Pro rodeo set to go Thursday outdoors PDF Print
Local Content - Local Sports
Written by Greg Price   
Wednesday, 13 July 2011 14:40

Go big or go home.
That motto certainly could apply to the 74th annual Taber Pro Rodeo, which starts its outdoor show on Thursday and runs until Saturday.
“We decided we needed to add a little extra to help boost our attendance. I think it’s going to be a very exciting year this year,” said Barry Jensen, president of the Taber Pro Rodeo Association.
The extras are many this year, besides the usual solid stable of rodeo fare. There will be horse-pulling contests and lawn-mower races on Saturday. Entertainment will include The Lee Taylor Band on Friday night and a hypnotist on Saturday, to go with beer gardens being open all three days of the rodeo. The Crazy Cowgirls will once again be doing trick riding also. A long-dormant practice of choosing a rodeo queen will be revisited this year.
“We haven’t had one (rodeo queen) for years. We thought it would be nice to start up the tradition again,” said Jensen. “We wanted to reconnect with the history of the rodeo.”
Saturday’s slate will also feature a pared-down version of one of the biggest draws of rodeo. Along with the regular bull riders, there will be mini bull riders.
“They are mini bulls, and these boys ride them, but they buck as hard as the big bulls,” said Jensen. “It’s sort of the same as your steer riders, but they’ll be riding bulls.”
While the mini bulls with younger riders will be a delight for spectators on Saturday, the bulls’ big brothers will be the usual sight to see as well.
“It’s Kesler stock, so you know it’s going to be good. They have that Born to Buck program up there and they breed all their own stock,” said Jensen. “Boy, they do buck. They are the number-one stock contractor in the world, so you can’t get much better than that.”
Last year there were cowboys from as far away as Texas at the rodeo and this year’s draw will draw cowboys from across Canada and the U.S.
The pro rodeo’s draw this year for Saturday’s gate will be aided by the Taber Chamber of Commerce, which decided to move Taber’s annual parade from May to the pro rodeo weekend. Weather concerns were the biggest issue for the chamber as it cited the move and according to long-term forecasts as of Monday, it looks like the parade will have no such weather concerns for Saturday as the parade kicks off at 11 a.m.
While Thursday’s rodeo slate has a 60-per-cent chance for showers, the expected high is still 25 degrees Celsius. Sunny skies are expected Friday and Saturday with highs of 25 and 26, respectively.
“The chamber looked to change their parade date and we were lucky enough that they chose our weekend. We are very grateful and pleased that they have done that,” said Jensen. “We hope it works out as a success for them.”
The pro rodeo organizing committee has been working diligently to make the 74th offering of the pro rodeo one of the best ever.
“When we finish up this year, after a month we’ll start planning for next year,” said Jensen. “Without the committee members that we got, this wouldn’t happen.”
Gates open for the pro rodeo at 6 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at noon after the parade on Saturday. Pro rodeo competition begins at 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday and at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Admission is $15 for general admission and $10 for seniors and kids five to 12 years old. Kids four and under are admitted free.
The rodeo grounds are located one-and-a-half miles north of Highway 3 on Highway 864 (Park Road).

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