Canada/US Rodeo Feud Ends
New Selection Process for Calgary Stampede Entrants Ends Rodeo Border Battle
By BILL GRAVELAND, Canadian Press
CALGARY (CP) - Only the top 20 cowboys in the world will be invited to compete in future rodeo events at the world-famous Calgary Stampede.
Previously the 10-day event, dubbed the Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth, took the top 50 contestants based on earnings on the pro rodeo circuit. But with so many participants, the quality of some of the competition was getting a little suspect, according to a Stampede official.
"Last year . . . the 762nd bullrider in the world standings competed at our rodeo and our bullriding was not up to our standards and we didn't want that to happen again," said Robin Burwash, rodeo manager for the Stampede and a four-time Canadian professional bareback champion.
"So we decided one of the things we can control is the contestants who come and now we can invite the people who are tops in their field."
Burwash said the Stampede will take the top five finishers from the Canadian Finals Rodeo, the top 10 from the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas and there are five spots that are Calgary Stampede qualifying positions.
The 20 cowboys will be split into two different pools in a round-robin type competition with $1 million in prize money being given out the final day. The winner will walk away with $100,000.
The new system ends a feud between the Canadian and U.S. Rodeo Cowboy Associations.
The two groups were refusing to sanction each others rodeo events and were no longer talking, Burwash said.
"There's no way the associations would have allowed us to have a select group of contestants and competing over a number of days so this is really going to give us a chance to sell the sport and sell the top contestants," Burwash explained.
The Calgary Stampede had always had a mutual agreement that any Canadian rodeo would also be approved by the U.S. PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association).
But Burwash said the American association sent an e-mail giving notice that it would no longer sanction any Canadian rodeos. That put the status of the Calgary Stampede into limbo.
"There was a lot of hurt feelings and also, the PRCA had made team roping mandatory in the U.S. If you wanted to be a CRCA rodeo, you had to have team roping," he added.
"After being a professionally-sanctioned rodeo by them for the past 60 or 80 years, all of a sudden, we couldn't be one without adding team roping to our list of events."
Burwash said from a business point of view it didn't make any sense to add an extra $600,000 to add Team Roping to the Stampede.
The new method of selecting contestants is attracting attention south of the border as well.
"All of the rodeos down in the States, the Houstons, the Denvers, the Tucsons, are coming up to see how it goes with the idea that maybe we've got something here," said Burwash.
:yay Great Idea! Better competition all the way around! Gotta love them cowboys! Especially in their boots, hats and chaps! Woo Hoo:teeth The Calgary Stampede is total cowbody craziness - for 10 straight days not counting the wind-up and wind-down. A FUN TIME EXTRAORDINAIRE - The City just parties! :drinkers :banana :elephant