Second annual Manitoulin Rodeo ropes in crowds and tackles another great year

MANITOWANING—It was a boot stomping, horse kicking and bull bronking good time at the second annual Manitoulin Rodeo this past Canada Day weekend in Manitowaning, which saw large crowds take in the show of local talent and rodeo professionals from Wildhorse Productions.

“It went really well,” said Manitoulin Rodeo organizer Kyla Jenson. “It was a nice weekend and a fantastic second event. We have already started planning for next year and can’t wait to keep growing this wonderful annual event.”

Saturday morning got started with the Western Gaming Horse show by the Manitoulin Horse Club featuring local riders showing their talent.

In the afternoon, the Wild Horse Productions rodeo brought cheering crowds as professional cowboys and cowgirls competed in bull riding, saddle bronc riding, bareback bronc riding, team roping, tie down roping, barrel racing, Jr. steer riding and ladies’ breakaway roping.

The TC Auto truck pull was also well attended and had nine truck entries.

The winners included Pat Glover pulling 6,000 pounds in the stock half-ton division and Tyler Corbiere who pulled 10,500 pounds in the stock 3/4 plus division, also winning the modified and anything that pulls divisions.

After a long hot and dusty day, cowboys, cowgirls and audience members let off steam at the country music dance.

Sunday morning, the rodeo started back up featuring the children’s rodeo with youths competing in homemade hobbyhorse competitions, hobbyhorse pole bending, a trail class obstacle course, team events and needle in the haystack.

Once again, the professional rodeo team filled the stands Sunday afternoon as the audience enjoyed the competition.

Sunday afternoon also featured a special show from 12-year-old Caleb Byers of Spring Bay who competed in the Jr. bull riding competition, taking his first seat on a live bull in the professional ring.

The Expositor caught up with Caleb Saturday afternoon to see how he was faring after watching fellow Jr. bull rider Sam Titley take his turn in the ring.

[pullquote]“I’m stuck in the middle of scared as hell and excited,”[/pullquote] laughed Caleb, who will be going into Grade 7 this fall at Central Manitoulin Public School. “My cousin Tyler is a bull fighter (who was also part of the Manitoulin Rodeo) and I guess he sparked my interest (in bull riding). I’ve done the mechanical bull before, but tomorrow will be my first time on a live bull.”

The Expositor spoke with Manitoulin Rodeo organizer Kyla Jenson on Monday who said that Caleb did well on Sunday.

“He held on for four and a half seconds (riders are required to stay on for 8 seconds to qualify),” said Ms. Jenson. [pullquote]“Everyone was really proud of him. His dad even presented him with a new belt buckle to mark the occasion.”[/pullquote]

The Expositor also spoke with 15-year-old Sam of Glen Robertson. The Manitoulin Rodeo marked his second year in the professional circuit.

“I grew up on a farm and bull riding was just something I’ve always wanted to do,” shared Sam. “When I was 13-years-old, I went to bull riding school in Orangeville and last summer was my first year in the circuit. I did about 15-20 rodeos last summer and this is my fifth this year.”

“I love bull riding,” continued Sam. “I just love the rush—the feeling. The most challenging thing was learning how to take hold with my feet. One day I want to be a professional, international bull rider in the PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association)—my idle is J.B. Mauney (an American professional bull rider in the PRCA).”

As for what advice Sam could offer new riders such as Caleb, he said, “Just keep holding on and doing what you love.”