Cochrane bronc rider to compete at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo for first time
It is shaping up to be a busy summer in the rodeo arena for Cochrane’s Keenan Reinhardt.
He will be competing for the first time at the Airdrie Pro Rodeo, June 29 and then he is heading to the U.S. for the National High School Finals, July 15-21.
Reinhardt placed third at the Alberta High School Rodeo Association’s (AHSRA) provincial rodeo in Ponoka, June 8 to 10, which advanced him to the finals. It will be Reinhardt’s second consecutive trip to Nationals, which will be held in Rock Springs, Wyo.
The finals are considered one of the largest rodeos in the world, taking place over seven days with two rodeos each day and with 1,500 competitors from Western Canada, Ontario, 49 U.S. states and Australia. The Alberta contingent consists of 35 riders and the top four competitors in each discipline. Reinhardt will be competing in novice saddle bronc and is hoping to place within the top 50.
“It was kind of a lot to process all at once,” he said of last year’s finals. “You compete against a bunch of people you don’t see all the time. You’re looking more to do the best you can because you don’t know what your competition is like.”
Reinhardt took up saddle bronc last year, but according to his father, Kris, the young man’s love for rodeo dates back to when he was a toddler.
“He started riding when he was three, and right from the time he could ride, he’s loved everything about the cowboy life,” Kris said.
For Kris and the rest of the Reinhardt family, the 18 year old’s success at the provincial level and the opportunity to compete at the national level has been exciting and nerve wracking.
“It’s pretty exciting to see him find something he loves,” Kris said. “I’m pretty proud of the fact that he’s committed to it and working to get better.”
Kris attributes Reinhardt’s success not only to his son’s dedication to the sport, but also the local businesses, friends and family members who have supported him and helped him train over the past few years.
It is that support that has helped Reinhardt take his rodeo career to the next level. With a month between Provincials and Nationals, Reinhardt has been competing on the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association’s (CPRA) circuit. While he finished outside of the top five at Daines Ranch Rodeo in Innisfail, June 13 to 17, Reinhardt won both the open and novice saddle bronc categories.
Along with competing in the Airdrie Pro Rodeo, Reinhardt will also attend the Ponoka Stampede, which is also taking place over the Canada Day weekend. Then, he will compete on another international stage at the Calgary Stampede.
His family has been involved in with the Stampede for many years. He rode sheep at the Stampede when he was five years old, but this year will be the first time he competes in the novice saddle bronc. Other first-year riders may be nervous, but for Reinhardt, it is just another rodeo.
“It’s not really intimidating,” he said. “When I’m riding I don’t know how many people are out there. I just know what I have to do.”
Kris’ nerves are a different story.
“It’s a premiere rodeo and everyone’s stoked to see him compete,” he said. “It’s really exciting, but I’ll be really nervous.”