Calgary – A Calgary Stampede championship buckle is something many a cowboy and cowgirl dream of, entranced by becoming a part of the legendary history of the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, not to mention the bragging rights that come with the hardware.
There’s dreaming, and then there’s the reality of holding that coveted silver-and-gold buckle in its black velvet presentation box.
“I’ve just got my first Stampede buckle. How do you describe that?” an elated Doug Webb said out back of the Scotia Saddledome, fresh off his win in 10 Class Team Cattle Penning Sunday night. “It actually happened.”
Along with Christine Gray of Agassiz, B.C., and Travis Van Dongen, of Maple Ridge, B.C., Webb led the pack all four rounds of the competition, posting a combined time of 150.730 with 12 head penned to earn a healthy payout of $33,900. Van Dongen double dipped in the payoff pool by riding with mother-and-son Sue Norquay and Spencer Gamache of Quesnel, B.C. on the Reserve Champion team. The trio took home $22,600 for their time of 154.360 with 12 animals penned.
“I’ve got no idea, to be honest,” the 21-year-old Van Dongen said of what he’s going to do with his winnings.
Team Cattle Penning gives a team of three riders on horseback 60 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30 and direct them into a 16-foot-by-24-foot pen at the opposite end of the arena. It’s a fast-paced dance between the riders, their mounts and the cattle they’re aiming to pen.
Teamwork is paramount, with all three riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen. Teams of riders enter the Stampede’s four classes based on relative skill and experience — in ascending order from 7 Class, to 10 Class, to 14 Class, to the trainers and travelling professionals of the Open Class. The Calgary Stampede Team Cattle Penning Championships pay out in excess of $200,000 cash and awards over all four classes. This year, 652 teams vied for the 20 available spots in each of the four classes.
It’s only the second time Gray has competed on a team with Van Dongen and Webb, who hails from Enderby, B.C. Given their track record, it’s a combination the three friends are sure to roll the dice on again.
“I’ve been penning for eight years and it’s just super fun,” Gray said. “We did have quit a bit of luck on our cattle draw, so we’re thankful for that. You just trust your partners and go for it.”
For full results, please visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/results
About the Calgary Stampede
The Calgary Stampede celebrates the people, the animals, the land, the traditions and the values that make up the unique spirit of the west. The Calgary Stampede contributes to the quality of life in Calgary and southern Alberta through our world-renowned 10-day Stampede, year-round facilities, western events and several youth and agriculture programs. Exemplifying the theme We’re Greatest Together; we are a volunteer-supported, not-for-profit community organization that preserves and celebrates our western heritage, cultures and community spirit. All revenue is reinvested into Calgary Stampede programs and facilities.
See more at calgarystampede.com