Prairie Fire: Rodeo in Saskatchewan

Start Date: Friday, October 12, 2018
End Date: Friday, January 12, 2018

*This exhibit was curated by Kylie Rae Dahlstrom for the Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame to fulfill the requirements for her Masters work placement through the University of Regina.

Curator’s Statement:

I decided to create “Prairie Fire” because I saw a need for there to be an exploration of one of Saskatchewan’s oldest sports, rodeo. My connections to the rodeo world come from my experience competing in Saskatchewan High School Rodeo along with my brother. I was a barrel racer and a calf roper. Although we don’t compete anymore, our experience in the sport taught us valuable lessons, responsibility, and helped us make lifelong friends.

Rodeo with its multitude of events and categories is an extremely unique sport. Not only is there a human athlete involved, but an animal athlete as well. Even in events like bronc riding and bull riding where the animal’s main job is to try and buck the cowboy or cowgirl off, the human and animal still work together to get points. The cleaner the ride looks, the higher the points both athletes receive are.

The cowboy and cowgirl are extremely interesting athletes, they usually spend a lifetime on the road travelling from rodeo to rodeo and often deal with more than bumps and bruises, in events like bull riding and bronc riding they often have to tough out broken arms, legs, dislocated shoulders, and sometimes even more serious issues, but their love for the sport and dream to compete at the highest level in places like the Calgary Stampede or National Finals Rodeo keep them going. Saskatchewan has a strong history of rodeo entertainment, half time performers such as trick riders, trick ropers, rodeo clowns, etc. help to keep the public entertained while the organizers prepare for the next events on the programme.

My area of research is specifically the collection and display of Western Bronze sculpture, which translates very well to rodeo in Saskatchewan. This is mainly due to the fact that there have been a few artists from Saskatchewan who have worked with Rodeo iconography and have done trophies and monumental commisions for the Calgary Stampede, an annual tournament where a great number of our athletes have performed. Artist Richard Loffler of Regina is the most notable of all the Western bronze sculptors from Saskatchewan who work with rodeo themes. Another goal of this exhibit was to speak on the connection between sport and how Rodeo and the Western art have gone hand in hand.

Click here to view the complete exhibit catalogue.