RED DEER - The past eight years have been a wild ride for Curtis Glencross.
Since creating the Glencross Invitational Charity Roughstock Event, he and his family have raised $1.6 million for the Ronald McDonald House Central Alberta, the Hockey Alberta Foundation's Every Kid Every Community Program, and the Hockey Alberta Glencross Legacy Fund.
Evolving from a smaller outdoor event in Innisfail, it has grown large enough to be housed in Westerner Park in Red Deer, and the past two years has seen capacity crowds attend.
"What we've done in eight years, it's pretty remarkable," the Flames alumnus told CalgaryFlames.com. "Coming our first year into it, we didn't know what to expect - let's try a roughstock rodeo and see how it goes. To raise $200,000 the first year, it was pretty impressive and made it a staple, we had to keep going forward from there and here we are, eight years later."
Video: Curtis Glencross' charity rodeo raises big money
"It's been an incredible event since Day 1," CPRA rodeo announcer Brett Gardiner added. "It started out in Innisfail on the ranch as just an idea and I think it superseded everyone's expectations - Curtis's included - with the amount of money that was raised from Year 1 and it's just continued to grow.
"When you look at the fundraising perspective, $1.6 million … we're going to be able to flirt with the $2 million mark in eight years? That's incredible and at the end of the day, that's the most important part."
This year, the event entered its first year being sanctioned by the Canadian Professional Rodeo Association - a move that has bolstered its standing within the rodeo community.
"Now that it's CPRA sanctioned, it's another level," Glencross noted. "All the money goes towards the Canadian standings so it will help these guys getting one step closer to the CFR (Canadian Finals Rodeo)."
The event features some of the top pro riders in bareback, saddle bronc and bullriding, including 2018 national bareback champion Cole Goodine, who expects more top athletes to participate in upcoming years.
"Now that it's an approved event, everyone is really excited," he explained, adding that the quality of stock also draws in more athletes every year. "You know you're not going to get on some bad (stock) - especially since it's getting to the end of the year and you don't want to get on to anything that might run us into a fence, hurt us, stuff like that."
"I love this event."