Strathcona’s at the Ralston Rodeo
By Cpl Andrew Elms
On the weekend of August 10, 2012, Lt Tim McHugh, MCpl Eric Estabrooks, and Cpl Andrew Elms brought a Leopard 2 A4M to CFB Suffield for the Ralston Rodeo. Clear skies remained over the rodeo grounds throughout the weekend ensuring a steady stream of aspiring tankers had the chance to experience the majesty of our new tank. Seeing our Leopard 2 dwarf the British Challenger 2 brought out big smiles and a sense of pride from the Strathconas posted to CFB Suffield. Even with the size difference both new tanks were a resounding hit for all in attendance. A few British tankers from our sister regiment, The Queens Royal Lancers, were able to get over their envy and come take a look, asking questions and swapping war stories.
Seeing old friends posted out to CFB Suffield, either dropping by to enjoy the event or working it, added to the day. When he was not busy running the rodeo, Capt Dave Williams would stop by to catch up with some fellow Strathconas until he was needed elsewhere. MCpl Chris Oliver took a look at his first Leopard 2 since passing them in KAF as he left Afghanistan. Capt Chris Whalley spent most of the day at the tank catching up on Regimental life and building up the courage to try his hand at calf wrestling for the first time. The Base Commander LCol Doug Claggett, RSM D.I. Reid, Mr. LaVar Payne MP, and Mr. Blake Pedersen MLA dropped by to talk to the troops and take a few pictures in the spirit of regional cooperation and support. Mr. Payne and Mr. Pedersen enjoyed their time on the tank, especially Mr. Payne, who reflected on his time on the Sherman.
In the end, the Ralston Rodeo was a positive experience for the soldiers from our Regiment and all in attendance. Nice weather, good people, and old friends, coupled with some bovine themed shenanigans made for a fun and successful weekend.