story by Patricia Merrick | photography by Kurtis Kristianson
Every summer, the Crossfield Rodeo Society presents the opportunity for locals and out-of-towners to dust off their cowboy boots and take in two days of rodeo action.
The 41st annual Pete Knight Days will take place June 8 and 9 at the Crossfield Rodeo Grounds. The event is named after Pete Knight, an accomplished bronc rider who died in action in 1937. The two-day event will kick off on the afternoon of June 8 with slack performances, which offers entrants who don’t make it into the rodeo a chance to perform, according to Ian Leask, who sits on the society.
The first official rodeo performance will take place at 6 p.m. June 8 with a dance and live music to follow. The Crossfield Agricultural Society will put on a pancake breakfast June 9 from 8 to 10 a.m. and the annual parade will run from 11 a.m. to noon. This year’s parade theme is Back to our Roots.
Candy is thrown for children during the parade and cash prizes and/or ribbons are awarded for best overall float and bicycle decorating. Prizes are also awarded for first, second and third place in each of the following categories: business, car/motocross, horse groups, large horse groups, industrial or farming, live music, service clubs and non-profit adult groups, as well as non-profit youth clubs, specialty vehicles and miscellaneous.
The Crossfield Baptist Church will be hosting its annual barbecue following the parade and the second rodeo show of the weekend will kick off at 1 p.m. Leask said once that performance wraps up around 5 p.m., the Crossfield Elks Club will host its annual Demolition Derby at 6 p.m., followed by a dance and fireworks.
“It’s good old fashion western entertainment, It’s exciting. It’s part of our culture, our heritage here in Alberta.”
–Ian Leask, member of the Crossfield Rodeo Society
According to Leask, the Crossfield Rodeo Society, which consists of approximately 15 members, plans the event year-round.
“It’s become a fairly large event. Two years ago, I estimated there (were) 2,000 people who showed up for it,” he said, adding it takes a lot of volunteers to make it happen. “We’re wholly dependent on support from the community.”
Each year the society hosts a sponsorship supper and shoot auction prior to Pete Knight Days, where the seven bucking shoots at the rodeo grounds are auctioned off to local companies interested in having their logo on the gate for the year. Leask said it’s usually a popular event and helps pay for Pete Knight Days festivities.
Each rodeo performance is packed with action, including bareback bronc riding, steer riding, tie-down roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc riding, ladies barrel racing, junior barrel racing, bull riding, breakaway roping, team roping and mutton busting. Tickets are just $15.
Leask said entertainment is also provided for children and young families during the two-day event at the rodeo grounds.
“For the locals, it’s an opportunity to visit with people they may have not seen for a while. It’s open for the whole community to enjoy,” he said, adding the event also provides exposure for the town.
“This is a way of promoting Crossfield. People come and see what amenities are in the town,” he said. “It’s a celebration of community.”
He encourages guests from out of town to stay for a night or two to see what Crossfield has to offer. A shuttle service will also be provided for those wanting to enjoy the show with a few alcoholic beverages.