A life competing in rodeo has led to a judging career that took Williams Lake’s Bernie Rivet to this year’s Calgary Stampede.
A bull rider by trade, injuries over the years formed a natural progression into rodeo judging for Rivet.
“My first year judging was 1988,” Rivet said. “I was out with a broken wrist and took a judging clinic in town hosted by Bruce and Tim Rolph and Joan Gentles.
“Then I rode again, then got hurt, then judged again, and it went on like that until I retired from bull riding in 2004.”
Rivet started steer riding when he was nine, then graduated to the B.C. High School Rodeo Association, the B.C. Rodeo Association and, eventually, the Canadian Pro Rodeo Association for a bull riding career that spanned roughly 25 years.
After judging in the BCRA for several years Roy Call from C+ Rodeos helped Rivet get his start with the CPRA in 2005.
He judged during last year’s Calgary Stampede and again this past July for the annual rodeo, which saw more than a million people pass through the gates at the “Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth.”
He’s also been a rodeo judge at the Williams Lake Stampede since 2006.
“Calgary’s like the NHL all-star game,” he said. “It’s pretty electric there and a pretty cool setting. You’re pretty dry mouthed when you first walk out in the arena — definitely a bucket list rodeo you set your goals on when you start and try to reach, and I guess I have.”
To become a rodeo judge interested individuals must take a judging clinic through the CPRA and the Professional Rodeo Cowboys Association (PRCA) in Las Vegas. A refresher course is offered every three years for judges.
A rodeo judge, who often isn’t noticed, must fully understand each and every event and be knowledgable about all bucking stock and be able to judge each and every ride separately.
Rivet also isn’t afraid to pass along his knowledge of judging as he’s hosted several refresher courses for the BCRA over the years.
Asked what he likes most about judging, Rivet said it keeps him involved in the sport he has a passion for.
“I’ve rodeoed since I was nine and when I first started I felt there was a need for judging and I just kept going,” he said.
“It definitely keeps you busy, that’s for sure.”