story courtesy of Dan Stewart Event: Bull Riding Branch of service: US Army Years of service: 17 Duty Stations: Fort Riley, Kansas Fort Sill, Oklahoma […]
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Meet the Member Rodeo Alaska
story by James Hastings
For those of us fortunate enough to call Alaska home, the Rodeo life is a special blessing and a hard earned habit to keep up. From the long winters months of snow and ice and little to no daylight to the glorious days of summer that sometimes seem to have no end, we find ourselves doing whatever it takes to keep the tradition alive and growing.
The PROFESSIONAL ARMED FORCES RODEO ASSOCIATION in only its second year up here offers a new perspective to the Rodeo scene for our Military, Veterans and Families. To have our own association offers us that connection to a Team, that Warriors and our loved ones are so accustomed to through military service.
What began as a dream to bring PAFRA here and our small beginnings of 6 members, we have been able to grow our numbers on a continual basis and are blessed to have our own Alaska Circuit. The beauty of this is that we are going to be able to have Alaskan Cowboys and Cowgirls making their way to Midland, TX this year to represent the 49th State in the PAFRA World Championships. This is a very historic first and gives our whole state a great sense of pride in our competitors. Barrel Racer to Rough Stock, Bullriders and Breakaway ropers, Chute Doggers and Team Ropers are working every week to improve our skills and prepare to bring home a Champion Buckle this November!
Rodeo in the FAR north country throws some different challenges us: Our Broncs: although not remarkably sizeable they are full of fight and some have never seen a human being. We go as far as Kodiak Island and out to the head of Kachemak Bay to gather up free range horses just to put together a string for our riders. Some years we find ourselves doing the same for the bulls and roping stock. If you’ve never had the pleasure and privilege to mount up and ride the rivers and mountains of Kodiak Island to round up wild Highland cross cattle, pen them up, and cut out what you can to rodeo, then my friends you have quite literally missed a little piece of heaven. Bulls and cows who’ve been fighting off Kodiak Brown bears, don’t have just a whole lot of fear or respect for man nor horse and they have no problem letting you know that a corral and an arena don’t feel natural to them. We’ve caught up bulls with an entire roast pulled off a shoulder from bear confrontations and they are about as rangy as anybody could ever meet. If you never laid hands on and laid down what typically will qualify as a Junior Bull then you need to come join us and feel that rush.
Check out www.rodeoalaska.com. Ya’ll come up and see us sometime.