Red Deer native Carter Sahli came by steer riding honestly. It runs in the family.
The only competitor from Red Deer in the upcoming Canadian Finals Rodeo (CFR) at the end of October is a 15-year-old steer rider.
Sahli grew up watching his father ride bulls. He said taking up the sport himself was only natural.
“As soon as we were old enough to get on steers that’s when we started doing it,” he said.
Although Sahli said he could have tried bronc riding, he said he never had any interest in getting on a horse.
Since starting out in the Central Alberta Amateur Rodeo Association in 2012, the junior rodeo star has collected a long list of accomplishments and titles.
In 2014, Sahli was the Foothill Cowboys Season leader in boys steer riding. He was the Calgary Stampede Novice Tour champion in 2017. He also raked in wins at several high school championships, among other competitions across Alberta.
The young steer rider will be competing in his third Canadian Finals Rodeo, taking place Oct. 30th to Nov. 4th at the Centrium.
A key to his success – besides practicing – is staying positive, he said.
“You’re going to go through lots of lows and with that is going to come some good things too.”
Competing successfully, he said, involves not thinking too much.
“You just clear your head and it’s just you and the animal,” he said. “As soon as you sit down on them and not think about anything and it’s just you two, whatever happens, happens.”
He added, “The more you think about it the more stuff that can go wrong.”
As it is his third time competing in the CFR, Sahli said he feels confident going into the competition.
This confidence comes from his recent win at the FCA Cowboy Classic Finals held at Westerner Park and the fact that he has been riding well over all.
He is heading to the Chinook Rodeo in Brooks, Alta. on Friday ahead of the CFR next week.
But he said the important thing is, “Just treating it like it’s just another rodeo and not let it go to your head.”
After the CFR, his next step is to begin bull riding in the winter.