Stampede horse posts ‘phenomenal’ score

Stampede Warrior | Many horses from the Calgary Stampede stable spend winter on the American rodeo circuit

She was bred to buck, and buck she does — and breaks records while doing it.

Stampede Warrior, a horse in the Calgary Stampede rodeo stock stable, set a new arena record for saddle bronc March 15 at Rodeo Houston.

Cody DeMoss of Louisiana scored 94 aboard the mare, who is the daughter of famed Stampede bucking horse Grated Coconut.

Such a high score is rare in rodeo, said Calgary Stampede communications adviser Bonni Clark. The highest score ever recorded, 95, was set by Grated Coconut himself at the 2005 Calgary Stampede. A 94 might be a record score for the United States, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

“We don’t want to make any claims on that, but it is pretty phenomenal,” said Clark.

The mare also carried saddle bronc rider Wade Sundell of Iowa to the championship in Arlington, Texas, earlier this month.

Stampede Warrior began her career as a bareback horse but was switched to saddle bronc this year when her potential became evident, said Stampede rodeo and chuck wagon director Keith Marrington.

“She’s the result of an NFR (National Finals Rodeo) mare and a world champion stallion, so it just proves the fact that when you get the right genetics, you’re going to get the right offspring,” he said.

The mare has a sturdy appearance common to rodeo stock bred for the purpose, added Clark.

“They’re not bred to be leggy. They’re bred to be big and powerful and strong. That’s part of the Born to Buck breeding program, is to breed for the size and the strength and that competitive nature.”

Stampede Warrior is one of 48 Stampede animals on the Texas tour, where they have logged 120,000 kilometres and multiple rodeo appearances.

The animals do get pasture time while in Texas and will be coming home at the end of March to rest on the Stampede ranch near Hanna, Alta., until their Canadian dates begin in mid-May.

“They’re what I call the snowbird Canuck bucks,” Clark said.

“They go down, they’re hanging out for a few months at a time, down in Texas, and apparently the Texas sunshine really suits them because they have been bringing the party every time out.”

The horses have impressed American audiences, she added, and many of the bucking broncs have their Grated Coconut genetics to thank. The most successful pro rodeo bucking horse of all time is now “enjoying his job as prime daddy” at the ranch as part of the Born to Buck program.

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