I suppose you could say my son Sam was the reason I grew so fond of Winston. He had a real soft spot for him when he was just a baby and that just grew over the years. As the years went by Winston would find an awesome horse and ask if Sam needed a good kid’s horse. One of our favorites ever kids horse was “Winston” yes we did name him that. He was a good 16 hands as was going to be retired as a Stampede horse. Winston wasn’t really supposed to sell him, so we had to just keep it kind of quiet.
He fit right in and was the best babysitter we ever had. Being in the outfitting business the kids came with us when we had a trip going into the Rockies. Our base camp was about a 4-hour ride from the trail head which can be a long haul for a 5-year-old. Winston had his own pace. Never one to fret if the rest of the herd got too far ahead of him, he would just keep walking. I really think if you pointed him in the right direction, he would have just gone to camp all by himself. Over the years he packed a lot of kids a lot of miles. He was a movie star, he was a parade horse, there really wasn’t anything you couldn’t do with him.
As time went on Winston was showing his age and Sam outgrew him. But like any great kids’ horse there was a list of people who really wanted him. Being very picky as to where his new home was to be Sam decided he needed to move to the Campbell’s. Ben was his best friend, and he had a lot of little brothers and one little sister. Winston would be the perfect horse for these kids to go check cows and help on the ranch. He lived to be a ripe old age, pushing 27.
The second time Winston came to the rescue of a broken hearted little boy was the day we had to sell Danny. Danny was Sam’s horse who moved into Winston’s role when he need a little more horsepower. But as kids to he grew up and out of Danny. Same scenario we had to find the perfect home for Danny. We did and Sam was OK with the plan. We were headed into the Calgary Stampede for the day and the new owners were going to pick Danny up at the rodeo grounds. When we arrived one of the boys took him from Sam and told not to worry, he would be fine. What he didn’t count on was the fact that Sam was going to make sure. As soon as he had the chance, he went to stock pens to find his horse. To his horror the fellow had put Danny in with a bunch of broncs, and they really didn’t like him much. After one kick and a bite Sam came running to find someone to help his old friend. As luck would have it he ran into Winston. He was crying and asked Winston if he could help. You must understand Winston had a rodeo performance to run was very busy. He didn’t hesitate, back to bronc pens they went. Winston saw to it that Danny was moved into the barn in his own stall and Sam was to OK it. It was a sad trip home, but Sam never forgot Winston’s kindness and I sure didn’t. That’s just the way he was and I am so glad I could call him friend.
“Quoted from Alberta Sports Hall Of Fame“
Rodeo Builder – Inducted 1998
“Winston Bruce was an outstanding rodeo athlete for 15 years. He was recognized by his peers as one of the finest bronc riders ever.
The son of a former stock contractor and saddle bronc rider, Winston Bruce grew up around cowboys, bucking horses, and rodeos. He started bronc riding at the age of 14 and by the time he turned 17, he had won his first of two Canadian Novice Saddle Bronc Championships. He then joined the professional ranks, where he won the World Rookie of the Year and twice won the Canadian Professional Saddle Bronc Championship. Winston Bruce became World Champion in 1961 and held World Top 10 rankings for nine consecutive years from 1959 to 1967. He retired from competition in 1969.
Along with his rodeo career, he also ran his own rodeo college and served on the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Board of Directors. In 1970, Winston Bruce became the Arena Director for the Calgary Stampede Association. Winston Bruce was inducted into the Pro Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1989 and into the Canadian Rodeo Hall of Fame in 1995.
Winston retired as the Calgary Stampede Manager of Rodeo in 2002. He had served as division manager for the rodeo from 1980 through 2002. His duties included supervising the production of the rodeo stock breeding program and the production of the Calgary Stampede. He joined the CPRA’s board of directors and also sat on the advisory committee. The Canadian Professional Rodeo Association named him the “2005 Cowboy of the Year”.
Winston passed away on July 10, 2017.”
Winston was a good friend and defiantly the most influential ambassador the Calgary Stampede Rodeo ever had.. I will always think of him as a world class bronc rider, and the man on the black and white appaloosa.