Image: A film still showing a bucking bronco at a local rodeo (SPRA 1974.74.22H, Fonds 138: Griff James fonds)
Movie Monday highlights videos from the Archives’ film collection. Every week, an archival film will be featured on our YouTube channel and here on our blog. The Movie Monday project is made possible with the generous funding support of Swan City Rotary Club of Grande Prairie.
Most years many South Peace residents would be gearing up for rodeo season around this time, so today we are sharing a film that contains footage of a bronc riding competition circa 1957. Though the location of the featured event has not been identified with complete certainty, it is thought that the rodeo scenes may have been taken at the Rio Grande Sports Days.
Rodeos, also known as stampedes, have been a popular source of entertainment in Western Canada for more than a century. In Grande Prairie, the first agricultural fair and rodeo was held in 1910. Surrounding communities such as Rio Grande and Teepee Creek followed suit in 1916. The events began as community picnics and sports days, hosting activities such as foot races, ball games, tug of war, horse races, and bucking broncos. It was the bronc riding that was the crowd favourite.
As the years went on, a wider variety of rodeo events – such as bull riding, chuckwagons, barrel racing, and calf roping – were added to the agenda. Associations were formed to manage the events, and the Teepee Creek and Grande Prairie stampedes eventually became part of the Pro Rodeo Tour. Though the nature of these events has changed considerably since their inception, the original intent remains the same: to bring the community together.