Urban Doan - Contestant
Inducted - November 15, 1986
Urban was born September 23, 1906 in a log cabin north of Halkirk, Alberta near Battle River. He first entered as a contestant in 1923 at the Battle River Stampede. He went on to compete in Canada and U.S.A. for more than 20 years.
He won the bareback riding at the Calgary Stampede in 1938, and the steer riding in 1939. It was in 1939 that he severely injured his knee while participating in the steer wrestling at Swift Current, and never quite returned to his original form, as his knee kept popping out of joint.
Because of his injury, Urban was forced to retire in 1943, but before he did, he took with him second in the 1941 Canadian Championship Bucking Horse Riding and in 1942 and 1943 he took first in the same event.
Urban traveled everywhere around the country with his many cowboy friends, who greatly admired him and enjoyed his company going down the road.
At the first annual meeting of the Canadian Cowboys Protective Association in July of 1945, Urban was the Representative of Central Alberta, and was a strong supporter of the organization.
Urban passed away on August 12, 1965 and is buried in the Galahad cemetery. In 1966 the Rodeo Cowboys erected a granite marker at the foot of his grave to depict that he was one of the outstanding contestants of his time.
Pat Burton - Contestant
Inducted - July 7, 1986
When it comes to ropers, Pat Burton stands out among the best. Pat was born in 1907 in the Porcupine Hills just west of Claresholm, Alberta.
Pat won more Calf Roping Championships at the Calgary Stampede than any other roper in the long history of the show. In 1932 Pat entered in the Canadian Roping at Calgary for the first time and he placed first. In 1933 Pat won both the Canadian and North American Calf Roping Championship events. In 1935 he repeated this achievement and continued on to win the Canadian Championship in 1937, 1940 and 1942.
Being one of five boys in his family, Pat learned to ride and rope at an early age. He used a palomino horse that his brother, Fred, had raised and trained as a rope horse. Pat realized that a great deal of credit must go to his horse as well as to his own roping ability.
Through this era of roping, Pat, as well as all the cowboys at that time, used the dally roping method, which was considered more difficult than the tied roping method, which is used today.
Pat started to slow down in the mid 1940's and ranching and race horses became his past time. He passed away in Calgary in 1977.
Albert Galarneau - Contestant
Inducted - November 15, 1986
The rodeo fever got a hold of Albert in 1931 when he entered his first rodeo in Calgary, in the Boys steer riding. In 1932 he entered Calgary again but in the calf roping, and he made it to the pay window for the first time. A cowboy boot salesman from across the border told Albert to keep roping, he would be a champion someday.
With this encouragement, Albert set his sights on a Championship and nothing short of it. In 1934 he entered Calgary in the Saddle Bronc event as well as roping, but calf roping, he thought, was his better event and he later dropped the saddle bronc event.
The first trophy he ever won, a silver buckle, was in 1936 at the Sundre Rodeo.
In 1937 he won the North American calf roping championship at Calgary on his horse, Ireland the following year, 1938, he was first in the Canadian calf roping and second in the North American calf roping. His last championship in Calgary was in 1946 with the North American calf roping award, for this he received one of the famous Charlie Biel Trophies. Over the years he won several gold watches and he says they are all still working.
In 1945 he won the Saskatchewan circuit Calf Roping title
Albert has competed for 20 years and was well known at all rodeos around the Central part of Alberta such as Hand Hills, Coronation, Brooks, Bassano, Dorothy, Ponoka . Wherever there was a rodeo Albert was likely there.
In 1941 he acquired his first ranch, the present Calgary Stampede Ranch. He now ranches in the Youngstown and Hanna area raising cattle and heavy horses along with attending his share of rodeos.
In 1978 Albert was among a small group of old time cowboys honored as "Pioneer of Rodeo" at The Calgary Stampede.
Gib Potter - Builder
Inducted - July 8, 1986
Gib Potter was born in 1906 and has fond memories of an active and well-spent youth. From his late teens into his early 20's, Gib toured North America as a professional trick roper and rider in some of the top wild west shows and rodeos of the 1920's. By 1925, he was a regular on the prairie stampede circuits, including the Calgary Stampede, where in 1927 he acquired one of his most precious memories, when he captured the last Canadian Trick and Fancy Rope Championship title ever held in this country.
At the time, the 21-year-old Potter was in the prime of his career. He could do somersault catches; spin a loop, jump in the air and do a flip through the loop, then throw the lariat, catching a passing horse by the feet, without tripping the animal. He would also rope a horse while standing on his head on his saddle. Another stunt he perfected was to simultaneously lasso six galloping horses around their collective torsos.
In 1940 he met and married an attractive speed skater named Margaret Buchanan, who he taught to ride, and throughout the 1940's and 1950's the Potters performed together as a team.
Midway through the Second World War, in 1942, Gib joined the Royal Canadian Navy Volunteer Reserve. He was stationed in Halifax, where he entertained for his fellow sailors. During this period he began to do cartoons for navy publications on a regular basis. After the war, he continued his drawing, freelancing cartoons to a variety of publications, including rodeo magazines in Calgary, Fort Worth and even Australia.
