I have had quite a few National Geographic moments since becoming the Saskatchewanderer, but the Wood Mountain Stampede is truly cover story material!
Established in 1890, Canada's oldest continuous rodeo is more than a historical event. The phrase 'step back in time' isn't quite the right descriptor because I can see this vibrant and deeply rooted culture is so alive. The energy and enthusiasm for rodeo culture transcend generations here. Young folks in cowboy hats throwing lassos, look up to their local rodeo heroes sporting big shiny buckles full of meaning, pride and history.
Curtis Marcenko, President of the Wood Mountain Rodeo and proud father of Jill, his brave and talented daughter who competes in the ladies triathlon event (Breakaway roping, barrel racing and goat tying) showed me around the rodeo grounds and told me great stories about the horses and hills that make this place so special. In Curtis' own words, "When you practice rodeo, you lose lots of time, get hurt, but we love it! It teaches our kids the value of failure and perseverance."
Curtis was kidding about perseverance, I was blown away by the skills of the young riders in this community. Everyone could tell it was my first rodeo because my mouth was hanging open in amazement every time I watched a new event! People who can ride a horse then jump away from it while it's still moving, then tie a goat in the fastest way possible, are real Hollywood-level superstares right here in Saskatchewan!!
Not just famour for its rodeo, I also learned that Wood Mountain is the site of very significant Indigenous history. The famous Sioux, medicine man, Sitting Bull and as many as 5,000 Sioux followers took refuge here from the US Army after the battle of the Little Bighorn in 1876. A monument to Sitting Bull has been placed at the top of the hill overlooking the regional park behind the Rodeo-Ranch Museum.
Hands down, the rodeo experience is an iconic Saskatchewan must-do! I truly feel like I more deeply understand and appreciate Saskatchewan's ranching roots after being here and meeting so many inspiring people working to keep this culture living and active.
If you plan to visit the area, located just beside the Wood Mountain Regional Park you will find full service, electrical and non-electrical camp sites and many family friendly amentities. Best of all . . . pets permitted, lucky Fozzy!
Thanks for reading amigos! It's time for me to ride off into the sunset!
For exact location click here.