Skip to content

Tuff Goes Canadian

By Tracy Pinson

When Skyjacker’s Mountain High and I received the invitation to compete in the Cowboy Up Challenge at the famed Calgary Stampede, my first instinct was to respectfully decline.  After all, it is about 5,700 miles round trip from Bushnell, FL to Calgary, Alberta, Canada.  Crazy, right?  Well, I guess we proved that horse people really are crazy!  After much discussion about cost, time and how the horse would handle the trip, Wayne Conkle and I decided to accept the invitation and work out the details.  Everything fell together and Wayne found a great traveling partner in Melissa Bailey.  They made the long journey through a lot of beautiful country, stopping to enjoy some great hospitality and literally crossing the whole country……for an Extreme Cowboy Race! 



Lisa Steinbach, Diane McMurtrey, Rebecca Adams and I made the long flights from Florida to Calgary.  Off to show the world that a Tennessee Walking Horse may not be the “traditional” cowboy horse, but we can hang with the best of them. 

The Stampede folks made sure we had access to all of the activities, including the rodeo, chuck wagon races, agriculture exhibits, etc.  It was an experience of a lifetime!  For those not familiar with the Calgary Stampede, it is 10 days of animal and agricultural activities with over 150,000 people A DAY passing through the gates! 

Ordinarily, the Cowboy Up Challenge is held in the Saddle Dome on the Stampede grounds, however, due the major flooding experienced by the area just two weeks before the event, we were moved into the Big Top Arena which was much smaller.  There was standing room only in the audience and Tuff loved to hear the roar of the crowd when we made our way through the courses consisting of running, roping, jumping, VERY tall bridges, water, ground ties, standing in the saddle, spinning and lots of other fun obstacles.

Just being able to compete against all of the professionals was so special.  Tuff and I usually compete in the Non Pro division of the EXCA, however, at the Stampede Cowboy Up Challenge, we had to compete against the professionals.  There were only a few of us that weren’t pros, so to finish fifth among the most elite of the sport…..Well, we were thrilled, to say the least!  I’m still smiling!

Thanks to everyone that came to our obstacle schooling days, which funded the fuel for the trip.  Also, to the sponsors that gave so generously to help us get to Calgary and to everyone that stayed home and took care of the farm while we were gone.  All of the great comments on Facebook, live stream, You Tube, email, etc. from those that watched the event from home, made it even more special.   We rode every step with you guys!

We may not get to do it again, but not everyone can say they competed at the Calgary Stampede!!  Tuff is now enjoying a semi-retirement…..munching grass, giving a few riding lessons and eating a lot of treats and carrots! 

More Stories

  • Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passes House

    On September 29, 2020 the bipartisan Horseracing Integrity and Safety Act passed via voice vote on the floor of the United States House of Representatives. The bill was introduced by Rep. Andy Barr, a republican from Kentucky and Rep. Paul Tonko, a democrat from New York... Read More
  • Celebration plans new ideas for Fall Classic; Will host brand new two-year-old class

    The Celebration recently made the decision to move the Tunica Fall Classic back to Shelbyville and host the event, now named the Celebration Fall Classic, at Calsonic Arena. Due to the conditions at the casinos and rules and regulations regarding Covid-19, The Celebration decided it was best not to host the show in Tunica... Read More
  • **Updated Horse Show Schedule

    The Walking Horse Report will provide daily updates to the list of canceled and postponed horse shows... Read More
  • Roger Latham Memorial moves date

    The Roger Latham Memorial/Baileyton Fall Classic, originally scheduled for October 10, will now be held Saturday, October 17. A class schedule will be posted as it becomes available. For more information, contact David Latham 256-572-1820, Read More
  • Obituary – Woodrow Spinks

    Woodrow Spinks, 87, passed away Saturday, September 26, 2020. He was born in Falco, Alabama. on August 23, 1933 to E.C. and Della Lundy Spinks and is preceded in death by his parents; his loving wife, Carolyn Spinks... Read More
  • Latest Issue 9 28 20

    Read More
  • Jose's Cold Chills update

    The Walking Horse Report has just recently learned that Jose’ Cold Chills will not be returning to the ring. Following an injury at the 2020 Celebration in the Walking Stake class the decision was made today that the talented horse will no longer compete in the ring. Owner Bart McWaters made this statement for the McWaters Family... Read More
  • Inman steps down from The Celebration

    Tennessee Walking Horse National Celebration Chief Executive Officer Mike Inman tendered his resignation to the Celebration’s board of directors on September 23, 2020.  The resignation from Inman will be effective immediately and comes after his eight-year stint at the helm of The Celebration. Read More
  • Obituary – Peggy Vernon

    Peggy Joyce Vernon, 81, passed away Tuesday, September 1, 2020, at Magnolia Regional Health Center in Corinth. She was born in Winona, Mississippi, on September 19, 1938... Read More
  • Obituary – Steve Beech

    Stephen W. “Steve” Beech, III, 77, resident of Belfast, died on Tuesday, September 22, 2020 at Lynchburg Nursing Center... Read More