Students saddle up for rodeo competitions - Metro US

Students saddle up for rodeo competitions

Grab your wranglers and boots, the rodeo is in town.

The Canadian National College Rodeo Finals got underway last night at the Edmonton Expo Centre, featuring college and university students from across the country.

The event will take place until Saturday night, featuring males and females in traditional rodeo competitions like bareback riding, steer wrestling and saddle bronc.

Although some competitors are as young as 18, the level of competition is so high that some of them will undoubtedly make it into the professional circuit.

Sandra Pysklywyc, public relations manager for Northlands, said that they were extremely happy to partner with the Canadian Intercollegiate Rodeo Association to support the development of youth. And while it took a lot of work to transform the Expo Centre into a bull-riding pit, she was quick to praise the hard work of the students.

“Truly the athletes are the stars of the show,” Pysklywyc said. “They run the event, in terms of working with the judges and making sure their ceremonies are ready to go. It’s a lot of student leading.”

Thirty-three-year-old Justin Aspden, a student at NAIT and the oldest participant, loves rodeo competitions, but admitted it can definitely take its toll on the body. He’s been doing bareback riding competitions for about six years.

“I got pretty beat up last weekend, so I’m really sore now,” he said. “But it’s a lot of fun getting to travel everywhere with your buddies and see everyone.”

The rodeo begins nightly at 6 p.m., with tickets available at Ticketmaster or at the door. Each ticket includes complimentary admission to the Farm and Ranch Show, also at the Edmonton Expo Centre this weekend.

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