13th Annual Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede Parade
Dedicated Rodeo Family named 2022 Stettler Steel Wheel Stampede Honourary Parade Marshals
They say rodeo is in the blood, and for the Weatherly family, nothing more could be closer to the truth. Growing up on a farm near Taber, Alberta; Elda got her first taste of rodeo by helping run the stopwatch for the timed events at local performances. Meeting her husband Stan while he was a contestant in the steer wrestling and calf roping events; the two tied the knot in 1963 and continued their passion for rodeo by raising rough stock. By 1971, the couple formed their multi-award-winning rodeo stock contracting businesses known as Big Country Rodeo. For over 40 years and while raising their children Donna, Diane & Warren; Elda and Stan have supplied stock to a wide variety of rodeos across Canada including nearly three decades for the Calgary Stampede and every Canadian Finals Rodeo since its inception in 1974.
But that is not all the couple has contributed over the years. Running a rodeo at any level is a choreography of events making sure each portion runs smoothly so the next can take place. Behind the scenes, Elda is known to have spent many hours at the kitchen table with her friends, hand drawing the posters promoting the Stettler Pro Rodeo. Performing often double and even triple duty while on site of the rodeos Big Country was contracted to, Elda took on the additional roles of Secretary and Nurse. Keeping track of registered contestants, confirming stock assignments, and recording all financial transactions, Elda kept many rodeo performances in check and made sure the cowboys and cowgirls were assigned their earned points towards their respective standings. Her registered nursing background was essential as she doctored hundreds of patients over the years from stock to contestants, kids, and crew.
Not to be left out, Elda and Stan’s son Warren joined the ranks from a young age. Flanking bucking horses since he was 13 years old, Warren has learned the business from the ground up by helping with the breeding, transportation, and management of the company while travelling the rodeo circuit. It comes as no surprise that Warren also met his wife Heather on the rodeo scene while she worked behind the chutes as an Associate Director for numerous sports broadcasters. Raising their two daughters Haylee and Jayna and instilling in them the same passion and respect for rodeo as they had instilled in themselves, Warren and Heather marvel at the girl’s talent both in and out of the saddle. Even before they were old enough to go to school, Haylee and Jayna have been pony racing and packing flags at the Steel Wheel Stampede. Both girls can be found at most area rodeos behind the scenes helping wherever they can, preparing for their next ride, or teaching other youngsters a trick or two helping to improve their own standings. Both girls are now members of the dedicated Ladies of the Heartland spending countless hours practicing the intricate choreography of the ride and showcasing their love for the sport of rodeo.
With the untimely passing of beloved father Stan, the Weatherly family has since left the stock contracting industry however continue to raise young bulls which can be seen on the rodeo trail this summer. Stan and Elda’s legacy also continues to live on in other ways. From production to arena manager, secretarial services, and even the halftime show, the Weatherly family have contributed greatly to the rodeo industry not only locally, but across the prairies. Here at home, the family carries the torch with the annual Steel Wheel Stampede where they continue to plan and produce a top-notch performance year after year. With a committee of just 13 members, this year’s performance looks to be another crowd pleaser and we have the years of experience and commitment of the Weatherly family who continue to make each rodeo they contract for the best it could be.
The 13th Annual Steel Wheel Stampede parade will be held on Saturday, June 11 starting at the Rotary Spray Park at 11am. A copy of the parade route map can be found at www.stettlerboardoftrade.com. For a list of events and information on the Steel Wheel Stampede visit www.steelwheelstampede.ca.