Alumni Rodeo
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Olds College to Celebrate 50th Anniversary of Rodeo

The sport of rodeo was born out of the work done on ranches dating as far back as the 1700’s. Roping, riding, herding, branding, horse breaking, and much more were a part of events that were the frontrunners to rodeo; Frontier Days, Wild West Shows and Stampedes. These events brought the work done on ranches to the masses through competitions, although standardized events were not introduced until 1929. Prior to this, the events we know today, such as tie down roping, bareback and saddle bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel racing, and bull riding, were joined by activities such as Pony Express races, roping competitions, drunken rides, fancy roping and even occasionally shooting competitions.

Alumni RodeoBy the time Olds College Animal Science instructor Dennis Ratcliff established the rodeo program at Olds College in the 1967/68 academic year, rodeo was an established sport, with a number of professional associations, and dozens of the world's top rodeo athletes competing in standardized competitions for their piece of the winnings of a multi-million dollar industry.

In the 50 years since the Olds College Rodeo program was first established, it went from being an extra-curricular student team, to an accredited academic program, to today’s iteration as a student club and recognized sport under Olds College Broncos athletics. In that time, the program has turned out athletes who won national Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association (CIRA) championships, and dozens of cowboys and cowgirls who would go on to become professional rodeo athletes and compete at national championships.

Rodeo Team head coach Guy Kelley is excited to be the coach during the 50th Anniversary year, and to celebrate at the annual Alumni Rodeo on March 24.

“It’s pretty neat to be the coach for the 50 year anniversary,” states Kelley. “I’m hoping to have some of our original team members attend, and we have a number of members of the current and past teams register so far. The 50th year has been good, we’ve seen a number of our athletes place well, and we have the chance to bring home some championships at the CIRA Nationals this spring.”

The Alumni Rodeo will serve as the celebration point for the anniversary, with 11 events taking place in the afternoon; pole bending, bareback, goat tying, steer wrestling, tie-down roping, breakaway roping, saddle bronc, barrel racing, ladies cow riding, team roping and bull riding, and a Cowboy Social taking part later in the day.

“I’d like to see some of our current athletes meet up with our alumni athletes this weekend,” explains Kelley. “We have some accomplished alumni who have a lot of expertise to share, but more importantly, we’re all coming together to celebrate western traditions, and 50 years of success for Olds College’s Rodeo program.”

In addition to members of the current Olds College Rodeo Team, rodeo alumni from years past will be competing and in attendance at the event.