An update from the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame

Happy Spring everyone!

It’s nice that the days are longer, and the sun seems brighter and warmer, and the rodeo season has begun! Sorry to be a bit delayed with the spring news, but every time I thought about getting the info together for the newsletter, it was best to wait a bit until there were answers to a few more things, so here it goes…

Your class of 2017 inductees;

Denny Hay – Contestant – A three-time Canadian Champion Saddle Bronc Rider (’95, ’96 and ’98), Denny Hay or Mayerthorpe, AB qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) on 15 separate occasions accompanied by four appearances at the Wrangler National Finals Rodeo (NFR) in Las Vegas. Hay won the aggregate at the CFR in 1998, won the novice title for Canada in 1988 and was the Canadian rookie of the year in 1989. In 1998 Hay also won the $50,000 at the Calgary Stampede. Depending who’s asked all of that may not compare to the Olympic Gold Medal from the 2002 Olympics in Salt Lake City, UT.

Glen Keeley – Contestant – The 1989 Canadian Champion Bull Rider and 1983 Canadian Champion Steer Rider, Glen Keeley passed away tragically in Albuquerque, NM in March of 2000 at the Ty Murray Invitational PBR. Keeley qualified for numerous CFR, NFR and Professional Bull Riders (PBR) World Finals and was inside the top five in the PBR’s World Standings when he passed. Keeley was one of Canada’s top bull riding talents ever and taken far too soon. Since his passing, friends and family have put on the Glen Keeley Memorial PBR in Stavely, AB on Labor Day Weekend each September since 2004. The proceeds from non-profit event are donated to the Glen Keeley Benevolent & Scholarship Fund. Glen’s Memorial buckle and ring of honor awards rival that of any other trophy on the planet.

Billy Laye – Contestant – A three-time NFR qualifier, Billy Laye was also the 1991 Canadian Champion in the bareback riding. In 1991 Laye won the $50,000 at the Calgary Stampede and set a record at the time of 90 points on a Butler and Cervi horse called Brown Bomber at the NFR in 1995. Born in Consort, AB, Laye can be found at numerous rodeos across the country helping the next generation of bareback riders such as NFR qualifier Clint Laye.

Rayel Little – Contestant –  A four-time Canadian Barrel Racing Champion, Rayel Little (Robinson) also qualified for the NFR on two separate occasions. For two decades Robinson qualified for the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR). A horse trainer by trade, Robinson trained five horses to qualify for the CFR in a single year. For three consecutive years from 2005 to 2007 Robinson won the Ponoka Stampede. Today, Rayel continues to train barrel horses and spends her winters in the real estate business in Arizona.

Bill Pimm – Builder – Born in Lethbridge, AB Bill Pimm spent his early years in west central Alberta near Sundre. At the age of seven, Pimm broke his first saddle horse and entered the Sundre Stampede at 13. In the following years he assisted in building the rodeo grounds in Sundre, Caroline and Benalto while competing at the same time. In 1954 Pimm moved his family north where they settled at Grimshaw. Soon after his arrival he became involved in plans to bring Pro Rodeo to the North Peace area. In 1977, Bill took over the role of President of the North Peace Stampede, a position he would hold for 20 years. During his time Bill put his heart and soul into the betterment of rodeo always promoting the North Peace Stampede. Bill was the backbone to many large construction projects at the grounds and honored with the CPRA Committee Person of the Year award in 1983.

Vold Rodeo’s B6 Little Six – Animal – The 1977 Bull of the Year in Canadian Pro Rodeo Little six was small but bucked every time.

“When they rode him they always won,” Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame director Jim Pippolo said. “He wasn’t very big, at about 1,400lbs, he was bucky.”

“I remember one year in Morris he was out every day and I was cracking latches. The first day I think he bucked off Donny Gay, the next day it was Jerry Beagley and another NFR qualifier on the third day, back to back to back, all the top guys in the world. By the time I got the gate open and looked around they were all on the ground.”

A dark brown and black banana horned bull, Little Six also was rode by Joe Dodds for a Calgary Stampede Championship.

Lester Gurnett was awarded the Ranchman’s Legendary Achievement Award for 2017

Our congratulations go out to all of the 2017 inductees and their families!

I would like to let everyone know both where and when each inductee’s rodeo presentation will be.

The first will be Glen Keeley’s down at Stavely, it will be during the May 13th performance that starts at 7pm.

There will be four presentations at Ponoka this year, Denny Hay, Billy Laye, Rayel Little and Vold’s Little Six. We got word that they will all take place on July 2nd, pretty much forming the break in the action during the afternoon’s performance which starts at 1pm (Just to warn everyone, it will be the “tough enough to wear pink” day). Our many thanks to the whole committee of Ponoka for all their help through the years and letting us be part of their show.

