On the first Pete Knight Day in 1977, there was a small Jackpot Rodeo on the cast side of the Pete Knight Memorial Centre. Archie Craig thought it should be a yearly event and started campaigning. Archie in the 1950s was very involved in rodeo. He participated in bull-riding, calf-roping, bareback, saddle bronc, and steer decorating, and he drove big and pony chuckwagons. In 1956, 1957 and 1960, Archie was the winner of the "All-Round Cowboy" trophy at the Northwest Roundup A committee of five, Bob and Adrienne Aldred, Dale and Roberta Whittaker, and Archie Craig became the ones to plan the Rodeo for the next five years (1978-1982).
The Rodeos were held on the unpaved land on the East side of the Pete Knight Memorial Centre. All the chutes, pens, gates, and corrals were rented. Stock came from Schroders, Northcorts, Havens, and Richards. The first years were Jackpot, and then we joined the Foothills Cowboy Association.
The community celebrated Pete Knight Day with a breakfast, parade, dance and other entertainment all held on the same day as the Rodeo. Concession booths were skidded down from the fairgrounds at the north end of town, and were used by the various organizations to raise money. Some of those endeavors were:
Rebekahs - Rodeo Queen and Princesses, Legion - Crown and Anchor, Girl Guides - popcorn and candyfloss, BPOE - Barbecue, Agricultural Society - Dance, Community Hall Board - Bingo, Lions Club - bar at dance.
In these years, most of their profits were given to the Rodeo Committee to hold in reserve for future permanent rodeo grounds.
Bob, Dale, and Archie did the setup of the arena, while Adrienne and Roberta did office and gate duty. Archie was the Arena Director during these and many subsequent years. There was never a shortage of volunteers to help before, during, and after the Rodeo. It could not have been held without these people.
In 1980, we held pony chuckwagon and chariot races after the Rodeo. In 1981, we started in Friday night. During intermission, there were Model T races, and a Heavyhorse Pull.
It was a big job setting up and organizing every year. We needed permanent grounds and more committee members. In 1983, the original committee turned the Rodeo and the reserve monies over to the BPOE. They all continued to help for many years.
By 1984, the permanent grounds were being built on land at the south end of Crossfield, provided by the Town of Crossfield, in return for the land where the fairgrounds had been located. Bill Risler was the Coordinator and had lots of community help. Beddoes Construction was one of the main construction contributors. Numerous donations were made by citizens, organizations, and businesses, toward the construction of the new grounds. There was now a track for races, and lots of room for concessions, bleachers, and camping. Restrooms were added and a building was erected. Approximately $40,000 was spent on these basic grounds.
This Rodeo continues today under the umbrella of the Crossfield Rodeo Society, and upgrading is ongoing.
Article written by Roberta Whittaker. Permission granted for publication on webpage by Roberta Whittaker.
Copyright © 2009 Crossfield History Committee
The Crossfield History Committee