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Smithers Cowboy Nels McIntrye Combines Family and Rodeo

Smithers Cowboy Nels McIntrye Combines Family and Rodeo

Family comes first for bareback rider Nels McIntyre, 34, of Telkwa, near Smithers. The parent of three competes at only a dozen amateur rodeos every year. "Before I had a family, I went to about forty rodeos a year. I won a few cheques at pro rodeos." Now, the Smithers-born cowboy, who works as a carpenter, treats bareback riding as a hobby, along with weight-lifting and cross-country skiing. McIntyre, who started steer riding at age 14, used to ride bulls, "but I grew out of that" he chuckles.

McIntyre, who belongs to the NRA (Northern Rodeo circuit) and BCRA (BC Rodeo Association), competed in the 1988/89 Calgary Stampede amateur bareback riding, in front of 20,000 people. "I was able to blank out the people and focus on my ride. That was the best I rode that whole year", says McIntyre, who ended up second in the average in 1988. In 1989 at Calgary, McIntyre ranked fifth in the average.

As a NARC (North American Rodeo Commission) competitor, McIntyre placed ninth out of 82 riders at the El Paso, New Mexico NARC finals. McIntyre, the 1987 BCRA season leader, won his first bareback championship at the finals in Cloverdale. In 1992 and 1994, McIntyre emerged as NRA finals champion. McIntyreıs favourite rodeo is the historic Kispiox Valley Rodeo where he rode his first bareback horse. His biggest cheque, won at Dawson Creek, totaled $1500.

"A good bucking horse", says McIntyre, "bucks hard and strong through the whole ride and is honest-doesnıt do anything dirty". McIntyre's highest score is an 82, on Bear Sign, owned by Kispiox rodeo contractor Gene Allen. As for injuries, "I've never had a cast", says McIntyre. The bareback rider dislocated a collar bone riding Verne Franklinıs powerful Kingsway Skoal, the 1991 CPRA Bucking Horse of the Year; and fractured a shin when a horse ran into a fence.

In 2001, McIntyre rode at only nine rodeos, but qualified for both the NRA and BCRA finals. "However, it wasn't my year for finals. At the NRA finals in Ft. St. John, I got hurt in the third round and was too sore to get on my fourth horse. At the BCRA finals in Chilliwack, I had the best horses, but things didn't work out. I had problems with my riggin'. My second horse kicked me in the back, after my hand slid out. On my third horse, the riggin' slid and pulled the horse over on top of me. A real crowd-pleaser, he jokes. That horse stepped all over me."

In 2002, McIntyre plans to compete in about a dozen rodeos, aiming for the finals. McIntyre continues to rodeo because he enjoys competing close to his hometown, and spending time with friends and family -- wife Carly, and children Jolene, 11, Blake 5 and Kayl, 2 -- who also enjoy rodeo.

"And", McIntyre adds, "I also like to get out there and compete against the young guys."

Other articles by Tammy Thielman

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