Winston Bruce Memorial Tribute article
Article from Red Deer Advocate: Life of rodeo legend celebrated
Folks converge on Ponoka to celebrate the life of rodeo legend Winston Bruce
A community came together to celebrate the life of a rodeo legend.
Cowboys and cowgirls of all ages converged on the Calnash Ag Event Centre in Ponoka Sept. 19 to celebrate the life of Winston Bruce, a rodeo legend who was an integral part of the western heritage.
Bruce, who was born Oct. 27, 1937, passed away peacefully on July 10 at the age of 79.
His influence with the people around him and in the industry was so strong that there was standing room only at the ag event centre with family and his many friends wanting to pay their respects. He was a man known for having incredible saddle bronc riding skills, and was influential in developing the Calgary Stampede rodeo stock program. Bruce was also the rodeo manager and arena director of the Calgary Stampede for many years.
The list of accomplishments as a professional saddle bronc rider are almost too numerous to mention but among the more prominent is the 1961 World Saddle Bronc Riding Championship, which came after the 1957 and 1958 Canadian titles.
Along with the titles were inductions into the ProRodeo Hall of Fame at Colorado Springs, Colorado, in 1989 and the Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995. Along with those he was inducted into the National Cowboy and Western Heritage Museum in Oklahoma, the Appaloosa Hall of Fame as well as the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame.
It’s no wonder that folks converged on the celebration of his life, which included a special invitational saddle bronc riding event after the ceremony.
Family and friends spoke of his life and Winston Satran gave the eulogy, taking time to honour the man who influenced his outlook on life. “Winston’s story was much larger than most of us,” said Satran.
The first time he met Bruce was at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas, NV. They were working on a contract to bring the Calgary Stampede horses to Home on the Range. That meeting set the stage for a longtime friendship.
“There was a lot to know about this man. His life, his fame, his humbleness, compassion, humour and his many, many friendships,” said Satran.
“His gentle manner way gave way to being a gentleman. When he would meet someone, he would inquire as to how they were doing.”
Satran pointed out that Bruce was the kind of cowboy who could strike up a sincere conversation with anyone he met. At times his humour displayed a man who enjoyed a good laugh and who lived life to the fullest.
“Enjoy life. All of it,” said Satran of how Bruce inspired him.
“Winston’s engaging personality was transferred to thousands of rodeo spectators,” he added.
As the arena manager at the Calgary Stampede, Bruce was well known for his Appaloosa horse with 18,000 fans being able to recognize the man from far away. Satran recalled the phrase, “Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls. Welcome to the greatest show in the west.”
Satran said Bruce’s personality blossomed during those times. He pointed out that Bruce once stated he didn’t know much about horses. For Satran, this seemed incredible considering the man’s ability as a rider and producer.
“How could he admit that he didn’t know much about horses? This was his way of telling me that he wanted to know more about horses, the creatures that he loved,” said Satran.
“It was amazing insight to me and speaks to his humbleness and his pursuit of knowledge and his curiousness about all life.”
Satran called him a master in the Calgary Stampede’s breeding horse program. “There’s so many stories I could tell,” added Satran.
“I will be forever thankful for my friendship with this real true cowboy, my friend, Winston Bruce.”
He posed a question for God, asking if there is a way to relive good memories that were had. While he didn’t know the answer he made a request to God.
“To ride these Canadian prairies once more, watching the horses manes flowing in the morning breeze and listening to thunder of their hooves on the prairie with my friend Winston,” he concluded.
A special silent auction was held to provide funds to the Winston Bruce Academy of Rodeo and the evening concluded with fireworks.
Watch the 2017 Canadian Football Hall of Fame Ceremony
Alberta Sports Hall of Fame Honoured Member Stan Schwartz was inducted into the Canadian Football Hall of Fame. Watch his speech here: https://www.cfl.ca/live/2017/09/13/canadian-football-hall-fame-induction-ceremony/
Hockey Alberta Announces Keynote Speaker
Article from Hockey Alberta: Catriona Le May Doan confirmed as keynote speaker at 2017 Hockey Conference
Two-time Olympic gold-medalist Catriona Le May Doan is set to kick off Hockey Alberta’s 2017 Hockey Conference and Annual General Meeting on Friday, September 29.
