Thursday, September 7, 2017

Piikani Youth Rodeo roundup

Toni Lucas - The Piikani Youth Rodeo wrapped up its last run of the summer on Wednesday, August 30.  This incarnation of the Brocket Youth Rodeo started in 2013. as a way of getting kids together to learn new skills and develop self esteem. The event is sponsored by Aakom-Kiyii Health Services, which provides a number of vital outreach programs for Piikani Nation youth. Every Wednesday evening through the summer kids from all over the region have gathered at Brocket's Crowlodge Rodeo Arena where they can have an opportunity to learn and practice their skills in various events, including basic horsemanship, barrel racing, pole bending, calf riding, mutton busting, bull riding and more.

One thing it does is bring the kids together.  Ones who were learning a few years ago help out and volunteer in the ring.  Whether it is the first time on a horse, or you are already winning events to rodeos does not matter.  What matters is giving the kids a fun educational experience,  This event visibly helps to instill a sense of community among them, a peer group and a visible adult support structure for it. The program is designed to encourage and create self esteem,  and is anti-drug and anti-bullying.

Volunteers Otys Little Mustache, Stan Little Plume, Steven Wolftail, and Mackenzie Braithwaite
It gives the participants something interesting to do, creating a huge drop in youth crime rates in Brocket, according to RCMP Constable Tyrone Potts, who was the lead on reinstating the program along with Aakom-Kiyii Health Services.  He believes in teaching children confidence, and being around animals fosters that.  He has seen the new found confidence and community which the kids carry into their personal lives as well.  Some of the photos and videos included in this article are from private workshops Potts held in the winter and spring at Pincher Creek's Horseshoe Pavilion.

Jazzlyn learning to ride
For the final event of the season Pincher Creek Voice's Chris Davis acted as emcee (for the third year in a row), announcing the kids and helping create that real rodeo feeling.  Other groups and volunteers included Piikani Family and Children Services, Piikani Prevention Services, Mel Boerma, Elizabeth Conley, Smokey Provost, Otys Little Mustache,  Stan Little Plume, and Steven Wolftail, and Mackenzie Braithwaite.

2017 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Savanna Marie Adele Sparvier and Piikani Youth Rodeo organizer Tyrone Potts
After the rides were done there was a free dinner prepared by Muriel's Kitchen for all in attendance, and awards and hoodies were given out to volunteers and participants.  2017 Calgary Stampede Indian Princess Savanna Marie Adele Sparvier was a guest speaker at the closing, and participated in the barrel racing event earlier.  She has attended a few of the training programs and admits that she was  a better rider now than she was just one year ago.  She would like to encourage young people to challenge themselves. "Step out of your comfort zone.  Try new things."  She explained to all the young people at the end of the rodeo that you should pursue your interests, take chances, and to not feel that you have to do just one thing."

Latoya Strikes With A Gun
Calgary Stampede's Trish Joseph was one of the last speakers of the day.  "I had the opportunity to work with Tyrone in getting the Indian Relay Races demonstration off the ground this year at the Calgary Stampede... Tyrone has been a relentless volunteer in the community. Not only with this riding program, but also with what we are doing  at the Calgary Stampede.  You guys are very fortunate to have somebody like him to spend so many hours working in the community."  She let that information spread and then thanked Potts directly.  "On Behalf of the Calgary Stampede, thank you so much."

Related stories:

Instructor Mackenzie Braithwaite
Cowboys Hunter Little Bear and Lane Conley
Hayden Iron Shirt
Rodeo star Otys Little Mustache still owes us 10 push-ups after losing a Barrel Race challenge to Mackenzie Braithwaite
Barrel Racer Tanisha heading for home
Kate Conley

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