By Carlie Connolly
On August 30 and 31, Canada gets together to remember fallen cowboys. George Schreiner and Darwin Stuber came up with the event together and hold it every year; this year being the fourth time. Last year they had around 1,100 teams.
The event is all team roping, and is held in the grand stand in Medicine Hat. All riders from beginners to pros are welcome at the event. Family members, friends and loved ones purchase buckles to be won in honour of the person they know who passed away. The buckles are won for each category if the rider places in the top five in. This year they may make it the top six, as there are 60 buckles to be won, which is the most they have ever had. There is also a banquet held following the roping at around 6:00 p.m. at the Cypress Centre on the Saturday and Sunday. On the Saturday, the event begins at 9:00 a.m. with a break at 11:45 a.m. for the grand entry where everyone rides into the arena on their horses. They then proceed to sing the American and Canadian anthems along with Amazing Grace. ““We go through everyone’s names that have passed away and its kind of a tear jerking deal,” Schreiner said.
The spark that began this even was a man by the name of Doug, whose brother passed away. He wanted to put up a buckle for him to remember him by. And so, an event was then held at Schreiner’s place and word got around for the roping. People started calling to put up belt buckles for there loved ones and it stated growing from there. The first year, the ended up with 30 belt buckles from people wanting to remember their loved ones.
Right now, out of the 60 belt buckles they have this year, 40 of them are on display at the Medicine Hat Feeding Company. Last year there was 55 buckles. Every year increases with more and more people wanting to put them up for those they know that have passed away.
Schreiner got a call recently from a good roper that a lot of people know by the name of Marty Becker who currently lives in Texas and is flying here for the event. The event holds significance for him. “His dad passed away last year and they put up a buckle for his dad. He’s flying up, he wants to win that buckle of his dad’s” Schreiner said.
His mother put up a memorial buckle for his father to be won at the roping event and he wants to win the buckle for his dad. “It’s a big honour to win a memorial buckle for someone that has passed away,” added Schreiner.
“We have people come from all over Canada and a lot of people from the United States.” There are lots of people that come from Montana and from Manitoba to BC.
The event holds a large significance for many people here in Alberta… remembering those they loved.
At a roping held in Claresholm, Schreiner was asked to go to the announcers stand and an older man was there telling him he had attended the memorial event for the last three years in a row. He said it’s the greatest event he has ever been to in Canada and said he had wanted to give a sponsorship to it, knowing some good companies. He apologized to Schreiner saying he wont be able to go this year due to battling with cancer and only having a month or so to live. The man has made arrangements with his family that there is to be a buckle there for him every year after he passes on.