After a successful 54th Innisfail Professional Rodeo the Daines family is already looking to a future without the legendary Jack Daines riding lead.
The 79-year-old cowboy, rancher, auctioneer and businessman announced his retirement from the rodeo ring during the weekend of the recent rodeo at the Daines Ranch to the surprise of many rodeo fans.
“Never did I imagine that I would ever put in 54 years running a rodeo,” said Daines. “When I started the rodeo in my practice arena in 1960, there was no electricity at the time, so the work of building 45 gates and chutes was hard. Since then, we have rebuilt the gates and chutes three times, the last time with steel. It has been a good run.”
Daines added he's grateful to the sponsors and rodeo fans who supported his show over the years.
As much as he is known for his rodeo activities, Daines did not have a rodeo background.
“When I was 14 years old I hitched a ride down to Olds on a milk truck so I could compete in the rodeo,” said Daines. “Without any previous experience I won the kids' steer riding event. A couple of weeks later, I hitched a ride to the Stettler rodeo, and won that one too. I travelled with the great Billy Collins to the Calgary Stampede and did not win, but placed in the money. It was an encouraging start.”
Daines won the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) Novice Saddle Bronc title in 1956 and 1957, the first awards of many he would win in his lifetime.
After Daines found success in the world of rodeo, his brother Ivan also competed in novice saddle bronc and won the CPRA titles in 1963 and 1965. Other Daineses followed in his stirrups and travelled the circuit.
Daines started thinking about retiring from organizing the rodeo about a year ago, and this year he decided it was time.
“Part of me wants to keep going but I want to go out with good memories of the rodeo and still be effective,” said Daines. “It's time to go out and enjoy the rodeos around the province while I can.”
Danny Daines was expecting big brother Jack would announce his retirement.
“We knew it was coming, just not when,” said the younger Daines. “He just wants to enjoy the sport he has been associated with for so long without having to make decisions.”
Danny added the 54th Daines rodeo was a huge, huge success and that the people have spoken loudly for the rodeo to continue on.
“Denver, Kyle, and Adam Daines, grandsons of Jack, will play a big part in the 55th Daines pro rodeo,” said Danny. “Davis Fader, who announced the muttin bustin event will also be part of the future. The Daines rodeo ring is sacred ground, having played host to rodeo and cowboys since 1961. We want to make sure it will continue.”
Kynan Vine, rodeo administrator of the CPRA, is appreciative of the work Daines did to promote rodeo in Alberta.
“For 54 years, Jack did an amazing job but there comes a time for everyone to retire. This is his time,” said Vine. “Over his career, Jack was one of the biggest promoters of the sport in North America, if not the biggest. His impact was far reaching, shining a spotlight on rodeo in Central Alberta and bringing world-class cowboys to our country.”
Vine added that Jack's legacy to his family and community is widespread.
“Jack's lasting impact on rodeo has been that of sport builder, promoter and supporter and we are sure that the Daines family, which has been part of the sport since 1950, will be ongoing,” said Vine. “Jack's direct hand on rodeo in Alberta will be missed but will never be forgotten.”
As for Jack, who will soon travel from rodeo to rodeo, he will continue to be a part of the Innisfail Auction Market and support whomever takes up the reins for the 55th Daines rodeo.
“I'll buy a ticket,” said Daines.