Hometown riders will shine at pro rodeo
The 45th annual Airdrie Pro Rodeo is underway, and two days of competition have already passed.
Airdrie’s Russ Hallaby was one of the headliners of the bareback event, which took place June 28. It has been a slow start to the season for Hallaby, who suffered three broken ribs and an ACL injury last season.
“I wasn’t into rodeo much, I guess,” he said. “I had too much time off (after my injuries), but since Innisfail I’ve got more into it and things aren’t too bad. I feel really good. My ribs are healed up. I never did get surgery on my ACL. I told the doctor I’ll come see him when I’m done rodeo if it’s bothering me.”
Recently, Hallaby finished tied for fourth place at the Daines Ranch Rodeo in Innisfail, which earned him $2,400. However, a hesitant horse yielded a no time for him at the Guy Weadick Days in High River, June 22 to 24. The quarter horse mare Sam slipped, flipping him over backwards before he could get his hand free. He was eventually able to break free and the horse sent him “flying into the mud,” he said.
“She didn’t want to leave the chute. Usually she’s pretty good, but it was one of those days when nothing went right,” he said.
Having grown up in Airdrie, the pro rodeo has become one of the highlights of the season for Hallaby. He began competing at the novice level before turning pro in 2001. He won the event in 2006 and has had solid results every year since.
“It’s the hometown rodeo and it’s been a pretty good rodeo to me,” he said. “If a guy has a good day, you get paid pretty good. I’m hoping for first place. I have a pretty good horse that got me quite a few points in the last couple of years, so hopefully I’m a big winner this year.”
In addition to competing in Airdrie, Hallaby is also competing in the Ponoka Stampede and the Williams Lake Stampede in Williams Lake, B.C. Several other riders will also be competing at both Airdrie and Ponoka, including Steven and Jody Turner of Cochrane, Skyler McBride of Madden and Keenan Reinhardt of Cochrane. (See related story on page 20).
The June 30 rodeo will feature bull riders Steven Turner and Kyle German of Crossfield, as well as steer wrestler Tanner Milan of Crossfield. Reinhardt will compete in the novice saddle bronc, while local Winter Olympian Mellisa Hollingsworth will compete in the ladies barrel racing, both on June 29.
For a complete schedule or for more information on other Airdrie Pro Rodeo events, visit www.airdrieprorodeo.net