 2009 – September 11 2009
National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum, Oklahoma City, OK
October 3 2009 – January 2 2010
2009 Miss Rodeo Canada Pageant
Congratulations and good luck to the contestants running for the ultimate rodeo title, Miss Rodeo Canada!
The contestants vying for the title of First Lady of Canadian Rodeo includes Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Queen, Allyson Heller, Miss Rodeo Okotoks, Aaron Courchesne, Miss Grande Prairie Stompede, Monika Ross, Miss Rodeo Stavely, Tara Slade and Miss Rodeo Wainwright, Candace Weber.
Each of the contestants bring a wealth of skills as rodeo ambassadors, earned by wearing the crown from their hometown professional rodeos.
For more information on the 2009 Miss Rodeo Canada pageant, visit www.missrodeocanada.ca.
Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede Queen
Miss Rodeo Okotoks
Miss Grande Prairie Stompede
Miss Rodeo Stavely
Miss Rodeo Wainwright
|Ken Perrin of Maple Creek on the infamous bronc, Blue Bill
Photo courtesy of Ken Perrin
Braided Rope Earns Bronc Hall of Fame
Ken Perrin gave me this historic photo of him at Watrous, Sask., making a ride on Blue Bill, the saddle bronc that will be inducted in the Hall of Fame this October. Notice the rope hanging down the bronc’s left hip – it’s braided into Blue Bill’s tail.
During his career, Blue Bill was banned by the PRCA because the gelding was considered too dangerous in the chutes. After Jerry Meyer’s bought him back he would “take a wrap” with the horses’ tail around the chute, preventing the horse from flipping. Eventually his tail was too short, so Meyers braided in the rope, extending the infamous bronc’s career by many years and earning him a place in the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame.
Empty Saddles – Iris Glass 1924–2008
|Photo courtesy of Glass family|
Widely regarded as the First Lady of chuckwagon racing, Iris Glass was born into the sport in 1924, the second year the “chucks” were held at the Calgary Stampede, when her father captured the first of many Calgary championships for the family.
An accomplished horsewoman, Iris won countless gymkhanas, competed as a jockey and selected and helped train many of the Glass family chuckwagon horses during her 80-plus years.
Iris also worked alongside Joe Carbury to broadcast chuckwagon radio reports for CKXL and CFAC “back in the old days.” She was on the air when her son, outrider Rod Glass, was badly hurt in a race wreck; he died shortly afterward of his injuries. The next night, Iris was back on the air. “You know, Joe, I might as well come up here and cry as sit down in the trailer and cry,” related Carbury. “She was quite a woman.”
The WPCA honoured Iris in 1988 with its highest award, Chuckwagon Person of the Year, for her outstanding dedication and contribution to the sport. She also received the inaugural 2004 Ty Tournier Memorial Award, given to a woman involved in chuckwagon racing who displays the qualities of nurturing and caring for people and horses.
In 2003, Iris rode tall as Grand Marshall of the Calgary Stampede Parade; in 2005, she received the Calgary Stampede’s Pioneers of Rodeo Award.
|After his arrival in Williams Lake, Gilbert Murphy speaks to reporters at the head of a mob of ranchers furious at the rising cost of fuel
Photo by Gaeil Farrar, Williams Lake Tribune
On June 21, Gilbert Murphy and a gang of irate neighbours near Williams Lake, B.C., hitched up six teams and wagons and, with 24 outriders, headed 32 kilometres down the highway into town and back to protest the rising price of fuel.
Diesel prices were then at $1.40 a litre and headed to record-breaking prices with B.C.’s new carbon tax.
Murphy, a 74-year-old horse rancher and former oil rig worker, says he couldn’t understand how gas prices could climb so high, so fast, in a country so rich in oil.
We weren’t always such pushovers, he says. “In the early days, when the Second World War was on, nobody wanted to fight Canadians. We had a reputation as a fierce bunch of fighting people, proud people. But politicians have made us into a wimp nation. We’ve got no backbone anymore.”
A new Ipsos Reid poll indicates 71 per cent of Canadians are “really angry or upset” about fuel prices – and that a significant proportion of the public don’t have an outlet for their concerns or their anger.
