Submitted by Fred Hauck
With the majority of stampedes over with for southern Alberta, and fall upon us, thoughts turn to harvesting, crops, gardens and fall fairs like Irvine’s 20 Mile Post Days (Sept. 3-5). There are, however, a few rodeos still to take place, like the one in Patricia (Sept. 2-4).
Many local areas used to have some sort of sports day, fair or stampede. Bowell had a yearly sports day back in the 1920s. Box Springs used to have their annual picnic. Both featured some type of rodeo events— mostly horse-related races and bucking competitions, but also steer-riding and wild cow milkings. A few early contestants in these events were Norm Dixon, Joe Jacobson, Joe Tester, Maggie Davison and Severin Olson.
As early as 1926 Redcliff had a bucking horse competition with a trophy and a $50 prize. The first stampede committee was comprised of W. Dacre, President; Wilf Campeau, Vice President; A.M.M. McKenzie, Treasurer; Ed Stone, Secretary; Rex Rose, Field Manager; and George Wort, Grounds Manager. There was also a finance committee, school committee, athletic sports committee, and an advertising committee. Available funds on hand for 1927 were $190.75. Contestant entry fees in 1927 were $1.00 or $2.00, depending on the event. George Delinks provided 20 bucking horses and Norm Dixon provided 20 steers.
The earliest of the stampedes were held on Joe Jacobson’s land in the area of the present day Redcliff Campground.
Here are a few highlights from those early years:
Record crowds attended the 1927 stampede as it was also Canada’s Diamond Jubilee. It was estimated that 500 cars surrounded the half mile enclosure. Judges for some of the events were John Ellis, Jessie Bishop and George Dixon.
The 1928 stampede included for the first time Roman Riding. Roman Riding is where two bareback horses run side by side with a person on top, one foot on each.
The 1932 stampede included a parade and a benefit dance. Couples were charged fifty cents. George Henchel, a well known local horse buyer, provided the bucking horses.
In 1934 the stampede had the raffling of a “well-broke” Shetland pony. It was never stated where the pony came from, but a good guess would probably be the Dubeau family, perhaps.
The cows, steers and calves used in 1936 came from Adam Dubeau.
The year 1937 saw declining support for the stampede, and things began to dwindle from then until 1940. The end was inevitable when a meeting on May 18, 1940 was held to discuss the dissolving of the stampede association. Mr. R. Rindahl was the President then and W.H. Dacre was the Secretary-Treasurer. At that meeting they voted to dissolve, and any money left over was donated to the Redcliff Legion and the Red Cross.
Some early contestants in the Redcliff stampede were Red Jacobson, Joe Jacobson, Joe Tester, Joe Wells, Lorne Thompson, Annie Tester, Allan Ellis, Graham Ellis and Bob Page.