July 14, 2024

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Cody Snyder salutes the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team

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When Cody Snyder started his career as a bull rider in the late-1970s, injuries that he or his fellow competitors sustained often went untreated.

Now, Snyder couldn’t imagine a rodeo world which didn’t include the services of the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team.

“When I started … they didn’t have sports medicine around,” said Snyder, who was the first Canadian to win the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association world championship for bull riding at the 1983 National Finals Rodeo in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. “It didn’t exist. I was there before it came and then I was riding after it came.

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“They’re a very essential part of the sport, not only keeping guys healthy, but assessing injuries and taping everything up the right way – they’re a really big part of it.”

Whether it’s at the Cody Snyder Bullbustin’ 2024 event at the Grey Eagle Resort and Casino, which runs nightly until Saturday, or at this year’s Calgary Stampede, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Sport Medicine Team will be on site to provide care.

“We’re in our 41st year of service, so our team started in 1983,” said Jocelyn Fredine, who does double duty working as a certified athletic therapist for Canadian Pro Rodeo Sports Medicine in addition to serving as the organization’s communications chair.

It was back in the early 1980s when bull rider Don Johansen told Dexter Nelson, who was then the head athletic therapist at the University of Calgary, about the Justin Healer program that was providing care to pro rodeo contestants in the United States.

“He thought, ‘Well why can’t we do that in Canada,’ so he got a hold of two athletic therapists that were here, Dexter Nelson and Dale Butterwick, and they’re the reason why I’m an athletic therapist,” Fredine said. “They’re my mentors. They covered four rodeos (in 1983-84) out of the trunk of one of their cars with some donated tape and it’s just ballooned from there.”

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Fredine worked the opening night of Cody Snyder Bullbustin’ along with fellow athletic therapist Tori Thome, chiropractor Dr. Brian Boisvert and registered massage therapist Kristina McKinstry.

“We show up two hours before and we treat anything that needs to be treated, so whether it’s a concussion baseline or following up on a hip problem from the last rodeo or just tune-ups that guys need,” said Fredine, who was on hand to apply an ice pack to Thursday night’s Bullbustin’ winner Jared Parsonage. “We come and we’ll treat them for the two hours before and then Tori and I, as the athletic therapists, will handle any emergencies that happen within the arena with the help of our paramedical staff. Then after the event’s done, we’ll do this again. We’ll keep treating until we’re usually the last ones here.”

Before Thursday’s go-round, competitor Wyatt Gleeson received a quick back massage from McKinstry before his matchup with Hanna Motors Sure Shot a bit later in the night.

“I had a bull kind of stick me with a horn a little bit in Ponoka on Saturday,” said Gleeson, who unfortunately got bucked off Sure Shot. “It just felt a little bit tight. I needed them to get in there, work out some muscles. Now, I feel loose and ready to go.”

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McKinstry said each competitor is different as to whether they prefer getting treatment before, during or after the event.

“A lot of times they’ll come after the event if they have an injury that we don’t want to loosen too much beforehand,” she said.

Also on Thursday, Cauy Schmidt opted to get an adjustment from Dr. Boisvert after aggravated a previous shoulder injury when he fell hard to the ground after being tossed off Sin Wagon.

“It’s amazing really,” said Schmidt of the service that the sports medicine team provides. “We wouldn’t be able to do it without them, for sure. They just put us back together when we fall apart.”

Parsonage on a roll

Fresh off winning the bull-riding competition on Canada Day at the Ponoka Stampede, Parsonage continued his hot streak by winning Night 1 of Bullbustin’ thanks to his 88-point ride on Ain’t About Fame.

“That bull’s been around for quite some time,” said Parsonage of his bovine athlete counterpart from Thompson Rodeo Livestock, who he’d never ridden before. “He’s been a good bull for two or three years here. I’ve seen him lots, so I knew it was a good chance to win and it worked out.”

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For his efforts Thursday night, Parsonage earned close to $6,500 to go with the near $12,000 he earned in Ponoka.

Over the five nights of the Bullbustin’ spectacle, a total of $100,000 will be doled out, while valuable points towards the Professional Bull Riders (PBR) Canada standings are also up for grabs.

“You can’t complain one bit,” said Parsonage, who will also compete in Pool B from Monday to Wednesday at the Calgary Stampede in an effort to defend his bull-riding title at the Greatest Outdoor Show On Earth. “You spend five days in one place like this and ride for this kind of money. That doesn’t exist very often.”

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