– DANNY FENTY
“It always helps if you have a good stock as that can make or break a run.”
Sweaty, dirty, muscle-wrenching work may not be a lifestyle for everyone, but being ranch raised, a Birtle Collegiate and 2009 Manitoba High School Rodeo Associat ion (MHSRA) graduate was destined to be a cowboy.
Following in the footsteps of his parents, Dean and Debbie, and older brothers, Doyle and Derek, the youngest of the Fenty bunch – Danny – holds his head up high when he states, “the cowboy lifestyle is my lifestyle.”
From a rodeo and ranching perspective, the lifestyle runs deep within the Miniota family, dating back to the days of the popular Little “M” Rodeo on the outskirts of their hometown.
“My parents were involved in the semi-professional event that was held from 1970 to 1993 both as committee members and as competitors,” said Danny. “My dad also served as president the last couple of years that the rodeo, which first started out as a Canadian Cowboys Association-sanctioned event prior to moving to the Manitoba Rodeo Cowboys Association (MRCA), was still active.”
True to the American West, for over 20 years his dad has checked many fence-lines on the back of a horse as a PFRA pasture rider, and the ranching perspective spills over into a family-owned equine ranch. The raising and marketing of registered quarter-horses falls under D5 Performance Horses signage approximately two kilometres east of the western Manitoba community.
Thanks to his parents, Danny has come to learn that fear is an emotion but try is an attitude that cowboys own in and out of the competitive arena. Following in the saddle stirrups of his brothers, he has been fully involved within the MHSRA since joining as a Grade 8 student in the fall of 2004. With the exception of rough stock, he has competed in all events offered to male competitors, with steer wrestling being highlighted as a favourite because it takes a lot of technique and true cowboy grit.
“Key ingredients for a successful steer-wrestling run or any timed event run are having a positive attitude, being focused and working as a team with your horse,” said the 18-year-old. “It always helps if you have a good stock as that can make or break a run.”
Being involved in the MHSRA, he has come to learn that you get what you put into it. He says, “thanks to high school rodeo, I have met a lot of people who have become good friends and have had a lot of good times as well as seeing true sportsmanship at every rodeo.”
Competing in a few other associations – Heartland, MRCA, Roughrider – along with the MHSRA, life on the open road is right up his alley. “The miles travelled may be aplenty and the money well spent, but there is nothing that I would rather be doing than highlighting the cowboy lifestyle, as I believe that being in the rodeo arena has been a great asset for surviving in the arena of life.”
And when one speaks of rodeo arenas, backed by loyal family support his adventures have been on Canadian and U. S. soil including attending the firstever National Wrangler Division rodeo at Gallup, New Mexico in July of 2005. He has also qualified for the Canadian High School Finals Rodeo (CHSFR) twice, competing one year in team roping with his brother Derek as his partner. This year he was among the 21 students that made up Team Manitoba at the CHSFR at Williams Lake, B. C.
“The MHSRA is a great association that involves approximately 100 boys and girls from Grades 6-12 from across Manitoba and even a few from Saskatchewan. I’ve grown as a competitor and as a student, thanks to the mentorship of my parents and brothers, however, there are many other people who play an important role to ensure that high school rodeo stays part of our heritage,” said Danny. “Each and every one involved – no matter the capacity – have indeed made a difference to me as a cowboy. I wouldn’t change it at all because it has made me who I am today, and for all the encouraging words and help along the way, it’s truly appreciated.”
– Darrell Nesbitt writes from Shoal Lake, Manitoba