“It’s like having natural gas in the air, and if there’s a spark of some kind, it can explode, says Ipsos Reid senior vice-president John Wright.
|Cassidy Gordon and Sarah Beierbach earn “Cowgirl Up” honours
Photo by Duane Migowsky
Cowgirl Up Honours at Murraydale Stampede
Cassidy Gordon (3½) leads Sarah Beierbach (2½) on Sarah’s pony, Willy, in an almost-blazing run around the barrels at the 100th Murraydale Stampede and Picnic. When they came around the third barrel, however, the crowd started to cheer; the pony spooked, knocked Cassidy down and Sarah fell off and got a face full of dirt. Both mom’s rushed to their aid. The kids “Cowgirl’d Up” and later were back in the saddle.
The children’s bloodlines include Moorheads, Beierbachs, Udals, Lawrences, Faulkners and Gordons – all long-time supporters and players in the annual event. Cassidy and Sarah are definitely not the first among those clans to hit the Murraydale dirt – and they won’t be the last.
Well attended, the historic event drew fans from as far away as Ontario for the rodeo and family reunions.
“There were more than a hundred thousand people at Murraydale this year,” said Canadian Cowboy Country contributor Duane Migowsky. “I counted them myself until I ran out of beer.”
A Century of Welsh’s Saddlery and Western Wear
|Today’s Welsh’s Saddlery
Photo courtesy of Welsh’s Saddlery
Congratulations to Welsh’s Saddlery and Western Wear of Edmonton, a family-owned company that celebrates its 100th anniversary this November.
The original store was founded in 1908 by Robert John Welsh, who set up shop on 96th Street selling “settlers’ effects” – harnesses, axes, pails, shovels – to Alberta’s early homesteaders. Welsh’s was known primarily for its harness and saddle making, and in the late 1950s added western wear to become Edmonton’s first full-fledged western supply store.
R. J.’s son Lloyd took over from his father and worked in the store for 52 years. In the 1990s, the third generation – Bob and Gary Welsh and sister Sherry Worton – succeeded their dad, Lloyd.
The family expanded the operation and today Welsh’s Saddlery and Western Wear operates two locations in Edmonton: a Fort Road location at 13715 Manning Drive, and in the West end at 16504 – 100 Ave.
The Welsh family flies in the face of the old saying; the first generation makes it, the second maintains it, the third wrecks it. Their third generation has expanded the business and to this day, still builds their own leather products. Now that’s something to be proud of.
While in town for the CFR, make sure you drop in and join in the many centenary celebrations they have planned at their Fort Road location!
|Airwolf Deux, Airwolf Redux, Airwolf II – call him what you want, but this newborn stallion is literally a “chip off the old block ”
Photo by Candace Dobson, Viagen
Airwolf is Born – Again!
Franklin Rodeo’s legendary bucking horse, Airwolf, has literally been reborn. His genetic clone was born Aug. 4 in Texas. By all accounts, not only is he an exact gray duplicate of his famous father, but according to veteran stock contractor Shane Franklin, just as feisty as well. “I guess they went to get a hold of the little guy and he wasn’t having none of that,” said an elated Franklin. “It was no surprise to me.”
Cloned by ViaGen – the same company that successfully cloned Charmayne James’s barrel horse, Scamper – the Franklin Rodeo Co. pulled together a consortium, picked the stars of the Franklin string including Airwolf and Kingsway, dropped a whack of cash into the Texas company’s coffers and rolled the dice.
Now the aged and gelded Airwolf has a stallion mirror image. Shane and partner Kelly Armstrong are waiting to see what the recipient mares produce with cloned Kingsway babies.
“I’m in the bucking-horse business now,” laughed Franklin.
Empty Saddles – Dallas Dorchester 194–2008
Dallas Dorchester, 62, passed away Aug. 6, 2008 after a lengthy battle with cancer. A second-generation wagon man, over his 32-year career Dallas carved out one of the most impressive careers in the sport.
As an outrider, Dallas won the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby Championship three times (1968, 1970 and 1971) and was named World Champion Outrider in 1977. He was the 1984 World Champion Chuckwagon Driver, and won nearly 40 show championships, including the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby (1984 and 1991). As well, he appeared eight times in the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby’s sudden-death championship final heat.
|Photo courtesy of WPCA|
His record – five North American Chuckwagon Championships and five Grande Prairie Stampede Championships – still stands. In 1996, he captured the Richard Cosgrave Memorial Award. He last competed as a chuckwagon driver at the Calgary Stampede in 1997.
