Dale “Stick” Butterwick of Big Valley, Alta. was given the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) Legendary Achievement Award at a banquet in Calgary in mid October.
Over the years, he kept in touch with the rodeo world whether it was competing, judging, volunteering or coaching.
The induction and banquet ceremony was held in Calgary on Fri. Oct. 18.
The inductees were introduced including Bob Fipps, Dr. Gary Harbin, Jim Lawrence, Butterwick, Rod Hay, Leon Laye of Provost, Darrell Paulovich and the horse 527 Blue Ridge followed by speeches and a live/silent auction.
Each had a speech on their contributions to the Canadian rodeo life throughout the years.
Displays of each inductee were set up for the over 400 people that attended.
After the formal part of the evening had finished, everyone was able to mingle and reconnect.
“There were some people I hadn’t seen for quite a few years so it’s amazing how much everyone got to look so old,” jokingly said Butterwick.
For Butterwick, the distinction never crossed his mind but he was grateful for it nonetheless.
“I was surprised when I was first notified and honoured, humbled,” he said.
“It’s neat to be appreciated. I never ever once thought of it if it would happen. [I’m] Very happy that it did. The family was able to come for it and lots of friends and other relatives so it was a pretty good function and get-together.”
To reach this distinction, the person’s name must have grown to become synonymous with the sport of rodeo and records or achievements performed in the rodeo arena have reached legendary status over time.
The Canadian Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame and Ranchmans of Calgary recognized the fact that there are powerful individuals in the rodeo arena that would not be remembered over time as they never achieved the ultimate prize of a Canadian or World Championship in their rodeo career.
So in 2004 the first Legends were brought into the Hall of Fame to make sure that the future generations of rodeo contestants and fans will never forget the people that have helped shape this great sport in and out of the arena.
“The best part of that was being there and seeing lots of old faces and being congratulated by your friends and competitors. It was all good,” he added.
Grew up in rodeo
Butterwick had grown up with rodeo, beginning his career at age 15 in the bareback riding event.
He had entered all five events at rodeos for years but found steer wrestling to be his best skill.
In 1969, Butterwick was the High Point Champion, and he took out his pro card, competing in both calf roping and steer wrestling.
He competed in the timed events for some 21 years, with some time out in that span to heal from injuries. Rodeo has become a precious part of Butterwick’s life, finding it powerful and different compared to other sports.
“I pretty much love it all,” Butterwick began. “I’ve always been a competitor at heart so I like the competition but I also like the comradery.
“It’s a unique sport in that the people you are trying to beat are also helping you. You don’t run into that in any other situation in sports so you know you’re travelling with your competitors, the guys you’re trying to beat but they are all there for each other as well.”
One of his favourite moments was winning the steer wrestling event in his hometown rodeo (Coronation) in 1988 as one of his last rodeos.
After finishing his time as a competitor, Butterwick became a pro rodeo judge, overseeing many rodeos like the Canadian Finals, Ponoka Stampede and Calgary Stampede.
By 1998, Butterwick joined Olds College as a rodeo coach.
Never staying on the sidelines, Butterwick volunteered much of his time with local rodeos such as Big Valley and Stettler as well as school rodeos and 4-H.
Outside of the arena, the Big Valley cowboy can be seen training horses for both ranching and timed event purposes.
Butterwick resided in the Brownfield area just north of Coronation for over 40 years before moving to Big Valley to advance his horse training as it was more central.
He has supplied some great tie down horses, two of which won nine Canadian Tie Down Horse of the Year awards.
Come next spring, all the inductees will have their displays unveiled in the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame at the Calnash Centre in Ponoka.