Local trick riders heading to North American Championships
A group of rodeo trick riders from the area will be representing Canada in Las Vegas next month in the North American Championship.
A team of 15 riders from Canada will be heading to Vegas for the competition from December 5-7. Among them are four riders from the rural vicinity of Drumheller.
Mackenzie Jensen, 13, of Rockyford, Jayana Hale, 11, of Dorothy, Shelby Burns, 17, of Bassano and Piper Yule, 6, of Wardlow are on the team. Bella Da Costa, 12, of Stony Plain also rounds out the contingent.
“It is about the same time the National Finals Rodeo is held,” explains parent RoxAnne Hale.
While the North American Championships have been held for a number of years, the Canadian Trick Riding Association (CTRA) is only a couple of years old. To qualify, the girls competed in Edmonton during the Canadian Finals Rodeo, Sundre, Athabasca, The Calgary Stampede, Rockyford and Teepee Creek. At these competitions, they earn points to qualify. The championships were held in Lloydminster on August 19 and 20.
“I have only been trick riding for 2 1/2 years but I am so
Elaine Stilling, George and Elsie’s daughter and oldest child said, “Though they have faced hard times, mom and dad managed to stay together through it all.”
When Elsie was pregnant with their third baby, she was diagnosed with polio. She was admitted to the Drumheller Hospital for one month until the baby was born, Then was transferred to Edmonton where Elsie spent another five months in the polio ward. Baby Humphrey was cared for by extended family during the day.
George would spend every evening with Elsie and money was depleting.
“I got a job with a man whose wife was in the same ward as Elsie. He was good enough to give me a job at the trailer manufacturing place. I worked there during the day and lived at Elsie’s aunt and uncle’s to care for the baby at night.”George said, “I would go and visit Elsie very night.”
Other than the six months spent in Edmonton, George and Elsie raised their family in Delia.
“We lived in town because it was better for the kids and me.” Elsie said, “George drove about 1 mile or so everyday to do the farming and to milk the cows.”
“I also drove school bus to make a few more dollars. The only regret I have is that I wasn’t there much because I was working so much,” George said.
Elsie responded, “I think it’s very important to stay home with the kids while they are young but it is just as important to support your family.”
When asked what the secret to a successful marriage is, George said, “If you’re not going to try, don’t even get married. You have to keep trying, you can never give up and you have to work at things.”
Elsie said, “Be prepared to put up with a lot. You both have to be willing to give and take.”
George said, “It’s been a rough life but a good life.”
Mackenzie Jensen, 13, of Rockyford performs a One Foot Stand. She is part of a team of trick riders heading to Last Vegas for the North American Championships.