In addition to his winning ways on the racetrack, Dallas served as a founding member of the WPCA, serving as a driver director for several years. He was awarded the 1995 WPCA Chuckwagon Person of the Year.
In 2006, Dallas became an honorary lifetime member of the Ponoka Stampede, was honoured with the Calgary Stampede Pioneers of Rodeo Award and received the WPCA’s Special Tribute Award. In 2007, he garnered the George Normand Lifetime Builder’s Award.
Dallas is survived by his wife, Shirley, two children, one granddaughter, three brothers and two sisters.
Red Deer UFA store – Open for Life
|Now double the size, UFA completed their newly expanded, 40,000 sq ft Red Deer UFA store
Photo courtesy of UFA
United Farmer’s of Alberta (UFA) held a grand opening in June for their expanded Red Deer store. Along with their farm and ranch supplies, they’ve added a huge hunting, fishing and camping
department. UFA also quadrupled their new Frontier at UFA tack department, plus added western home accessories to the section, thanks to the new partnership between UFA and Frontier Western Shops of Claresholm.
To highlight their new outdoor lifestyle products, UFA held a contest; the grand prize was a five-day fishing trip with country music star Paul Brandt. Paul and the winners, Ryan and Bill Francis from Sylvan Lake, Alta., flew into Wollaston Lake Lodge in Saskatchewan and caught the Grand Slam of fishing: Pike, Grayling, Lake Trout and Walleye.
With more than $1.8 billion in annual revenues and 120,000 active members, UFA is one of Canada’s most successful co-operatives. 2009 will mark UFA’s centennial.
|Levi Lloyd declared Junior High School World Champion Chute Dogger
Photo by Danny Gibson, Western Star
Teen Albertan World Champ Chute Dogger
Congratulations to 14-year-old Levi Lloyd of Rimbey, Alta., who captured the Chute Dogging World Championship in Gallup, New Mexico in July with a time of 2.6 seconds in the final of the Wrangler National High School Rodeo Association’s Junior High Division. Lloyd was one of 150 participants from Canada, Australia and the United States.
As one of the top four finishers in the Alberta Wrangler division, Lloyd won the right to participate in the World Championships, in which he won a number of prizes including a new saddle, buckle, hat, boots, clothing and a $1,000 scholarship.
The young cowboy arrived in New Mexico as the division’s season leader and remained at the top of the leader board throughout the competition, with times of 2.2 and 2.3 seconds in the semi-finals leading up to the championships.
As for the future, Lloyd said he’d like to continue competing in rodeos and possibly make it a career option — although he admitted that, at such a young age, he doesn’t know just yet what he’s going to do with the scholarship.
|Dale Montgomery and Tex share their win with representatives from event sponsor, Halliburton. James Bement, Region Vice President, holds the $10,000 cheque.
Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede
They’ll Have to Rename That Trophy…
Congratulations to Dale Montgomery of Maple Creek, Sask. who had his name engraved a record-setting fifth time on the 11th annual World Stock Dog Championship bronze trophy. The competition, part of the Calgary Stampede, also represents the second win for border collie, Tex, owned by Shawna Burton.
|Viggo Mortensen, left, stars as Everett Hitch, and Ed Harris stars as Virgil Cole in New Line Cinema’s Western “Appaloosa,” also starring Renée Zellweger and Jeremy Irons
Photo by Matt Lankes
Yahoo! Another Duster!
A new western is riding into town this fall! Directed by Ed Harris and filmed in New Mexico, Appaloosa stars Oscar nominee Viggo Mortensen (Eastern Promises), four-time Oscar nominee Ed Harris (Pollock), Academy Award-winner Renée Zellweger (Cold Mountain) and Academy Award-winner Jeremy Irons (Reversal of Fortune) in this Western adapted from the Robert B. Parker novel.
The movie is set in 1882 in the Old West territory of New Mexico. Appaloosa revolves around marshal Virgil Cole (Harris) and his deputy and partner Everett Hitch (Mortensen), partners who have earned their rep as peacekeepers.
There’s a ruthless rancher (in the movies, ranchers are always ruthless) who has let his band of outlaws run roughshod over the town. (In the movies, ruthless ranchers always have a band of outlaws.) This results in the murder of the sheriff. Cole and Hitch are hired to bring the murderer to justice.
