It began as a tribute to the rodeo fan. Five years later, the Ultimate Cowboy challenge has become one of the sport’s most talked about events. Ultimate Cowboy V will kick off the New Year in true cowboy fashion at the Agrium Western Event Centre on Calgary’s Stampede Park.
In today’s rodeo world, most cowboys typically specialize in one or possibly two of the featured events. But the Ultimate Cowboy is a throwback to the sport’s roots, where contestants often entered everything they could, to demonstrate their versatility and have as many chances to win as possible.
“Our event is designed to put today’s best pro cowboys out of their comfort zone. Every contestant must compete in at least five of the regular competitions, for the ultimate test of true cowboy skills,” said event founder, Scott Wyzykoski.
“We’ve really become international this year, as the All Around Champion from Australia, Braydon Wellby is in the mix.”
“We’ve had so many cowboys who want to compete now that we had to add a qualifying event.”
The qualifier took place December 12th at the Agrim Centre in Rimbey, and from the keen competition there, four cowboys earned a spot to join the fun December 31st in Calgary. That includes Canada’s new All Around Champion, Josh Harden of Big Valley, a veteran of the Ultimate Cowboy events. Also advancing were two brothers from Montana, Gerald and Leroy Eash. And rounding out the qualifying crew is a four time Canadian Finals Rodeo bareback riding qualifier, Cole Goodine of Carbon.
“He was the surprise to many of us,” noted Wyzykoski, who’s a professional steer wrestler himself, as well as a practicing dentist. “We knew he was talented with a bareback rigging, but we didn’t realize he was such a hand in other events. In fact, he won the steer wrestling in Rimbey.”
The Ultimate Cowboy V roster also includes the top five finishers from last year’s event; the two-time UC champion Clay Elliott of Nanton, Canadian All Around champions Steven Turner of Cochrane and Travis Reay of Mayerthorpe, Colter Harden of Big Valley and Garrett Smith of Idaho.
The Ultimate Cowboy will feature top quality bucking stock from Big Country, Frank Wyzykoski and C5, and a professional crew with the likes of renowned pick-up man Gary Rempel.
“Our prize money has doubled now to $20,000,” added Wyzykoski. “Plus we’ve added the fan option of a Gold Membership, offering a VIP experience and a chance to vote on the final two participants in the contest.”
In addition to boosting the purse for contestants, the Gold Membership is also going to support the charity Doctors Without Borders. Adding to the overall fun of the New Year’s Eve celebration is the cabaret to follow the rodeo, with the CCMA nominated band, The Boom Chucka Boys, providing live entertainment.
“We know it’s going to be a great event. The fans really get into it, because they have the opportunity to see their favorites more than once, and cheer them on to the title of Ultimate Cowboy.”
Tickets are available from the website www.ultimatecowboy.ca or from Ticketmaster. Ultimate Cowboy V at the Agrium Western Event Centre in Calgary starts at 8:00 pm December 31st.
For more information, contact Scott Wyzykoski at 403-597-7459