One of the many things the CFR is famous for is their emotional opening ceremonies, and last night’s (Nov. 10) was exceptional for all the horse lovers in the world.
There is nothing more beautiful and majestic as a horse–especially a horse that has carried cowboys to countless pay windows, set records and has been recognized across the rodeo world.
Kolton Schmidt’s 12-year-old TR heading horse, Tuffys Badger Chex, known affectionately as Badger, was twice voted in as the Canadian heading horse of the year (2014, 2016). Then a few weeks later Badger made history as the first Canadian horse to be voted in as the PRCA/AQHA Heading Horse of the Year across the border.
The gelding PeeWee has had quite a storied career. Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame inductee Joe Lucas, a four-time Canadian TDR Champion who qualified for the CFR 22 times and the NFR nine times, competed on PeeWee. The gelding was then ridden by Kyle Lucas, himself a pro roper and now, although he is no spring chicken, PeeWee is teaching another aspiring roper what it takes to be a champion.
Then of course, there is the natural born steer wrestling phenomenon, Willy. His registered name is RTR Little Willy and six times the power house was named CPRA SW Horse of the Year in Canada, finished second in the PRCA/AQHA Steer Wrestling Horse of the Year race in 2004 and won the award in 2008. Willy carried four cowboys to world steer wrestling championships–Rope Myers (2001), Lee Graves (2005), Jason Miller (2007) and Luke Branquinho (2008).
One thing about cowboys, if you want them to talk, ask them about their horse, and last night in Rexall Place when these great rodeo horses were honoured, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house…