Harry got involved in the sport of rodeo at an early age; he competed in the saddle bronc riding, steer decorating, wild horse racing, & wild cow milking events. He also competed at the Calgary Stampede.
In the early 30’s he along with his father and brothers, started subcontracting rodeos in Southern Alberta. During this time, they drove their stock 40 miles to the Fort Macleod Stampede; from there they transported them by CP Rail to other rodeos. In the early 1960’s Harry and his sons, Ervin and Barry, formed the Harry Shade & Sons Rodeo Company. They were the only Native Stock Contractors to supply all the stock including timed event and rough stock required to produce a rodeo.
In the 70’s & early 80’s they contracted most of the Chinook Rodeos in Southern Alberta, most of the IRCA rodeos in Alberta, & subcontracted pro rodeos for Harry Vold & Stan Weatherly. Their stock has performed at all the major rodeos in Canada including the Canadian Finals. The Harry Vold Rodeo Company also brought their horses to all the major rodeos in the USA and the NFR. In 1979, they were one of the main stock contractors at the Calgary Stampede where the Bareback Riding Championship was won on the famous Shade bucking horse, Snowball.
Harry Shade & Sons Rodeo Company brought bucking horses to the first thirteen INFR’s, from 1976 to 1988. During this time they captured 4 world bucking stock awards competing against NFR bucking horses. In 1983, the Shades were invited to take their rodeo stock to China to produce demonstration rodeos in Hong Kong. Although the offer was refused, this is testament to the fact that Harry’s name was recognized in rodeo worldwide.
Harry Shade’s rodeo stock contracting venture has now been in existence for over 80 years, longer than any rodeo stock contracting outfit in North America. Harry’s stock contracting era spanned from the days of driving stock to rodeos, to hauling via rail, to the modern day transportation of semis & stock trailers. The Shade & Sons Rodeo Company is still actively contracting rodeos & supplying stock to the INFR.
Harry retired from the Shade & Sons Rodeo Company in 1983. Harry’s legacy is still very evident in his children, grandchildren, & great grandchildren. Some are now participating in rodeos in Canada & the USA and have competed at the INFR since its inception.
- Levi Black Water Sr.
- Ed Holyan
- Julis Y Begay
- Traci Vaile
- Dee Keener
- Dave Best
- Sam Bird
- Kelvin Fox
- Carole Jackson-Holyan
- Jerry Small