The 66th Kispiox Valley Rodeo was the beginning of a busy rodeo season for two Hazelton-area residents.
Both Cassie Penfold, 15, and Christoff Muigg, 21, competed in their respective events and were excited to display their skills for family and spectators alike.
Penfold also agreed to remain KVR rodeo queen, as there was no competition this year.
“I go to music festivals and events like the Telkwa Barbecue representing the Kispiox valley,” she said.
“I really like representing the rodeo because it’s such a great event.”
Penfold placed third in the open poles event, but didn’t make the cut in barrel racing.
As with all racing events in a rodeo the animal is a key component to victory, Penfold said.
Her 18-year-old horse, Taboo, is quite different from when Penfold started competing with him five years ago.
“Yeah, he’s starting to slow down a bit,” she said.
“I think he’s starting to favour poles because it’s less distance and the turns are much less work.”
Penfold trained Taboo since she was seven-years-old, which is in keeping with her upbringing.
“In our family the horses come first,” Penfold, who is up daily at 7 a.m. to feed Taboo, said.
“They eat before we eat and we make sure their pasture has no rocks in it.”
Penfold has been involved with the KVR since she was three-years-old when she competed in mutton bustin’ and has a certain affinity for the hometown event.
“Kispiox is definitely my favorite,” Penfold admitted, but the season has just begun for her and her father, who drives her to all competitions.
“We haven’t picked a schedule yet but we’ll travel six or seven weekends for sure.”
Muigg, much like Penfold, holds a special place for the KVR, but as the B.C. Rodeo Association hosts events into September, so there are other rodeos he likes as well.
“Kispiox is pretty good, but there’s a lot of good rodeos like the one in Bella Coola at the end of the month,” Muigg said.
“Nice country and always a good time.”
Muigg competes in the Bareback event and has finished in the top-five provincially every year he’s competed, even when he broke his nose last year.
“I kinda came down awkwardly after the horse bucked-out on me,” he recalled.
“After the eight-seconds I was hopping off and the horse spun me around in the air and I landed face-first.”
Despite the bruises and scrapes the initial thrill is what keeps him coming back for more.
“I watched for so many years and thought I’d give it a try,” he said.
“After that I was hooked.
“There’s nothing like busting out when that gate opens and it’s just you and a 1,300 pound animal.”
This year at the KVR Muigg came in second to Jared Marshall, also from Hazelton, but Muigg had the final run and was close to taking the top spot.
“I’ve beaten Jared before,” Muigg said.
“It was a good battle.
“I think if I drew a different horse I would’ve won.”