There’s gunplay, some really nice saddle horses (especially the ruthless rancher’s) and also a provocative newcomer, Allison French (Zellweger), whose “unconventional ways” threaten to destroy the two lawmen’s decade-old partnership.
I’ll be taking in this movie as I’m dead curious to find out just what “unconventional ways” might be…
Appaloosa hits theatres in October.
|Photo by Terri mason|
American Cowboy of the Year’ is a Canadian!
The National Day of the American Cowboy commemorates cowboy and western heritage as well as honours working cowboys and ranchers, western musicians and artists, cowboy poets and all the others who contribute to cowboy and western culture.
Since the inception of the National Day of the American Cowboy in 2005, each year West Quest has honoured an individual as West Quest’s American Cowboy of the Year.
The 2008 honouree is our own Hugh McLennan, who received the call from West Quest founder, Dr. Chick Bishop, on July 26, the Day of the American Cowboy.
Hugh’s career as a rancher, horse trainer, working cowboy, singer, entertainer and western broadcaster has spanned over 30 years. His weekly syndicated radio program, The Spirit of the West, airs across a large network of commercial radio stations in Western Canada and the U.S., and online at hugh-mclennan.com.
Hugh has also been the popular Voice of the Trainer’s Challenge at the Mane Event Equine Expos since their inception and a regular contributor to Canadian Cowboy Country magazine and Cowboy Country TV.
Previous honourees include Texan Dean Smith, one of the most respected and honoured stuntmen in the history of western movies, and Arkansas cowboy Rick Wheat, inventor of the Novel headstall.
|Photo by Donna Smith|
Empty Saddles – Fred Frederickson 1929–2008
Well-known Hereford breeder, stock dog trainer and teamster C. F. (Fred) Frederickson of Gwynne, Alta., passed away after a lengthy battle with cancer.
Fred began as a cowboy on the Bostock Ranch near Salmon Arm, B.C. where he earned his spurs under the guidance of Fred Nichol. In the early ’60s, Freddie hired on with the B.C. Livestock Co-op in Kamloops, moving on to be the field man and manager of the Merritt Auction yard. In 1967, Intercontinental Packers hired him as a cattle buyer; within a year, they moved him to Saskatoon to manage two feedlots and then a cow/calf operation. In 1981, Fred and Colleen bought their ranch in Alberta and began their purebred Hereford operation.
Fred enjoyed a solid reputation as a knowledgeable cattleman, judging shows across the country. He also devoted his time in support of 4-H, judging and supporting many achievement days.
Also known for his friendliness and also his draft horses, he and Colleen participated in a wagon trek in 1989, travelling from Maidstone to Maple Creek, some 300 miles.
Predeceased by his first wife, Colleen, Fred is survived by his second wife, Shirley (Field), his six children and many grandchildren.
|Luke Melvie poses with the Canadian Cowboy Country magazine chuckwagon tarp at the Cromer Stick Horse Rodeo
Photo courtesy of Cromer Stick Horse Rodeo
Cromer, Manitoba Chuckwagon Tarp Auction
Canadian Cowboy Country magazine and Cowboy Country TV successfully bid on chuckwagon tarps at the 7th Annual Cromer Stick Horse Rodeo in Cromer, Manitoba.
The Cromer Stick Horse Rodeo featured a full day of rodeo, ranch horse and wild west events such as barrel racing, bull riding, bronc riding, wild cow milking, steer wrestling and branding, bareback shooting and the grand finale, chuckwagon racing.
After the pancake breakfast came the tarp auction; each child told bidders about their frisky mounts and their rodeo experience. Bidding was brisk and capped at $50. (The money goes to their education fund.)
The big parade starred the knee-high rodeo contestants and their chuckwagons. Then the rodeo was on!
|Contestants hunker down in the wild cow milking event
Photo courtesy of Cromer Stick Horse Rodeo
At the Cromer Stick Horse rodeo everyone is a winner, including the parents and family members encouraged to ‘cowboy up,’ and ‘ride’ alongside. Major sponsors include Enbridge and Ranchers Welding.
The end of the day witnessed the exciting moment when, one at a time, each pint-sized rodeo contestant picked their prize from a table weighed down with sponsor-supported treasures.
