With the stands packed with people to take in the annual Bear Claw Casino and Hotel Buck A Rama on June 15 and 16, the competitors were prepared for what resulted in an energy-driven performance. The name correctly depicted the event as horses and bulls bucked and dirt and riders went flying. The three rough stock events were definite crowd-pleasers and included bareback bronc riding, saddle bronc riding and bull riding.
Twenty-four competitors took part in the two-day event. The evenings started off with the Grand Entry, followed by the singing of O'Canada and a Cowboy Calcutta. Bidders from the stands took part in the Calcutta, with Winston Bear of Chacachas First Nations acting as the auctioneer for both evenings. Bids ranged from $20 to $100 and crowd involvement was entertaining in itself. Those bidders securing a cowboy won 60 percent of the pot for the event, if their rider indeed won the long go round.
Buck A Rama followed a typical rodeo format comprised of multiple rounds or go-rounds. All riders were given the chance to ride their randomly matched animal during the long go rounds. The competitors that received the most points, as determined by the judges, continued to the short go round. Two riders in each of the three rough stock events competed in the short go round following the intermission.
Barry Bodine, the rodeo announcer, got the crowd going when he announced the start of the first event. And with this announcement, came the bareback bronc event and six riders, all of whom stayed on long enough to receive a score from the judges. Following the bareback event came the saddle bronc event with six new competitors showcasing their skills in the ring.
For those that had never been to a rodeo before, Bodine did an excellent job of describing the rules of each event and explaining how the animals are bred for rodeo purposes. Gordon Marks from Manitoba acted as the rodeo clown for both evenings including the crowd in a number of activities including a jig with one of the female spectators and a snake-in-a-bag skit which involved a number of children.
The bull riding, a definite crowd pleaser, generated a high amount of energy from the riders, the bulls and the spectators. The result was an outstanding performance by riders on Thursday evening. While Wednesday evening saw no riders meet the eight second time requirement, Thursday evening showed both the guts and glory characteristically found on the rodeo circuit.
The intermission included a display of mini chuck wagon horses tearing up the ring. The horses, from Hawreluik Racing Company, are from Sheho, Saskatchewan and are owned by Clayton Hawreluik. The horses have attended the CCA and MRCA rodeos and fairs throughout Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Quebec and British Columbia. The horses in attendance are the only professional miniature horse racing performance in Saskatchewan.
Following the intermission, meant the final rides for the top two competitors in each division. On Thursday, Brad Dyck and Reve McCormick competed in the bareback bronc short go, with Anthony Caldwell and Richard Houston competing in the saddle bronc. The bull riding event saw competitors Jesse Lawrence and JJ Koopman ride in the finals. All competitors displayed a remarkable amount of courage and skill.
Winners of the Wednesday and Thursday competitions were announced following each short go round, with buckles and monetary amounts given to the riders. Wednesday evening saw Anthony Caldwell take first in the long go saddle bronc category, winning $640 for his high-scoring ride. He was followed by Brady Dinwoodie who took second place winning $480, Rhett Fitzpatrick in at third with $320 in winnings and Andrew Turvey taking fourth and winning $160. The short go winner of the evening was Brady Dinwoodie would took home an additional $500 and the event buckle. The bareback bronc competition meant that Clayton Strutt claimed first in the long go competition taking home $640. He was followed in points scored by Brock Mawhall ($480), Brad Dyck ($320) and Lane Collins ($160). The title for the evening was given to Clayton Strutt in the short go meaning an additional $500 and the event buckle. While the bull riders attempted their fate on top of massive bulls, the bulls were the winners overall, as no rider was able to finish their ride. As a result, $200 was provided to all riders in the competition, an even split of the event money for the evening.
On Thursday, the winner of the saddle bronc competition stood out as Anthony Caldwell took home $1,140 in prize money and the event buckle. Rickard Houston placed second winning $480, Rhett Fitzpatrick placed third winning $320 and Andrew Turvey came in fourth winning $160. The bareback bronc competition saw Brad Dyck place first with an outstanding performance which resulted in $1,140 of cash prizes and the event buckle. His performance was followed by Reve McCormick in second winning $480, Clayton Strutt in third winning $320 and Lane Collins in fourth winning $160. If you wanted to see bull riding, Thursday night was the night to attend. Numerous cowboys met the eight second mark, but two came out as the winners for the evening. First and second place were split on Thursday evening with both Jesse Lawrence and JJ Koopman winning $915 each. Jesse Lawrence took home the event buckle for the evening.
All in all, Buck A Rama was a true success as competitors and spectators enjoyed the display of skill shown by the riders, horses and bulls. If you missed it this year, you sure won't want to miss it again!