GLENS FALLS — It’s one bumpy ride, but Tyler Waltz has devoted himself to being better at it than anybody else who is bold enough to ride a bucking horse.
Waltz, the reigning International Professional Rodeo Association (IPRA) World bareback riding champion, will be one of 200 competitors taking part in the 29th annual Adirondack Stampede Charity Rodeo at the Cool Insuring Arena. The two-day event will take place Friday and Saturday, with the doors opening each night at 7:30 p.m.
The annual tradition is a PRCA (Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association) rodeo, featuring all the excitement of pro rodeo’s top national and regional competitors in the seven standard events including bareback riding, steer wrestling, team roping, tie-down roping, saddle bronc riding, barrel racing and bull riding.
The cutoff date for the 2019 season was Sept. 30, so this rodeo has added intrigue in that it is one of the first that count toward the 2020 standings in the Frontier Circuit, helping competitors get a jump in their positioning.
“This event really brings it into the winter season,” said event coordinator Shana Graham, who has overseen the event for four years. “It’s a huge community event. People come from all over the country. Team ropers come all the way from Florida. It’s a neat thing for our home town. It provides of a sense of Western heritage. I love seeing cowboys and cowgirls coming in with big smiles. I get choked up talking about it because they want to be a cowboy or cowgirl when they grow up.”
Waltz, the 29-year old from Jersey Shore, Pennsylvania began bareback riding when he was 15 and learned through his mentor and father Dave Waltz, who rode bareback horses, bulls and steer wrestled.
The bareback rider is judged on his spurring technique and his “exposure”, or willingness to lean far back and take whatever may come during the ride. The horse’s bucking action also contributes to half of the rider’s score.
“I just like that kind of challenge,” said Waltz, who received a scholarship for riding at the University of Tennessee at Martin. “I’m probably my hardest critic. If I don’t do my best, then I work out more. I do whatever it takes to be better.”
Waltz has done very well in Glens Falls, winning twice and placing in second last season. It’s also where he met his fiancé.
“I’ve always enjoyed the atmosphere at the rodeo,” Waltz said. “It’s where my finance, Bri, is from. All of her family will be there (watching this weekend). She also competes in breakaway roping. I spent a lot of time there during the summertime and I know a lot of people in that area. That rodeo has a special feeling to it and it only became even more special to me. It’s a good luck place for me.”
Proceeds benefit several children’s charities. Ticket prices range from $16-30 for adults and $8-30 for children ages 3-12. Tickets are available through the Cool Insuring Arena Box Office or on the web site: https://adirondackstampederodeo.com/rodeo-events/