By Kynan Vine
MEDICINE HAT, Alberta — Growing up in a rodeo family near Medicine Hat, Alberta meant one thing for certain: rodeo was going to be in your blood. With greats like Rocky Rockabar, Dale Rose, Wilf Girletz, Lloyd Fowlie, Cody Snyder and Benny Hern as your neighbors, it’s was hard not to be amerced in the sport.
Like the rest of us, Travis Winquist grew up following his Dad down the road and dreaming of being a cowboy. We used to sit and watch the greats of our sport and talk about how we would one day ride in the Medicine Hat Stampede and the Box Springs Rodeo or maybe even the WNFR.
Travis was known to his friends as a true cowboy in every sense of the word and of course bronc riding went right along with it. When Travis passed away in 2006 his brothers and his parents knew there would no better way to honor him than to hold one of the greatest saddle bronc riding events in Canada in his memory.
Medicine Hat rodeo fans are known for their keen eye when it comes to bucking horses. The tradition of the sport is steeped deep into the city’s roots from the first stampede in 1887 to being home to bronc riding legends such as Rocky Rockabar. Bucking Horses are part of the heritage of the sport and the tradition of the city so bringing the largest one day saddle bronc riding in Canada home to Medicine Hat would only make sense.
The 9th Annual Travis Winquist Memorial Saddle Bronc Riding has finally made its way home and one of the event organizers Bart Winquist could not be more proud to deliver this unique event to their hometown crowd.
Travis and his three brothers Curtis, Bart and TJ grew up outside of Medicine Hat where they spent their childhood on the rodeo road with their parents. It was only natural for Travis and his brothers to venture into the sport and specifically bronc riding. They have all made Medicine Hat their home base at one time or another and around Medicine Hat the Winquist’s are known as local cowboys and saddle bronc riders.
There could not be a better fit for the annual event that started out in Halkirk then moved to Oyen, to find its way home where it belongs.
“We grew up around Medicine Hat and our friends and family are all here,” event organizer Bart Winquist said. “Our brother TJ lives just on the edge of town so we find it fitting to bring this event home.”
The event will feature many of North Americas top bronc riders and rising superstars pitted against some of the world’s best saddle bronc horses. You are sure to see some of the finest saddle bronc riding there is at this one day $25,000 added bronc riding, the largest of its kind.
Entries for the event opened on Monday and the list of riders already looks like the who’s who of bronc riding. The list includes Canadian Champions such as Rylan Geiger, Dustin Flundra, Kyle Thomson and Luke Butterfield along with some notable American riders like Troy Crowser and Brad Rudolf. You will also see some young superstars with the likes of Layton Green, Call Marr, Jake Watson and the 2015 Calgary Stampede Novice Champion Lane Cust.
Needless to say, the athletes will be second to none.
“We are very excited to have some of the best stock contractors in the world at our event and we love to showcase some of the best matchups in the sport,” said Winquist. “Our family works very hard to put together an event our brother would be proud of. We get the best of the best in not just the stock and cowboys but all the behind the scenes workers as well.”
Not only is the event world class and sure to please but it is also for a good cause. All of the proceeds from the event will be donated back to the community for its local 4H clubs and sports programs.
“We are a not for profit event and we like to focus on being a good community partner,” said Bart.
What better way to spend your Thanksgiving Long Weekend Saturday than taking in this one of a kind event. Your $20 ticket will also include the after party with bands Cold Shot and Gas City Shocker. Tickets are available HERE. There is also a bus running from Maple Creek, SK to Medicine Hat and back for the event.
As far as rodeos and western events go, this is truly a one of a kind event for Medicine Hat. Be sure to make your way to the Cypress Centre October 10th at 6:45.