Congratulations to our Cromer Cowboys who rode for the brand: Luke Melvie from Winnipeg, sponsored by Canadian Cowboy Country magazine and Reilly Marsh, Redvers, Sask., sponsored by Cowboy Country TV.
|Photo by Carol Easton|
Empty Saddles – Herman Flad 1940 – 2008
Herman Flad died tragically August 5 in a highway accident while driving his liner load of chuckwagon horses from the WPCA Dodge Pro Tour Championship in Strathmore to the Battle of the North in Dawson Creek. He was 68. As well, 14 of his 15 horses also perished.
Flad, a veteran driver with more than 35 years experience, won several major and prestigious chuckwagon championships including the inaugural WPCA Pro Tour Championship, the Calgary Stampede Rangeland Derby, the Grande Prairie Stampede, the Klondike Chuckwagon Derby in Edmonton; twice he won the Cheyenne Frontier Days championship. Herman qualified for the Calgary Stampede’s sudden-death championship final heat four times, was a two-time winner of the WPCA’s Most Improved Chuckwagon Outfit Award and won the 1980 Northern Professional Chuckwagon Association Championship.
Herman is survived by his wife Jean, three children and nine grandchildren.
|Corleen LeClercque and her barrel horse, Troublesome Robin, pose with her Flaman Trailers Hi-Point Champion Living Quarters trailer
Photo by Mike Copeman
Flaman Trailers and Barrel Racers
Congratulations to Corleen LeClercque of Holden, Alta., on earning the 2008 Hi-Point Championship at the Alberta Barrel Racing Association Finals held in Camrose in August. LeClercque won the use of a new Elite Living Quarters horse trailer for the next year, sponsored by Flaman Trailers of Edmonton.
When the dust settled from the weeklong barrel racing event, LeClercque ran the fastest time with a 14.583 on her horse Troublesome Robin. She placed in the top of both go-rounds, tallying up the most points for the Hi-Point award.
“I couldn’t be happier with this recipient because I know the trailer will be used lots and promoted well,” said long time ABRA supporter John Laursen of Flaman Trailers. Over 1,300 blazing runs were posted from competitors that ranged from the age of 3 to 63.
The Youth Hi-Point Championship saddle went to Dani Wearden and her horse Dixie. For a complete list of the 2008 champions, visit albertabarrelracing.com.
|Photo courtesy of Calgary Stampede|
Calgary Stampede Honours Bronc in 2009 Poster
The Calgary Stampede has unveiled its 2009 poster, created by Jody Skinner. It pays tribute to the Stampede’s star bareback bronc – Grated Coconut.
Dr. David Chalack, vice-chairman of the Calgary Stampede, together with Skinner, unveiled the 2009 poster. “I have always been impressed with the way Jody captures the horse in action,” says Chalack. “With a passion for the western way of life, Jody has immersed herself in many Stampede experiences.”
The painting, July Explosion: Grated Coconut, immortalizes the great bucking horse with a generic cowboy on board.
The 1,600-pound stallion is a product of the Stampede’s Born to Buck program and is a featured bucking star at all the major rodeos across North America. Grated Coconut is a four-time Canadian champion and four-time world bareback champion.
“For me, it’s a privilege to have the opportunity to share in that pride and capture on canvas one of the Stampede’s and world’s finest athletes,” says Skinner, a self-taught western artist who lives and paints in Calgary.
In 1993, Skinner began exhibiting her work at the Stampede’s Western Art Auction and then in 1998 as an artist in the Western Art Salons. She has participated in both the Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction and Western Art Salons every year since. Her awards include the 1998 and 2002 Calgary Stampede Western Art Auction Best of Show and the Collectors’ Choice in 1999 and 2000.
The original oil on linen painting sold for a record-smashing $105,000 at the Western Art Auction.
|Two-time World Champion chuckwagon driver Buddy Bensmiller on the deck of the Carnival Liberty cruise ship overlooking Limon, Costa Rica.
Photo by Billy Melville
Where in the World is
Canadian Cowboy Country?
Buddy Bensmiller was one of the many drivers and their wives to enjoy the second annual Chuckwagon Radio Network cruise travelling to Cozumel, Mexico; Limon, Costa Rica and Colon, Panama last year.
Other WPCA chuckwagon personnel to make the trip: drivers Grant Profit, Stan Waddell, Leo Tournier and Rick Fraser; outrider Ryan McAleney; WPCA race secretary Norm Braybrook; the Chuckwagon Radio Network’s Executive Producer Jamie Tiessen; roving reporter Kim Tournier; radio host Dan Butler and colour commentator Billy Melville.