Gib was, at various times, chairman of the Saskatoon Light Horse Show, President of the Saskatchewan Cutting Horse Association, president of the Saskatoon Riding Club and chairman of the Saskatoon rodeo from 1960 to 1980.
Sykes Robinson - Contestant
Inducted - November 15, 1986
Sykes Robinson was born June 27, 1904, and was raised at Jumping Pound, Alberta. As a kid he liked to work with horses, putting up ice in the winters and working as a pony boy at Banff in the summer.
He won the Saddle Bronc event at the local Jumping Pound Stampede at the age of 18. That is where he got the rodeo bug.
In 1923, Sykes worked as a cowhand at Jenner, Alberta and also broke horses. It was during these years that Sykes competed at all the rodeos in Alberta. At one time or another he won every rodeo but Lethbridge. “I never could make money in that town.” Sykes used to chuckle.
In 1923 he also took second at Medicine Hat. Then in 1927 Pete Knight and Sykes split first in Vancouver. From Vancouver he went to Ottawa and took top money, $600.00 in the bronc riding on Midnight. Back in Calgary in 1928 he placed second in the North American Saddle Bronc and won a pair of gold and silver spurs. He went on to compete at Madison Square Gardens riding 19 bulls in 19 days, to win the event. Jack Dempsey presented him with a gold pocket watch.
Sykes rode at Calgary from 1923 to 1941, but 1939 was the big year. That was the year he won the Canadian Championship. The Prince of Wales presented him with a beautiful trophy and an engraved silver cigarette case.
As time went on, Sykes went into a Senior Citizen’s Lodge in Calgary. His eyes would light up when he talked about rodeo, and when he remembered his buddies of years ago. At the lodge nobody called him “Mr. Robinson”, they just called him “The Cowboy”. Sykes passed away January 10, 1978 at the age of 73.
Lorne Thompson - Contestant/ Builder
Inducted - July 25, 1986
Lorne Thompson was born on September 13, 1906, in Grandview, Manitoba. His family moved to the Medicine Hat area and homesteaded east of Pashley.
In 1927 Lorne started entering rodeos, his first win was at Maklin, Saskatchewan and his next win came at Lusland, Saskatchewan where he won a pony. He definitely had been bitten by the rodeo bug. He sold the pony for $25 and hocked his suit and entered the Calgary Stampede with the money. He won $75 day money in the North American Bronc Riding and reclaimed his suit!
He went on to Saskatoon and got a job with a Wild West Show for $15 per week, riding up to ten broncs per day. The wild west show went to Winnipeg, Port Arthur and Toronto. At Toronto the show had 24 performances from 9:00 a.m. to 12:00 midnight. Lorne rode a bronc at each show. A leg injury caused him to return home to the west.
Lorne continued to rodeo and placed consistently in the Bronc Riding, Steer Riding and Wild Horse Race until 1936. In 1934 he married Gladys Mayberry and started working at the Medicine Hat Feed Lot during the winter. In 1945, Lorne and Jim Taylor purchased the feed lot.
A meeting forming the Medicine Hat Exhibition and Stampede saw Lorne appointed head of the Stampede Committee in 1947. Lorne spent many years directly involved in the preparation and presentation of the Stampede. During Lorne's Presidency of the Medicine Hat Stampede in 1971 to 1972, the race track and agricultural arcade were completed, evidence of his commitment and dedication to grounds improvement.
On July 16, 1981 the Cypress Center, the Exhibition and Stampede's new multi-purpose complex was officially opened and dedicated to Lorne Thompson. The dedication reads: "In recognition of his efforts in the community and especially his contributions to our Exhibition and Stampede."
Cliff Vandergrift - Contestant/ Builder
Inducted - July 7, 1986
Cliff was born the eldest of four boys and two girls, in Dietrick, Illinois, U.S.A. on December 10, 1912. His family came to Canada when he was 12 years old and settled in Elnora, Alberta. The family continued to farm there, but Cliff moved on to the Turner Valley area and began his own farming and ranching operation.
Cliff joined the C.P.A. in 1947, his main event being Calf Roping. He won the championship in this event four years; 1949, 1953, 1954 and 1958 at the age of 45 years he became the oldest cowboy to win a Canadian Championship in Professional Rodeo.
He also competed in the Wild Horse Race and Wild Cow Milking events. He won the Horse Race Championship on eight different occasions and the Cow Milking on three. In all he won 15 Canadian Championships.
Vandergrift, who was sometimes called the ageless wonder, was asked by a fellow competitor just how old he was. Cliff smiled and remarked, "One year younger than Jack Benny."
Cliff was the president of the C.P.A. from 1954 to 1956. This was a growing period for the association and his strong leadership abilities were an asset. They say Cliff spoke his opinion and was proud of his opinion, he never mellowed with age. Vandergrift never quit competing, he was an active Team Roper right up until the day before he passed away. When he went to a rodeo he was always interested in every event.
Cliff Vandergrift passed away peacefully in his home in Turner Valley on March 17, 1991.