The Rodeo Circuit

Calf roper Larry Bull, from the Louis Bull Reserve, competing at the Calgary Stampede in 1993. He was one of the many Hobbema cowboys who benefitted from the Panee Memorial Agriplex, where they were able to train.
Photograph by Morgan Baillargeon, CMC S93-8660

Rodeo and Indian Days at the Ermineskin and Montana Reserves, Hobbema, Alberta

Although rodeos and horse racing have been popular sports in Hobbema since the turn of the century, it was between 1970 and 1990 that they reached the height of their popularity. From the mid-seventies to the early eighties, a number of Native communities in Alberta became extremely wealthy when oil was discovered on their reserves. Communities such as the Ermineskin and Montana reserves used some of their financial resources to develop professional rodeo and horse-racing facilities. The Ermineskin Reserve led the way in 1979 by building a multi-million-dollar rodeo and race track facility, the Panee Memorial Agriplex. It hosted professional and amateur rodeos, stock sales, auctions, horse shows, schools and seminars. In 1980 it became world famous through its Classic Rodeo and its annual Christmas Rodeo, held on December 26.

In 1984, the Montana Reserve opened its own multi-million-dollar complex, the Diamond 5 Rodeo Ranch. It too prospered as an internationally recognized rodeo facility from the early 1980s to the early 1990s. Since then, support for the maintenance of such large facilities has declined.

Ermineskin Reserve Indian Days and Rodeo Parade, 1979
Photograph by Morgan Baillargeon

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Introduction | What makes Native Rodeo Different? | History of Rodeo Associations | Rodeo Heroes | The Rodeo Arena | The Rodeo Circuit | Rodeo Events | Down the Road