Taber family buys legendary Kesler rodeo stock keeping rodeo history in southern Alberta
TABER -- The legendary rodeo stock bloodlines built by the Kesler family will live on, under new ownership.
Rowland Farms of Taber, owned by Rowland "Roy" Brewin and his family, has purchased more than 325 bucking horses and around 75 rodeo bulls, and has relocated the animals to a natural stretch of land along the Oldman River in southern Alberta.
"To be able to keep such a strong piece of rodeo history in southern Alberta was really important to us," said Tami-Jo Brewin, Roy's daughter.
She has taken on the role of Ranch Manager for the new business venture, which will be called "Legend Rodeo Stock."
The reputation of the rodeo stock was built over nearly 80 years as the result of a careful breeding program that the Brewin family is committed to continuing and improving upon.
Following in his own father's footsteps, the late Greg Kesler had built on the family's rodeo stock of horses and bulls and made Kesler a household name for rodeo competitors and fans alike.
Kesler died in 2016, and after his wife Judy passed away in March of 2020, the Brewin's made a decision to buy the rodeo stock.
"Greg cared for his livestock like family. He would do anything for those horses and bulls," said Roy.
Tami-Jo added "when someone else's family has put in so many generations of hard work, it kind of hit us in the heart. So it was a pretty easy decision."
The Brewin family had already been deeply involved in the farming and ranching business. Rowland Farms is western Canada's largest organic producer, offering a diversified line of crops, and has nearly 100 employees. They also maintain a large cattle herd.
Roy's daughter, Tami-Jo Brewin, has taken on the role ranch manager for Legend Rodeo Stock in addition to maintaining part ownership of Rowland Farms, which she shares with her father and brother Dustin.
The first person they hired to help run Legend Rodeo Stock was Travis Jordan, who was a former pick-up man for the Kesler Rodeo Company.
"It's a turning of a page, and a new chapter beginning," said Jordan, who will ensure the continuity of the breeding program is continued.
"I think it was a relief to much of the rodeo community that this company and this herd of horses and this herd of bulls was going to remain in Canada and stay intact as a group," he added.
The stock competes in many of the top rodeos across North America, including the Calgary Stampede, Klondike Days, and National Finals Rodeos.
"These professional rodeos depend on the absolute best stock in the world," said Jordan.
"In order to showcase the rider's abilities you have to have these great horses and great bulls doing what they are so good at."
"To see the horses and bulls go in separate directions would have been heart breaking," said Tami-Jo.
Legend Rodeo Stock has also tapped respected horse breeder, Darcy Hollingsworth, to serve at the helm of the breeding program moving forward.
"We want to breed very smart horses, not wild horses like you may think," said Hollingsworth, who claims to have a passion for bucking horses.
She said it's important to supply rodeos with intelligent horses that are confident, but calm enough to allow the cowboys to get on them in the chutes.
"And when they open the gate the horses are prepared to do their job. That's the big trick."
Hollingsworth said she feels blessed to be able to develop and enhance a breeding program that already includes notable superstars of the rodeo circuit, such as "Copper Cat", "Artificial Colors", "Navajo Sun", "Sundance Kid", "Oakridge" and NFR Bull "Devils Tower."
Renowned bullfighter, Ty Prescott, will lend his experience to the DNA/breeding side of the bulls' program.
With rodeo among the sporting events that have been impacted by the pandemic, the takeover comes at a challenging time.
But Tami-Jo said it has also given her family the time to find the perfect team, build on the bloodlines, and improve wherever they can.
"The health and wellbeing of these horses and bulls means so much to us," added Jordan.
The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association continues to work with the Alberta Government and Health Authorities to develop a plan with respect to the 2021 rodeo season.
While it's too early to say what will happen in Canada this year, Jordan said he's "hopeful and very optimistic" something will happen.
In the meantime, there's still plenty of work to do with the bucking horses and bulls.
"Our team is absolutely dedicated to making sure they are in tip-top shape and ready to buck at a rodeo."
While the Kesler stock was always co-located in both Alberta and Montana, Legend Rodeo Stock has moved all of the stock to Alberta, though it will continue to be part of rodeos in both Canada and the United States.