EDMONTON, Alberta A 1,600-pound bull jumped a six-foot fence and plunged into the stands at the Canadian Finals Rodeo, injuring four spectators and forcing others to scatter.
Fort Shaw pickup man Gary Rempel was instrumental in preventing other injuries. Rewind had just bucked rider Tanner Girletz and was trotting around the competition area at Rexall Place on Friday when he leaped the fence. Rempel, who has been selected to work the National Finals Rodeo next month in Las Vegas. had just gotten a rope on the 1,300-pound bull and was able to keep him from running further up into the stands. "People were kind of just standing there. The announcer was saying to people in the seats, 'Go high, go high!' There was no really big panic," said Murray Janz, who was at the rodeo. "It was scratching, just trying to go somewhere. But the pickup man was holding him tight." Rodeo officials are reviewing what took place and rodeo commissioner John Windwick said it was the first such incident in the event's 37-year history. "It's a very rare occurrence," Windwick said Saturday. "If there's a way to make sure this doesn't happen again, we'll look at it." All the spectators who were injured were sitting in the front row. Three were treated at the scene and another was taken to the hospital. Windwick didn't have an update on the condition of the person taken to hospital. However, an announcer at Rexall Place told fans Saturday that the injured person joked with paramedics, saying, "That's what you get for being in the front row." Rempel has worked the Canadian Finals Rodeo a dozen times and has been a pickup rider for close to 30 years. He told a news conference Saturday that bulls can be hard to predict. "Who knows what goes on in their minds? This one decided he was going to jump and that's what he did," Rempel said. Windwick said Rewind received a cut to his leg and won't be used again at this rodeo. He said the animal, which Windwick described as "the best of the best," will likely be used again in competition. The bull riding events continued Friday following the incident, and the rodeo resumed as scheduled Saturday afternoon.
Videos coming soon!
In 2009 CBCsports.ca featured interviews from the Calgary Stampede covering a wide variety of the rodeo's
participants highlighting "the best of the best". In this interview with Gary there's lots of live footage from
CS and wonderful commentary from some of the riders who have worked with Gary throughout the years.
Here are some other recent articles of interest. The first comes from an interview with Anne Christensen from Prorodeo.com. Gary Rempel's been down the road a time or two. Five times, that road led to the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo, and another 10 times, the Canadian Finals Rodeo - three with his brother, Wade. "Being from Canada, I use the hockey analogy: you play with the same linemate for so long, you know exactly where he's going to be," says Rempel. Read more
Gary Rempel has become a Calgary Stampede icon, sort of like . . . well . . . the now retired Rangeland Derby race caller Joe Carbury. Rempel is what rodeo calls a pickup man, the guy who rescues bareback riders and saddle bronc riders off the backs of bucking horses. He's been plying his artistry in the infield for the past 24 consecutive Stampedes -- and alongside brother Wade for about the past 18. But, for Gary, it's a full-time profession -- Read more