Emily Peebles is competing at the Canadian Rodeo Finals in Edmonton this weekend.

Sparwood teen competing in national rodeo event

Sparwood local Emily Peebles is competing in the Canadian Rodeo Finals this weekend.

For Emily Peebles, competing in the Canadian Rodeo Finals is a dream come true, and it’s coming true this weekend.

Peebles, who grew up in Sparwood, will be competing in the Canadian Rodeo Finals, hosted in Edmonton, Alta., this weekend.

“I was working towards going to the Canadian Finals Rodeo, that was probably my biggest goal.  And then sure enough, I got called the other day, and they asked if I could come and ride and I said, ‘of course’,” said the 18-year-old in an interview with The Free Press.

Peebles competes in trick rodeo, performing stunts and tricks on her horse. She has been actively involved in this style since she was just 12 years old.

“I’d seen the lady that coaches me, Niki Slundra, at a rodeo when I was younger and we were kind of looking around and trying to find some place to learn it and at the time it was still kind of rare to find someone to teach you,” said Peebles. “We noticed that she was just in Pincher Creek and she was hosting a clinic. I went and took that clinic and then she decided to give me lessons for three years. So we were doing a lesson a week for three years straight. And now I work for her and she helps me out. She helped me get my first trick riding horse, she helped me become part of these associations.”

Peebles is currently a part of the Professional Cowboy Rodeo Association in the United States and the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association. The next step up from the Canadian Rodeo Finals would be to compete at the Wrangler International Finals, held in Las Vegas every December. While Peebles wasn’t invited to compete this year, it is still something that she hopes to achieve.

Currently, Peebles lives in Barrier B.C., obtaining an education in equine therapy, which will enable her to do chiropractic adjustments and massage therapy on horses. This is ideal for Peebles, as she wants to build her professional career around the equestrian world.

Peebles said that it was difficult at times to compete and be active in the industry from Sparwood.

“It was a little inconvenient just because the horse world isn’t all that big in Sparwood, but I’ve had horses all of my life and everything and my mom grew up around horses so when we found out about this, it took a lot of people and a lot of effort to get me to where I am,” she said. “We had to travel and work harder for it, but in the end it’s really rewarding because you worked so hard for it. Because it is a small town, it’s super rewarding because when you do something like this, everybody just seems to know and everybody is just so supportive.”

Peebles credited her parents with being unconditionally supportive of her ambitions in this niche athletic world.

“They honestly do everything in their power to make this all work for me. They also make me work for it too – they’ve been just the best parents ever for it.”

Peebles is set to compete this weekend. Check next week’s edition of The Free Press for an update.