Lester will be honoured at Airdrie on July 1st – performance start at 6:45 p.m. and we understand the presentation will form part of the opening ceremony.

And finally Bill Pimm’s presentation will be at Grimshaw, Saturday, August 5th – 1:30pm also as part of the opening ceremonies.

Again thanks to all the committies and communities for allowing the Hall of Fame presentations to be a part of your rodeo this year – it means so much to the inductees and their families to be recognized at “home”.

Now for a few updates; we would like to formally recognize the help and on-going contribution of Dallas Elliot-Ellenton from Global Website Creations. She both created our website and has maintained it for as long as it’s been up and has always been in the background doing our updates and little tweaks that we keep asking her to do. We wouldn’t have this resource up and running without her help, THANK YOU!! In this electronic world I am one person that really doesn’t “get it”, but to have someone that is does “get it” and is dedicated to our small organization and helping preserve our western heritage is invaluable to all of us. Thank you Dallas!

Cindy has passed over her cookbook project to Karry who will be putting the finishing touches on it, so if any of our inductees (and or friends and families) still have any secret recipes to get out to the world; get them to Karry and she will include them. Karry will also be taking book orders, so get a hold of her either way, Recipe submissions MUST be in by May 15th.

We still really need your help in getting the word out about increasing our memberships. The board spent a day last week up at the Hall doing some Spring cleaning, and it is truly amazing to see all the artifacts and history that are on display there. One of Lester’s comments that sticks with me is “this place don’t operate on spit and conversation.” We need to generate more memberships, donations and sponsors so that more people and generations can come look, research, understand and experience the vast history that is in the Hall. If anyone is having a birthday, anniversary, graduation, please consider buying them a membership. If any of you know of a person or company that would help our cause, please mention it and send them in our direction.

We have also been grateful in the past to be the recipient of memorial donations, thank you, I know that it is always a very difficult, emotional time when someone in the family passes, but it is also comforting and reassuring to know something good and positive is continuing on. An idea that came up at our last meeting would be for families or friends to donate a case at the Hall in memory of a loved one, we would be proud to help memorialize our inductees in this way. Again, please just get hold of one of us and we will work with you to make that happen. Tax receipts are issued for donations.

We also do accept memberships from rodeo committee’s in support of the hall, and we do have a few of them already. We really do appreciate any and all support that we get from rodeo organizations, fans, family and friends of our sport of rodeo and gratefully use the monetary support for the continued recognition and preservation of our western heritage.

I’m so sorry to report that there have been quite a few passings recently, our condolences go out to all the families, friends, rodeo family and acquaintances, our hearts and thoughts are with you all;

Cam Lansdell – Contestant, inducted 1990

Pete Bruised Head – Legend, honoured 2008

Barry Boghean – CPRA announcer

Lisa Macdonald (Hartell) – Bob (inductee) and Yvonne Hartell’s daughter

Harry Vold – Builder, inducted 1992

Bruce Flewelling – Builder, inducted 2006

Harris Dvorkin – Builder, inducted 2015

As a reminder to all, with summer quickly approaching remember that we will be stretching our opening hours at the hall to hopefully catch all the folks that show up in Ponoka for the Stampede, and are visiting and travelling around our fine province in the summer of Canada’s 150th birthday. We will be open 9am. till 5pm during the Stampede, and then will be open 11 a.m. till 4 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday for the rest of the summer from July 4th to September 3rd. We are also looking for extra help staffing the hall for the extended hours, so if you are close enough to help out with some volunteer shifts, or know an interested, friendly, helpful person that wants to work part time or full time through summer, please get hold of either Brenda at or Catherine at

We will be hosting present and past inductees, their families and friends at the hall on June 27th from 2pm till 4pm for our annual unveiling of the memorabilia belonging to the class of 2016. It is a great way to come and see what’s new at the hall and visit with some old friends and maybe even a few you haven’t met yet. As members we want to let you know that you are always welcome to these events, grab your friends and neighbours and bring them along and show them the marvellous collection of artifacts on display, the more, the merrier.

We are once again holding our CFR ticket raffle this year, so if anyone hits you up for $10 for a ticket, please help us out, it could be the least expensive six pack tickets you will ever buy. That’s right; a chance at two seats for all six performances in Edmonton at the CFR, in the lower bowl, all for only $10, what a deal! That means you will be there to see the 2017 inductees recognized in the dirt at the CFR, and take in all the action that goes along with it.

Take care everyone on the rodeo trail and I look forward to seeing you at the Hall and all the rodeos throughout the year.


Earl Klapstein

– Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame President


About the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame (CPRHOF): Since 1981, 195 inductees have been inducted into the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame which is located upstairs in the Calnash Ag Events Centre in Ponoka, AB. To nominate someone for induction into the CPRHOF visit the nomination tab at
For all other inquiries or visiting hours direct emails to or by phone at 403-236-8511



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