Cowboy corrals prestigious buckle

MIKE STREET with his horse Comet and the Calgary Stampede belt buckle he won in the class 7 team cattle penning competition on July 4.  - Mark Brett/Western News
MIKE STREET with his horse Comet and the Calgary Stampede belt buckle he won in the class 7 team cattle penning competition on July 4.
— image credit: Mark Brett/Western News

Mike Street pocketed just over $7,000 and a Calgary Stampede buckle for herding in cattle.

Street teamed up with friend Bruce Stewart and Mason Cockx to win the class 7 team cattle penning competition at the Calgary Stampede July 4. It was an unexpected victory. Entering 16th out of 20 teams, the group managed to win by just over two seconds. Their time of 150.9 seconds topped the second-place team with 152.35.

“I didn’t think it was possible for us to get up to first place,” said Street, who owns Boundary Machinery in Penticton and co-owns and manages a ranch. “The spread was over 19 seconds, which is quite a spread.”

Team cattle penning is a race against the clock as riders separate specifically identified cattle numbered -9 from a herd of 30 and put them in a 16 feet by 24 feet pen at the opposite end of the arena. Times are added in an aggregate system.

What Street loves about the sport is the speed.

“Ideally you need to be doing it in 35 seconds, steady,” he said. “It’s high energy (the atmosphere). The last runs are the hardest. There is so much pressure when you get down to the end.”

Following the trio’s first run in the Saddledome, they sat in second place. Street said it was hard to believe and kind of surreal to win.

“Everything came together,” said Street. “It’s a team sport. Everybody did their job.”

Street agreed it’s hard to team up with an unknown rider such as Cockx, whom he met in Ponoka shortly before the Calgary Stampede. The group simply came up with a plan and stuck to it. Street said it’s important to be consistent. However, you need something else too.

“There is an awful lot of luck,” he added. “Luck was with us that day.”

Street, who had always wanted to enter the team cattle penning and had watched it before, loved his Calgary Stampede debut and said it’s exciting because all of the top riders are there.

“There’s lots of good people out there,” said Street, who intends to return to the Calgary Stampede if he qualifies. “Calgary is the largest penning in Canada. It’s the one that people want to win.”

To qualify, the team went to Okotoks on July 3 and competed against 154 teams. After the first run, they made the top 50 then finished 16th.


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