The keynote address by Le May Doan will kick off two days of sessions and discussions for members of the amateur hockey community in Alberta focused on the benefits of being a multi-sport athlete, and the role it plays in long-term player development.
In addition to being a busy hockey mom, Le May Doan currently works with Sport Calgary, helping to advance amateur sport in the City. The retired Olympian has also served as a board member with Winsport, as well as the Vancouver Organizing Committee for the 2010 Winter Olympics, and is still actively involved in many other charity organizations. As an athlete, she won back-to-back gold medals in the 500 metre speed skating event in 1998 and 2002. As a speed skater, Le May Doan broke 13 world records, and won the Lou Marsh Award as Canada’s Athlete of the Year in 2002, and won the Bobbie Rosenfeld Award as the Canadian Female Athlete of the Year three times.
Off the ice, Le May Doan has covered five Olympic Games, and co-hosted the primetime show Countdown to Beijing. She was given three honourary degrees, and was inducted in Canada’s Sports Hall of Fame and the Canadian Olympic Committee’s Sports Hall of Fame, and was appointed an Officer of the Order of Canada - one of Canada’s highest honours. She was one of four athletes to light the cauldron at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver.
As a busy sport parent and active coach, Le May Doan understands firsthand the challenges that Minor Hockey Associations face when it comes to competition within the sport and encouraging athletes to participate in other sports.
The 2017 Hockey Conference and AGM runs September 29-30 at the Sheraton Hotel in Red Deer. Registration for delegates is now open.
Hockey Alberta’s Hockey Conference provides the opportunity for member Minor Hockey Associations, Senior and Junior Club teams, Sport Schools, league administrators, and other hockey industry people, coaches, parents and officials to participate in interactive sessions targeted at some of the hottest topics in the game today.
A full schedule for the Hockey Conference and AGM will be available in the coming weeks.
History Spotlight: Helen Nicol
Article: FANTASTIC MRS. FOX
Blink and you’ll miss Ardley, Alberta. You would never guess this tiny Red Deer County community of just 16 (according to the last census) is home to one of Alberta’s greatest baseball exports. And she is no stranger to Hall of Fame status.
Born May 9, 1920, Helen Nicol (later Helen Fox) had one of the most storied careers in the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League. The accolades, though, expand beyond the baseball world. Before she fired pitches for the Kenosha Comets and Rockford Peaches, Nicol was known as a multisport athlete, adding hockey, speedskating, golf and softball to her baseball repertoire.
It was that athletic prowess that got her noticed, and paved the way for the right-hander to move from making just a few dollars a week for the Hudson’s Bay Company, to making $85/week playing baseball in the United States.
The AAGPBL Years
The legend of Helen Nicol began right away with the Kenosha Comets. At 23, she pitched her way to an unbelievable 31-8 record in 47 games in 1943, posting a blistering 1.81 ERA. Heading into her sophomore season, the Comets had high hopes for Nicol.
“The Calgary, Canada “chucker” as Miss Nicol was tabbed, rated as the professional league’s standout star at her position with a record of 31 victories and eight defeats in the regular season, plus a pair of setbacks in the title series which was annexed by the Racine Belles,” wrote Eddie McKenna in the Kenosha Evening News on May 5, 1944.
“Her victory string, an unmatched mark that is likely to stand for several seasons, was entered in the U.S. sports annals as one of the oustanding feats of 1943,” McKenna continued. “She was presented an exquisite trophy by the Kenosha Eagles’ club in recognition of her league achievements while the American Legion also staged a special night in her behalf at which she was given a fitted traveling bag of handsome quality and design of her own selection.”
Nicol’s win-loss record that season might have fallen to 17-11, but her ERA was cut in half, to an unheard of 0.93. According to the AAGPBL record book, she won the league pitching title both seasons. Nicol followed that up with a 24-19 record in 1945, posting a 1.34 ERA. She also married that year, taking the surname Fox.
“The brand of ball we played was pretty high class,” Fox told the East Valley Tribune in 2011, ahead of a reunion which she wasn’t able to attend. “A lot of fans came to our games. The women never played against the men – that was a no-no. We were built differently than the men, and that would not have been good.”
