The horses were running at full tilt and the bulls were bucking with all their might this past weekend as the 11th annual Sun Parlour Rodeo took place in the Ruthven area, giving professional cowboys and cowgirls the opportunity to reach for a top placing in an array of competitive events.
For the 11th consecutive year, the Pavao family has welcomed around 3500 spectators and several rodeo professionals from the Rawhide Rodeo Company onto their property for the annual Sun Parlour Rodeo.
Not only does the weekend-long event give the professionals an opportunity to perform, it is also a way the community can pull together to raise funds for local causes. In its first ten years, the rodeo has raised around $130,000. In the past, the proceeds have gone towards various needs for Leamington Memorial Hospital. Since 2008, the rodeo has benefited the W.E. Care for Kids Foundation.
“Just knowing that we are giving back to people in the community makes us keep doing it every year,” Stephanie Pavao, an event organizer, said. “Knowing that people are benefiting from our hard work means a lot, especially donating to W.E. Care for Kids.”
W.E. Care for Kids, Pavao said, supports the pediatric units in the region.
As far as choosing a rodeo as a main fundraiser, Pavao explained, “We just like the excitement and the entertainment. They bring us a show that’s filled with excitement and lots of talented competitors. There is always something new that they bring to the show.”
A new feature to the Rawhide Rodeo show this year was the addition of the comedy styles of trick roper, Austin Stewart, who stepped in as the clown entertainer. He was formerly on America’s Got Talent.
She thanked the community, volunteers and the sponsors for the support over the years. “Without them we wouldn’t be able to be here and we would never put on a successful show like this.”
The rodeo opened with the help of the Canadian Cowgirls who paraded around the arena with their trusty mounts, raising the nation’s flag high. Then the rodeo professionals tried their luck at riding the broncs in the bareback and saddle classes, and roping calves in the tie-down, steer wrestling, and breakaway roping classes.
The women showed speed and precision in the barrel racing event before the bull riders tried to wait out the 8-second timer as the around 1800 pound animals tried to dismount them.
Mandy Peidl of Straffordville completed a clean run with her six-year old quarter horse gelding, Tippy, in the cloverleaf barrel race during the rodeo. The horse and rider combo is new to the Rawhide Rodeo circuit, and Peidl has been happy with their success so far.
Peidl got Tippy in February and she has been pleased with the partnership. “We’ve been awesome. We’re right up there with some of the toughest runners,” the 22-year old said, adding that it’s an amazing experience to run against some of her idols. “To run with them is absolutely amazing. To think that I’m at that level now is just unbelievable.”