“It just doesn’t get any better than this – it’s a dream of a lifetime.”
Harvey Penner (Steinbach MB), Robert Buneau (St. Pierre MB) and Darcy Brown (Steinbach, MB) beat out the 2019 Champions – the Armstrong brothers from BC – by just one second to claim first place in the Calgary Stampede Open Class – Team Cattle Penning competition.
Team cattle penning is a show of athleticism and skills as horse and rider square off against the herd instincts of cattle.
The fast-paced event gives a team of three riders on horseback 60 seconds to separate three specifically identified cattle from a herd of 30 and get them into a 20’ x 24’ pen at the opposite end of the arena. Teamwork is the key to success with all three riders working in harmony to cut out the correct cattle and drive them to the pen.
The Calgary Stampede Team Cattle Penning Championships features teams vying for championship buckles in four different classes, each determined by the skill and experience of the competitors. The Open Class showcases the best of the best and competition was fierce amongst the 20 teams.
Just prior to the event, long-time Stampede volunteer and Cattle Penning Judge, Pete Fraser stated, “Winning Belt Buckles at the Calgary Stampede can make a grown man cry.” He wasn’t wrong.
“It’s feels awesome,” Brown said as he choked back tears. “We’ve been coming to the Stampede for quite a few years now. We were finally able to talk Harv into coming with us and we’ve been chasing this Open buckle for a long time. It just feels really good.”
The time separating the champions and the reserve champions was just one second. The winning Manitoba team had a total time of 134.87 for the three rounds earning them a pot of $7905, while the Armstrong brothers had a total time of 135.87 seconds for the three rounds earning them $5271.
Bruneau credits the team’s success to hard work a deep-rooted trust in each other.
“This team has been riding together for many years now, we know each other, we know where each other is going to be and we always got each other’s backs so when you go into the herd you know your partner is going to be there.”
Penner tips his hat to the hard-working horses on the team.
“This is JD for John Deere, and the reason for that is because every time you drive a John Deere you get a smile on your face, just like when you ride this horse.”
For full results from the Open Class – Team Cattle Penning, please visit ag.calgarystampede.com/results.