story by Christina Waldner | photography by Zachary Cormier
Crossfield’s own Grady Quam got a big boost in his pursuit of a career in professional rodeo in November of 2018.
“Qualifying for the Canadian Finals Rodeo last November is my biggest accomplishment,” said the 18 year old. “It’s the finals for the Canadian Pro Rodeo (CFR). You go all year and then the top 12 make the final. Then you go six nights for $10,000 a round.”
Quam was the youngest competitor in team roping. Despite not having “very much luck” in the finals, Quam said he and his partner, Tyrel Flewelling, were grateful to have the experience of competing against the best in the sport.
“It was one of my dreams come true to make it with all of the guys I’ve idolized and looked up to,” he said.
His father, Jeff Quam, and uncle, Rocky Dallyn, both made the CFR finals before, which inspired Quam to continue the family tradition.
“My dad and my uncle and my whole family (took part in rodeo) and I started, I guess, when I was about six years old,” Quam said.
Competing with his dad, Quam won the Foothills Cowboy Association finals in team roping in 2018 and took part in some pro rodeos throughout the year with Dallyn as his partner.
Quam has been competing in team roping since he was 10 years old, but has only been contending at the professional level for the last two years. He’s determined to make a go of it in the tough professional ranks.
“I have a chance to make a living doing what I love to do,” he said. “The whole atmosphere is family-feel, with everyone going down the road together.”
Team roping is the only rodeo event to feature a team of competitors. Like most rodeo sports, it has its roots in ranching. When an animal was too large to be handled by a single cowboy, this technique of having one cowboy control the head and a second take care of the back legs was used.
“The header ropes the head of the steer and turns it off for the heeler who ropes the back two feet,” Quam said. “I’m the header. We contend for time.”
The aspiring professional rodeo competitor is currently on a full rodeo scholarship at South Plains College in Levelland, Texas, pursuing a business degree. He said he expects what he learns will help him run his own rodeo business once he graduates in 2020.
Being away from his family has taken some getting used to.
“It was kind of tough to start with but I’m kind of getting into the groove of things now,” he said.
Crossfield’s Pete Knight Days meant Quam could begin competing in rodeo as an amateur at an early age. The annual rodeo, parade and Demolition Derby is being held June 7 and 8 this year. It all kicks off June 7 at 6 p.m. with the first of the rodeo events at the Crossfield Rodeo Grounds.
Quam said he’s hoping to be there to cheer on his little sister as she participates in barrel racing.