“Bumps and Bruises Go with Fun and Fellowship,” Ensign, Oct. 1974, 92–93
TABER, Alberta, Canada—When the Taber Alberta Stake holds its Western Family Fun Day rodeo, spectators are few and far between because nearly everybody is in the arena competing.
Originally organized as a reactivation project, the rodeo offers fun for all members of the family, including calf riding for the boys, chicken races for the girls, husband-and-wife team events, nail pounding, and tug-of-war.
This unorthodox rodeo was founded six years ago by Stake President Burns Wood while he was bishop of the Taber Second Ward.
“Many of our inactive members are ranchers and farmers,” he explained. “We thought a rodeo would interest them and get them involved in a Church project.”
Enthusiastically received, the rodeo has now become the “greatest fellowshipping tool this stake ever had,” according to Merlin Litchfield, chief organizer of this year’s event. “It has opened doors to home teachers.”
The rodeo is also a prime opportunity to introduce nonmembers to the Church. Members of the stake mission presidency sat at the registration table and everyone involved in the rodeo had to “smile at and shake hands with the stake mission president,” said Brother Litchfield.
At least three nonmembers agreed to take the missionary discussions as a result of this year’s rodeo, he said.
Brother Litchfield, who follows the circuit yearly, said that the Taber event is becoming well-known on the Alberta rodeo circuit.
“Cowboys are always hollering at me, ‘Hey, Litchfield, when’s that Mormon rodeo? We want to have some fun!’ It’s sure changed the attitude of those cowboys about the Church.”
Fun is the main reward at the rodeo, where there is no admission fee for the spectators, no entry fee for the participants, and no prize money. Trophies and belt buckles are awarded to first prize winners, but no one goes away a loser.
When the rodeo came to a close, President Wood thanked all those who had contributed to its success, and then invited everyone to a dance to cap the day. “Bring the whole family,” he suggested. “Make it a family evening activity.” And a lot of nonmembers gladly accepted the invitation.