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'I love the sport': Steer wrestler Curtis Cassidy looks back at long career

For a sporting career that averages 10 years, Curtis Cassidy has been steer wrestling for 21

Curtis Cassidy wrestles with a steer during the opening night of the Canadian Finals Rodeo on Wednesday.

Kevin Tuong / For Metro

Curtis Cassidy wrestles with a steer during the opening night of the Canadian Finals Rodeo on Wednesday.

Curtis Cassidy is one of only a handful of people who has been a professional steer wrestler for more than two decades.

The 39-year-old has been steer wrestling for 10 years longer than the average career span of the sport at Canadian Finals Rodeo, currently running at the Northlands Coliseum until Sunday.

“I love the sport and obviously I’ve stayed fairly healthy so I haven’t had to quit,” he said. "It’s all I’ve ever wanted to do ever since I’ve been a kid.”

Currently ranking number one in the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association steer wrestling standing for the 2018 season, Cassidy said it hasn’t been easy. It takes devoting your life to rodeo to go on this long.  

“It’s a big commitment,” he said. “You can’t just do it part time, you've got to be devoted all the time to be competitive all the time. It is hard and you gotta make sacrifices in other parts of your life to do what you do.”

Although he has many steer wrestling championships under his belt, for him the highlight was competing alongside his father and brother.

“That was pretty special,” he said.

He said usually what ends a cowboy's career is injury but he keeps himself in shape and practises the sport enough to not let that be a factor.

“Basically how I stay in shape is I practise steer wrestling,” he said. “Because it keeps your muscles and everything in shape for the sport you’re doing.”

Cassidy said if he continues to stay in shape he plans on going for another five years.

Last CFR at Northlands

After 44 years, with this the last time CFR is being held at Northlands Coliseum, Cassidy expects a good rodeo.

“I think it’s going to be a great experience for everybody, the newcomers as well as the guys like myself who have been here forever,” he said.

Northlands Public Relations Specialist, Caiti Farquharson, said this last event is bittersweet for staff who have been working CFR for a long time.

“It's really special for them to see how many people appreciate the event, and all of the people who have been sharing the memory with us over the years,” she said.

“So we are celebrating those types of fans who have been here, with some of them even for 44 years, who keep coming back and sitting in the same spot and really appreciate the event and appreciate the rodeo.”

Farmfair International, which takes places alongside CFR also saw a 37 per cent increase in international buyers attending the event this year, according to a release sent out by Northlands.

It states that this increase in numbers is a reflection of the world-class programming at Farmfair as well as the strength of the agriculture industry in Alberta.

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