Stampede rodeo lineup announced

SCOTT FISHER, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 8:11 PM ET

Every cowboy who’s ever pulled on a pair of boots wants to compete at the Calgary Stampede.

The world’s richest outdoor rodeo yesterday released its roster for the 2010 event.

And, once again, it boasts the biggest names in the sport.

Headlined by Calgary’s world champion steer wrestler Lee Graves, 120 of the world’s top cowboys and cowgirls will compete for $2 million this summer.

Stampede vice president Paul Rosenberg said the July 9-18 event promises to be the best yet.

“Beyond a shadow of a doubt, it’s the best roster we’ve had since we changed our format in 2006,” Rosenberg said.

“We’ll have nine more Canadian and world champions than we had last year.”

Stampede senior manager Keith Marrington said the star-studded roster will make for another eye-popping event.

“Some people called last year’s Stampede the greatest rodeo competition ever staged — anywhere — and this year, our invite list boasts even more champions,” Marrington said of the roster that includes 64 current and past champions.

“Looking down the list, it’s a thrill to know we have 25 world champions, 24 Canadian champions and 15 Calgary Stampede champions in the field.”

Rod Hay, who leads the world saddle bronc standings after claiming a $54,250 windfall in Houston earlier this month, will be looking for his fifth Stampede buckle.

“The Calgary Stampede is the one rodeo every summer that can definitely make your entire year,” said Hay, an eight-time Canadian champion.

“There’s nothing greater than to climb up on that grandstand stage in front of thousands of fans to accept the winner’s cheque.”

All six Canadian champions are in the field: Kyle Bowers (Brooks, bareback), Brett Thompson (Medicine Hat, bull riding), Alwin Bouchard (Scandia, Alta., calf roping), Cody Cassidy (Donalda, steer wrestling), Gaylene Buff (Westwold, B.C., barrel racing) and saddle bronc champ Chet Johnson, who hails from Gillette, Wyo.

Cassidy is also leading the world standings after winning the Houston event this month and will be joined by brother Curtis in the bulldogging event.

Will Lowe (Canyon, Tex.), the Stampede’s two-time defending bareback king, is gunning for a three-peat but will be tested by Canadian superstar Davey Shields Jr. (DeWinton).

The usual group of American ropers — Fred Whitfield (Hockley, Tex.), Blair Burk (Durant, Okla.), Stran Smith (Childress, Tex.), and defending world champ Trevor Brazile (Decatur, Tex.) — will keep things moving at the timed-event end of the infield.

Jesse Kruse (Great Falls, Mont.) is one of the favourites to watch after winning his first world saddle bronc title last December in Las Vegas.

Albertans Deb Renger (Okotoks) and Lindsay Sears (Nanton) should give Canadian fans plenty to cheer about in the barrel racing.

As will Canadian bull riders Scott Schiffner (Strathmore) and Tyler Thomson (Black Diamond).

The bull riding field is the only event that hasn’t been filled. There are three spots remaining that will be filled through the PBR standings June 1.

scott.fisher@sunmedia.ca


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