The 1947 season was a year of transition for pitchers in the league. Fox usually pitched underhand, but that year the league changed the rules so that pitchers had to toss sidearm. The bases and the mound were also pushed back. But she adjusted.
Fox also joined the Rockford Peaches that year, and while she wasn’t putting up the same kinds of numbers she did in her first three seasons, she would help the Peaches win the AAGPBL title in three-straight seasons (1948-1950). She was credited with four of the ten playoff wins in 1948, including two in the finals. In the 1950 finals, she would flourish again, getting credit for three of the team’s four victories, including a shutout in the seventh and deciding game.
In 1951, Fox continued to dominate, going 18-7 with a 2.57 ERA and 23 complete games, while she went 8-7 with a 2.80 ERA in her final season. In her career (1943-1952), she never had an ERA over 2.80. She eclipsed the 200 strikeout plateau twice (1943 and 1945) and posted more than 13 wins in all but two seasons (1947 and 1952).
A total of 64 Canadians donned the colours of All-American Girls Professional Baseball League teams, including several Albertans like Betty Dunn (Carveth), who was inducted into the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame in the summer 2017. Nicol was given that honour in 1996. The league was also inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown in 1988.
That induction created a new level of interest in the AAGPBL. In 1992, A League Of Their Own came out in movie theatres to rave reviews.
Nicol and the Canadian contingent gained induction into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Before that, Nicol was part of the Army and Navy Pats organization that was inducted into the Softball Alberta Hall of Fame in 1987.p
“I enjoyed playing very much, and I enjoyed meeting the people,” Fox said in the East Valley Tribune article. “A lot of people said, ‘I bet you had fun.’ We did, but it was a job. We took the game seriously.”
And while Helen Nicol (Fox) made her mark on the baseball world and put Ardley, Alberta on the map, the same couldn’t be said for the community. Despite having a grain elevator, bowling alley, hotel and more during its hey-day, Ardley is considered a ghost town now.
Ask A Curator Day
Breanna Suk, the Alberta Sports Hall of Fame and Museum's Collections and Exhibit Coordinator, is taking over the @ASHFM1 twitter account tomorrow for #Askacurator Day.
With over 5 years experience, she is excited to answer any of your questions regarding her role at the ASHFM or things you may want to know about the items in the collection.
What is Ask A Curator Day?
It's an opportunity to ask curators and collections management experts from around the world what it's like to do their job, what's in their collection and general things about the museum industry.
September 13, 2017 There are over 1500 museums taking part in this online Q&A!
Please remember to use the hashtag #AskACurator to be part of the action!
Honoured Member Jenn Heil joins ViaSport BC
Jennifer Heil, Olympic gold and silver medalist in Freestyle Mogul skiing joins viaSport as V.P. of Sport Development. As a life-long sport veteran, Heil understands first-hand how the importance of sport and physical activity reaches far beyond the playing field – that it is a building block for an individual’s overall well-being and success.
“I’m thrilled to join viaSport to help more British Columbians experience the health and social benefits that come from quality sporting and physical activity experiences,” says Heil. “I look forward to helping build a future where all British Columbians can access quality sport and physical activity, contributing to their individual success as well as the vibrancy of our communities.”
The combination of Heil’s experience as a high performance athlete, as well as her work in the private and not-for-profit sectors as part of the Deloitte Innovation consulting team and as co-founder of the not-for-profit B2ten, uniquely positions her to help lead positive changes to B.C.’s sport development and delivery system.
viaSport, a not-for-profit legacy organization of the 2010 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games, believes all British Columbians deserve equitable opportunities to develop and realize their potential through sport – as an athlete, coach, official, or volunteer. To increase sport participation opportunities, viaSport unites leaders across sectors to champion change and continuously enhance our world class sport system.
“We are very proud of the opportunities British Columbian’s have to participate in quality sport experiences, at all stages, ages and abilities. However, there is a tremendous desire across the sport and physical activity sectors to lead changes that result in a greater impact for more British Columbians. We are excited to leverage Jenn’s expertise and experience to help continue our work to strengthen B.C.’s sport system so that more people can thrive via sport and physical activity,” confirms Sheila Bouman, viaSport CEO.