The Nanton Ag Society will be hosting their first Canadian Professional Rodeo later this summer.

Their new pro rodeo is named the Clark Schlosser Memorial Rodeo after the long-time steer wrestler, Canadian Professional Rodeo Association judge, and Canadian Rodeo Hall of Famer Clark Schlosser.

Schlosser judged the Canadian Finals Rodeo and the Calgary Stampede and was a long-time member of the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association as both contestant and judge.

The Nanton Ag Society named their pro rodeo after him as a way to honour his memory.

"We have several people that started here that have won Canadian championships, as well as have gone to the Calgary Stampede and won championships there," explains the Clark Schlosser Memorial Rodeo Chairperson Shawna Bird. "So, we just wanted to showcase some of those professional athletes that are from Nanton, and we have several. So, we're going to host the Professional Rodeo."

This rodeo is sanctioned by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association (CPRA) and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA).

Being part of both the CPRA and the PRCA, the money earned at the Clark Schlosser Memorial Rodeo counts towards the athlete's progress towards qualifying for either the Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) or the National Finals Rodeo (NFR).

"They qualify through money earned to go to the Canadian Finals Rodeo, and so people will be competing from throughout Canada, as well as the USA. The fact that it's PCRA approved, we have a lot of contestants, hopefully, that'll come from the US as well, 'cause the money will count for their standings to go to the National Finals Rodeo, which is held every year in Las Vegas," Bird says.

This pro rodeo will have some big-name events, such as calf roping, team roping, steer wrestling, saddle bronc, bareback, bull riding, barrel racing, and break-away roping.

They even have veteran rodeo announcer Lec McIntyre calling the rodeo.

This isn't their first rodeo, though.

The Nanton Ag Society has hosted junior and high school rodeo events over the years, on top of their Nanton Nite Rodeos, which is seeing its 45th anniversary this year.

"So, the Nanton Nite Rodeo, I think, is the only rodeo, probably in North America, that has run that long as a local summer series. That's one thing that we've done that we're pretty proud of, and being that it is our 45th year, we've had a lot of young kids that have got their start in rodeo here in Nanton that have gone on to the professional ranks," says Bird. 

The Nanton Nite Rodeo is only open to locals and is a summer series with six rodeos where contestants earn points and win prizes and buckles.

While they are still in the early stages of planning the pro rodeo and don't have anything confirmed as of yet, they are hoping to have entertainment and other events at the rodeo.

The Ag Society also has sponsorship opportunities for anyone interested, and portions of that sponsorship money will go towards the prizes for the athletes.

Currently, the guaranteed prize amount is set at $2,000, but with sponsorships, that amount will go up.

Because the Nanton rodeo grounds has two arenas side-by-side, they will have both arenas in use at the same time during the rodeo.

"So, we'll have a lot of fast-paced action and I don't know anybody that runs two arenas at the same time. So, the viewing area, you'll be able to see both arenas, but that's one of the things that we're doing different in Nanton that's not done anywhere else," Bird says.

The Clark Schlosser Memorial Rodeo will take place on August 23 and 24, and tickets can be purchased on their website.